Cilantro Pesto Pasta


The inspiration for this recipe came from a recipe from Cooking Light, but we’ve adapted the original recipe to create our own family favorite. If you’re vegetarian or don’t have any chicken on hand, omit the chicken, and it’s still delicious. Definitely a crowd pleaser, and if you omit the serrano, it’s very kid friendly. Everyone we’ve ever served this to has LOVED it, so enjoy!

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro
  • 1 package fresh mint, leaves removed from stem
  • 6 oz cotija cheese
  • 3 TBSP pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, or almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 serrano chile (optional)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. pasta
  • 2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Grilled chicken

Important notes — add pasta water to thin if necessary, don’t add salt until after cheese is incorporated because cheese can be very salty


  1. Cook pasta according to directions
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken and grill, then cut into bite-sized pieces
  3. Place cilantro, mint, cheese, nuts, garlic, and serrano in a food processor; process until well blended. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute, process until well blended. Add pasta water, if desired to thin pesto.
  4. Combine pasta, tomatoes, chicken, and pesto; toss to combine.

Cilantro Pesto:


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