roasted squash with cilantro pesto

squash with arugula pesto

Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts and garlic, coarse salt, basil leaves and Parmesan cheese all blended together with olive oil. The flavor is delicious yet can overwhelm a dish if you are not careful. I’m experimenting with combinations of walnuts, cashews, almonds, or pumpkin seeds along with arugula, cilantro, or other interesting herbs to make a cold sauce that will enhance a pasta dish or add a little zing to a veggie side dish. This cilantro version balances out the sweet flavor of the roasted squash.

roasted squash with cilantro pesto

Serves: 6


  • 1 medium sized butternut or delicata squash, sliced into ¼” rings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • cilantro pesto:
  • 2 cups cilantro, packed
  • ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ teaspoon chopped and seeded Serrano chili
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • garnish:
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 lime, sliced



Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment.


Spread squash evenly over baking sheet, drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt.


Bake for 30 minutes until edges of the squash are beginning to caramelize.


Meanwhile, prepare the cilantro pesto.


In a food processor, pulse the cilantro, pumpkin seeds, onion, chili, lime juice and salt until well blended.


With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. You should have about 1 cup of prepared pesto.


Spoon the pesto onto a large serving platter and layer the roasted squash over the pesto. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and almonds. Lay limes randomly over the top.

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