This dish is perfect for spring! I love this pesto and it works for all sorts of applications. Bright, healthy and vibrant it will change the way you think of pesto!


Grilled Asparagus with Spicy Cilantro Pepita Pesto

1 bunch asparagus (medium thick stalks)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper
A good squeeze of lemon for serving


2 packed cups cilantro leaves & stem
2-3 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted pepitas*
3 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons filtered water
A few slices jalapeño (depending on desired spice)
2 teaspoons honey
Salt to taste

Makes 4 servings


Preheat broiler or grill on high. If using the broiler, adjust oven rack closest to the broiler.

Cut off about 2-3 inches from the bottom ends of the asparagus and discard. Lay asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss well.

If you are using the broiler; place the asparagus in the oven on the top rack and broil for 6-8 minutes or until tender but firm in the middle. If you are grilling; place the asparagus on a hot grill, for about 4-6 minutes. Time will vary based on thickness of the stalks. I like mine on the snappy side.

Meanwhile, place all ingredients for the pesto in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Mixture should be smooth but not entirely pureed. Taste and adjust as you wish. Add more jalapeño for heat, citrus juice and/or salt to brighten it up.

To serve~ Place the asparagus on a large plate and top with the pesto. Garnish with the toasted pepitas and a squeeze of lemon. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Tips & Notes~

This recipe works with many different herbs such as parsley, basil, dill, mint or a mixture of them.

Change out the pepitas for sunflower seeds or any other toasted nut you like.

*To toast the pepitas~ spread out on a baking sheet and toast at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. I like to use my toaster oven. You can also do this in a saute pan on the stove.