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cilantro hemp pesto recipehigh in protein and key minerals, including potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.

When blended, the hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts) become so nice and creamy that this sauce tastes complete without cheese. This nut-free and dairy-free pesto would be great with basil as well.

This recipe is inspired by a cilantro-hemp sauce that I enjoyed at True Foods Kitchen in Kansas City. They serve it on their “Ancient Grains Bowl,” which is topped with sweet potatoes, onions, portobello mushrooms and avocado. Naturally, this sauce goes well with all of the above, as well as almost any meal with Mexican-inspired flavors. You’ll find more ideas below!

cilantro hemp pesto in food processorPrint

Cilantro Hemp Pesto

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: ⅔ cup 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Food processor
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan

This cilantro pesto recipe is made with hemp seeds! It’s a fresh and healthy sauce that livens up a variety of dishes. It’s really great with Mexican flavors. Recipe yields ⅔ cup—it’s so good that you might as well double it.



  • 2 cups packed cilantro leaves with tender stems (from 2 small bunches)
  • ½ cup shelled hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
  • Optional, for heat: 1 medium jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more if desired


  1. In a food processor, combine everything but the olive oil (the cilantro, hemp seeds, optional jalapeño, garlic and salt). Process until the ingredients are very finely chopped, pausing to scrape down the bowl if necessary.
  2. While running the machine, drizzle in the olive oil. Continue processing until the mixture is well combined and almost creamy in texture. I designed this sauce to be quite thick; if you’d prefer a thinner sauce, drizzle in a bit more olive oil while running the machine.
  3. Use immediately or store in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (I believe it would freeze well for up to 3 months, but I haven’t tried). This sauce will turn a bit darker on top during storage, but it’s perfectly edible.


Recipe inspired by the cilantro pesto at True Food Kitchen. 

▸ Nutrition Information

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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