Now that I’ve discovered vegan parmesan cheese, I’m eager to expand my horizons and include it in pesto. But I’m taking this one outside the box with cilantro, lime, and jalapeno. What can I use it on? Well, just about anything: pasta, seasoning soups, spreading on bread, crackers, and sandwiches. The word pesto in Italian is pestare, which is to pound or crush. So whether you’re making Indonesian and Indian sambals or South American chimichurris, the technique stays the same. It’s the variation of ingredients that’s limitless.
1-large bunch cilantro or 2-small bunches washed, stems removed
6-sm garlic cloves or 4-large cloves
1-jalapeno with seeds, sliced*
1/2 cup pine nuts
1-cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese
1/2-tsp Himalayan or sea salt
1-tsp ground cumin
1/2-tsp onion powder
*Heat levels vary from chili to chili. Sometimes I use a whole jalapeno, and it’s just right. Other times, my mouth is on fire, so I’ve learned to taste test when adding to recipes. I highly recommend starting with a couple of slices and adding according to individual heat tolerance.
In the Cuisinart food processor, add the first six ingredients and pulse on and off to chunky consistency. Add remaining spices and vegan parmesan, pulse on and off, then taste and adjust with additional sliced jalapeno, cheese, and oil. Continue pulsing till desired consistency.
Since cilantro’s a delicate leafy herb, it tends to brown quickly when oxidized. If not using right away, freeze in ice-cube trays to retain vibrant green color and freshness.