Pesto is like the Italian version of Mexican pico di gallo in my mind. Just like with pico, you can change up the flavor of pesto with just a few ingredient modifications. The flavor combinations can be pretty much limitless so there’s probably a flavor that you’ll like. If you haven’t found one yet, maybe you just need to keep trying.
In most restaurants, you’ll see pesto used by tossing it with pasta as a sauce. The standard version has pine nuts, basil, parmesan and olive oil. That’s one way to make and use it, but you can also use it as a salad dressing, veggie dip, spread over meats and fish, or even in sandwiches as a more flavorful version of mayo. Change up the herbs. Use a different oil. If you use cheese, try different kinds.
The other night I was looking for a way to use my bag of frozen edamame leftover from edamame hummus. There was only a little bit left so I knew I couldn’t do much, but combine it with cilantro and a few other things and suddenly I had pesto. I
piled drizzled it over top of grilled ahi tuna steaks for a nice punch of flavor. It was really good with the curry paste thrown in. Next time I might add a splash of lime juice too.
Edamame Cilantro Pesto
1 cup fresh cilantro
2/3 cup frozen shelled edamame
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp green curry paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Mix all ingredients in a blender, food processor or Magic Bullet and blend until smooth. You may need to add a little more water to get the consistency you like.
Recipe is approximately 209 calories for the entire batch – 13g protein, 17g carbs, and 10g fat.
I loved using the edamame with cilantro. It was an unexpected yet surprisingly good combination. If you’re looking for other versions of pesto, try: