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Flash in the Pan/Gastronomic Gift: Brazil-Nut Cilantro Pesto

[Sometimes, you just want to eat something now.  I’ve decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so easy to make that no recipe is required. Here’s today’s “Flash in the Pan.” (For other FitP recipes, see “Categories” at right).]


For some reason, I seem to be a little lethargic this year when it comes to dispensing the holiday cheer.  It’s not that I’m begrudge anyone else their cookie exchanges, or tree-ornament earrings, or constant Muzak carols, or Santa Claus shower curtains.*  It’s just that I haven’t been able to muster the spirit of the season to partake in those things myself. Sniff!

True, the HH is one of those people who’d rather not make a fuss over the holidays (or, hmm, anything, come to think of it).  So I am usually the instigator when it comes to setting up our little tree, decorating the house, wrapping and putting out presents, or planning a festive feast. This year, though, I’ve been dragging my feet. 

Could it be that my loathing of  winter has finally superceded my adoration of the holidays? Could it be that the HH and his laissez-faire attitude have finally exerted their influence on me?  Could it be that the infernal interloper, the ACD–who showed up unexpectedly last winter and now refuses to leave until all my candida symptoms are eradicated–has put a damper on the season?  (Well, even I have to admit that it’s a tad more difficult to cook up a traditional feast–complete with holiday sweet treats–on this diet.  Which is why I’ve been working really hard on a slew of holiday and festive recipes–including ACD-friendly desserts–that I’ll be offering in an ebook in just a couple of days!). 

Unlike last year, when I went a wee bit overboard creating all manner of gastronomic gifts, I just haven’t immersed myself in the spirit as of yet (I suppose being unable to imbibe any type of spirit this season may have something to do with it as well). It’s amazing how many homemade gifts are meant to be sweet, or baked, or desserts, isn’t it?

But then it occurred to me–what about all the other delicious foods: condiments, seasonings, dips, spreads, dry soup mixes–that could constitute gifts?  And suddenly, the spirit of Christmas Present touched me once again. Whoo-hoo!  Time to get to the kitchen!

I’ve decided to give a few homemade, foodie gifts this year, even if I can’t eat them all.  Into the mix will go ACD-friendly recipes as well, but only if anyone could appreciate them.  This pesto falls into the latter category.

A milder take on conventional (basil-and-pine-nut) pesto, this cilantro based version is extremely versatile and very tasty.  I originally created the recipe because I wasn’t allowed many alternatives on the ACD and wanted to use Brazil nuts–one of the only nuts I could eat–in a novel manner.  Now, I must admit, I like it at least as much as “regular” pesto, if not more. And the beauty of this recipe is that it’s incredibly quick and easy; just blend, scoop into a clean jar, label and wrap for a perfect hostess gift, treat for a co-worker, or stocking stuffer.

Slather the pesto on crackers for a quick snack, or toss with your favorite grain for an instant pilaf.  As in the photo, below, you can also toss with still-warm potatoes, grape tomatoes and sliced green onions for a delicious winter potato salad. I also like this tossed with freshly steamed kale.

Don’t you feel like hopping right up and starting to make some foodie gifts right now?  I’ll race you to the kitchen. 

Now, that’s the spirit!

Mum, it’s not true that Dad never makes a fuss over anything–he fusses over us all the time.  Just try wagging your tail and kissing his hand when he comes home from work, and he’ll make a fuss over you, too.”

* Honestly, I wouldn’t have even known such things existed, except The Nurse actually owns one of these!

Brazil-Nut Cilantro Pesto


Use as you would any pesto, in pasta, soups, or as an appetizer on crackers.

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup (120 ml) halved Brazil Nuts

1 cup (240 ml) very loosely packed cilantro leaves, or use a combination of cilantro and parsley

2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) extra virgin olive oil, as you like

1 Tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

pinch fine sea salt

In a small food processor, blend together the garlic and nuts until crumbly.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth but still grainy.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 10 days.  Makes about 1 cup (240 ml).

Last Year at this TimeGastronomic Gifts III: Marzipan-Topped Shortbread Cookies

Two Years Ago: Pumpkinseed Shortbread Buttons (gluten-free)

© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


23 comments to Flash in the Pan/Gastronomic Gift: Brazil-Nut Cilantro Pesto

  • This fresh take on “regular” pesto sounds scrumptious! I’m looking forward to giving it a try.


