Cilantro and Sunflower Seed Pesto

Inspiration: 1) We ended up with a big bag of cilantro in the crisper with no use for it. 2) We’ve been sitting on some random sunflower seeds in the pantry. 3) I’ve been obsessed with smoked paprika lately, so I’ve been throwing it into everything. 4) It was taco night, but we didn’t have any salsa.

What we Loved: I was a little skeptical of this pesto as I was making it, but boy was it good! The predominant flavors were the nutty, buttery flavors from the sunflower seeds, almost making this like a nut butter/pesto combo. Really great and unexpected! There were also some rich, smoky undertones from the smoked paprika that we really loved. I served this with some standard beef tacos, and it was a surprisingly great topping that complemented the taco flavors of beef, cheddar, and vegetables so well. I may have to whip this up every taco night!

Helpful Hints: I didn’t measure as I was making this, so the ingredients below are an estimate. It’s probably best to taste as you go, adding more sunflower seeds and smoked paprika if necessary.

Cilantro and Sunflower Seed Pesto
Source: Adapted from Just Making Noise

1 large bunch cilantro leaves (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Pinch Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Place the cilantro, sunflower seeds, garlic, paprika, and pinch of salt in a food processor. Process until everything is finely chopped, and then stop to scrape down the sides.  Continue processing, adding olive oil as necessary until the mixture forms a smooth paste.

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