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Cilantro Lime pesto in a food processor.
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Cilantro Lime Pesto with Pumpkin Seeds & Spinach

Adapted from The Food Processor Family Cookbook (Sonoma Press, 2016), by Nicki Sizemore
This nutritious (vegan!) pesto is packed with cilantro, spinach and pumpkin seeds. It has a deliciously nutty flavor, with a zip of fresh lime juice and a hint of spice from jalapeño. It’s also awesome on grilled fish, chicken, sandwiches, pork or turkey burgers, pasta and grain bowls. Start the pesto in the morning, as the pumpkin seeds need to soak for 6-10 hours (or overnight). Soaking the seeds softens them, allowing them to incorporate better into the pesto, but you can skip this step by using a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix. If using a blender, add a splash of water to help the pesto circulate around the blade.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cilantro lime pesto, cilantro pesto recipe, pumpkin seed pesto


  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • ½ jalapeño, seeded
  • ½ cup packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves
  • Juice of ½ lime, plus more to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Cover the pumpkin seeds with warm water and soak at room temperature for 6-10 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse.
  • In a food processor with the blade running, add the garlic and jalapeño, and finely chop. Add the drained pumpkin seeds, cilantro, spinach and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Process until finely chopped, scraping down the sides as needed. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or lime juice if desired (I often add another spritz of lime juice, depending on the juiciness of my lime).


Do Ahead: The pesto can be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 5 days.