  • Oh my, what a pesto! Sounds so enticing.


  • Jes

    Beautiful pesto–and what a great gift idea. I’m definitely into the jarred gift ideas this year! Although I’ll admit, I’d sub back the basil or parsley given that cilantro and I sort of hate each other.


  • i must admit that i too been kinda dragging my feet on the holiday goodies & things this year, but i have a feeling i’ll get in the spirit soon! i love your idea to make condiments, sauces, and other goodies to share this holiday season, Ricki – i might have to follow your lead. brazil nuts are my absolute favorite. i love them so much that i don’t keep ’em around too much because i’ll catch myself eating them by the handful and going back for seconds and thirds. mmmmmmmm! but i’m gonna have to grab a few & give your brazil nut cilantro pesto a go. cilatro and i are becoming fast friends and your recipe sounds awesome!


  • wow o wow o wow. few things get a “YUM!” like brazil nuts. thanks for sharing! But I know I’ll eat it all.


  • What a great idea! Although I don’t think I could ever give anyone pesto as a gift….I would eat it all myself before it even had a chance to get out of the house. Thank you for another brilliant recipe!


  • I love the idea of baking gifts but I also know that lots of my family and friends don’t want rich calorific baking any more than I do (maybe ‘need’ is the word I was searching for here) – so I love the idea of more savoury gifts that people can use without too much guilt


  • An e-book with ACD desserts–OMG!! Can’t wait! It is so hard to figure out what to take to gatherings these days that everyone will like, but that I can eat too.

    Brazil nut pesto sounds interesting. I haven’t really ever eaten brazil nuts–may need to change that ;)What a neat gift idea!


  • Oooh! Very excited about this. I’m a big fan of Brazil nuts, and can’t wait to try it.


  • Mom

    OH YUM! I recently re-discovered Brazil nuts and this is genius! I have little jars quivering in the pantry in anticipation!

    And I have a question on the Blueberry Lemon Muffins. Did you choose liquid stevia for a specific reason or is that just what you had on hand?

    our Christmas spirit is alive and well if all of the gifts you send out in Diet, Dessert, and Dogs is any indication 😉


  • That sounds like a great homemade Christmas gift! I know what you mean about not getting into the holiday spirit this year. I haven’t been in holiday-mode either.


  • Jes,
    I’m sure basil or parsley would also work really well here!

    Glad you’re liking the cilantro now! 🙂

    Glad you like the idea! I chose liquid stevia because I’ve found it has less of an aftertaste than the powder–but I’m sure you could use either in this recipe.

    Sorry you haven’t caught the spirit yet, either–hopefully pesto will help. 😉


  • Ricki,

    YOUR HH sounds like MY HH! I am definitely the psycho elf, er, I mean the festive spirit, in our house…

    I love the idea of homemade gifts. I am trying to do it as much as possible this year. I am doing a seasoned nuts thing for my dad, and some homemade deoderant for my mum (better not get those labels confused!).

    Your pesto would be perfect to take as a hosting gift to some of the parties I’m invited to. Love it!


  • I adore Brazil nuts. My favorite way to eat them is to eat them raw with raisins. But this sounds delicious!


  • Homemade gifts are the best! I am making some little catnip toys for the shelter kitties but I am such a slowpoke. Hopefully they will be finished by Christmas!


  • Oh my gosh. It just looks so delicious!


  • Hmmm. I wonder if I could make this with hazelnuts. I just happen to have a bag that my husband bought because he wanted to make something … but, well, you know how it goes …


  • Beautiful, novel take on pesto.

    Wishing you all a wonderful holiday. BIG Christmas kisses for The Girls. : D


  • I always forget about all the non sweet homemade food gifts there are too! I love trying out different types of pesto and this one sounds yummy. My mom has a whole bathroom set for winter with towels, shower curtain, and soap dispenser. It’s not a santa set but I think it has a snowman on it.


  • I think you just saved me on this one! What a great spin on pesto, and brazil nuts are so good for you! Look forward to trying this one out!


    Ricki Reply:

    So happy to hear that, Meagan! I loved this pesto. . . great for snacking, too. 🙂


  • I made some modification to your recipe: added some basil with the coriander, as well as some parmesan cheese. It was delicious and a great way to use Brazil nuts (which I always have some lying around at home)!


    Ricki Reply:

    Glad it worked out for you! I’ve used basil in the past with this recipe as well, and really enjoyed it that way. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!


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