Did you ever hesitate to buy a bunch of fresh cilantro for a recipe, when you only needed a few sprigs for garnishing? I did. Many times I had to throw out the remaining bunch because I couldn’t use it up in time before it went bad. However, I’m happy to say that I found a fabulous solution: making a long fridge life, spicy dill-cilantro pesto.
Recently, I made a dish called roasted tofu mushroom and rice vermicelli salad that has cilantro as one of the ingredients. I ended up with quite a bit of cilantro left over. With all of the thriving dill in our garden, I thought it would be a good idea to combine this strong, tangy, appetizing herb with cilantro to make an All-Purpose pesto.
Let me explain why this is a great way to save your left over fresh herbs and convert them into a robust flavored pesto, and in this case, cilantro and dill.
All-purpose Pesto: This spicy dill-cilantro pesto can be used in many ways!
You will find this cilantro pesto to be very useful in many savory dishes, such as soups, stir-fries, fish or meat marinade, salad dressing, or even vegetable dip, thus the designation “all-purpose”. I added some roasted hot cherry peppers and garlics to compliment the pungent, herbaceous flavor from the fresh herbs.
A Long Fridge Life Pesto: This cilantro pesto can last up to 2 months in the fridge.
After I ground up the dill, cilantro, roasted cherry peppers, and garlic in a food processor, I added some olive oil and pressed the food processor pulse switch a few more times. I then transferred the pesto into a jar and added a little extra olive oil on top. The oil prevents the fresh herbs from being exposed to air and moisture, so it eliminates the oxidation. The less the oxidation, the better the flavor is preserved, and the longer the shelf-life.
With a very small amount of effort, you will get a jar full of flavorful homemade healthy pesto. It requires only 10 minutes or less of your time to make. No more of that reluctance to buy a bunch of cilantro and/or dill. There is also no excuse for letting those herbs go bad in your fridge since you are now an expert at making the best tasting, longest lasting, and versatile pesto ever.
- ½ teaspoon canola oil
- 3 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 3 hot cherry peppers
- 2 packed cups cilantro sprigs
- 2 packed cups dill sprigs
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons or more for covering on top
- 1 pinch of salt
- Heat a cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add canola oil, garlic, and cherry peppers. Sauté over medium heat and stir to cook until the garlics and peppers are charred slightly. Approximately 7 minutes. Transfer the garlics and peppers onto a cutting board and let them cool. Peel the garlic and remove the stem and seeds from the peppers.
- In a food processor, add garlic cloves, peppers, cilantro, and dill and give it a brief grind. Add ½ cup of olive oil and a pinch of salt and then puree.
- Transfer the pesto to a clean jar. Add 2 tablespoons or more olive oil on top to cover the pesto by ½ inch. Cover with lid and refrigerate for up to 2 months.