Jalapeño Cilantro Pesto Pasta

I have one word for little piece of pasta heaven. Mutha F’ing Bingo. OK so, that’s 3 words, but let’s get real, who’s counting when you have a comforting bowl of pesto pasta staring you in the face? Bygone is the era when pesto can only be made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil. Our food palates have expanded over the decades so we can enjoy cilantro based pesto’s too!

Now, I understand some of you are going to gag because you despise cilantro. I find it fascinating there is a scientific reason why certain folks love cilantro and others think cilantro tastes like soap. Have no fear cilantro haters, simply swap out basil for the cilantro, and you still will have a tasty meal!

I love cilantro and eat it on meals multiple times a week. As I was grocery shopping this past weekend, I thought for SURE we were out of cilantro, so I bought more, only to come home to find out we had a fresh bunch of cilantro chilling in the fridge. I thought, “Well shit, I can’t let all this cilantro go to waste!” So I whipped up some cilantro pesto!

cilantro pesto

This recipe is super adaptable, I literally used whatever I could find in the house. This magical cilantro pesto is cool like that. People generally use olive oil in pesto but my olive oil is cheap and has a weird aftertaste, so I used grapeseed oil instead. Grapeseed oil has fewer calories than olive oil and it’s almost tasteless, so it’s blended in perfectly. I despise the taste of pine nuts (depending on the brand) so I used up the rest of my pecans. I had leftover baby spinach so I said, “Fuck it” and tossed it in the recipe too. Most cilantro pesto’s don’t call for basil, but since I had some lingering around the house, I added basil too. You can swap out lemon juice for lime juice, add jalapeno, leave jalapeno out, ect.

jalapeno recipe pasta

Note, you might not need the entire batch of pesto this recipe yields, but if you have extra, simply freeze it! Pesto freezes extremely well and can be utilized in countless recipes at a later time. Double note, I don’t recommend adding the parmesan cheese to the pesto before freezing. Wait until you’re ready to use the pesto in another recipe. After the pesto is thawed, and mixed in with your recipe, add the parmesan at the end of the cooking process. Triple note, if you can, make the pesto a few days ahead of time. The longer the pesto chills in the fridge, the more the flavor marries and comes together. I made my batch 4 days ahead of time and it was amazing.

My husband and I really enjoyed this dinner and we hope you do too! Calorie breakdown listed below.

Enjoy 😀

Jalapeno Cilantro Pesto Undon Noodles

Jalapeno Cilantro Pesto Undon Noodles


Jalapeño Cilantro Pesto:

  • 2 cups cilantro, packed
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped (deseed if you want a milder pesto)
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • ¼ pecans, chopped (you can sub walnuts or almonds)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach (optional)
  • 12 basil leaves (optional)
  • fresh lime juice
  • 2-4 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 bundles within 1 package of Udon Noodles (spaghetti and fettuccine noodles work too)
  • ½ package of extra firm Tofu, drained, cut into cubes, salt and
  • 1 cup shelled edamame (I used frozen edamame)
  • 30 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Jalapeno Cilantro Pesto:

  • You can make the pesto a few days beforehand, in fact, it tastes better if you do.
  • Blend all the pesto ingredients in a food processor until it looks like pesto. Add any additional ingredients to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed.


  • Put the frozen edamame onto a plate and set aside to allow to thaw.
  • Bring a big pot of boiling water to a boil.
  • While the water is heating up, heat a large pan/skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and brown it on all sides.Once it's browned on all sides, set aside on a plate.
  • Once the water comes to a boil, add the udon noodles. After 3 minutes in the boiling water, they should be almost done. Add the edamame to the noodles and cook for an additional minute.
  • Check the noodles, they should be al dente, Before pouring the noodles and edamame into a colander, reserve approx 1 cup of the pasta water.
  • After you've drained the noodles and edamame, add them back into the pasta pot. Now add about a ½ of the pesto mixture, the tomatoes, and approx 4 tablespoons of parmesan. Mix everything together until the pasta is well coated with the pesto, adding the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, to make a silky pesto sauce and prevent the pasta from drying out. Continue to add more pesto, parmesan cheese, and reserved pasta water, until you reach the sauce consistency you enjoy.
  • Then, taste the noodles and adjust the seasonings. If you feel the pasta needs salt, try adding a splash of lemon juice first to make the ingredients pop. If you still feel like the pasta needs salt and pepper, and at this time.
  • Last, add the tofu to the pasta and gently combine until every is well coated. Serve the pasta in bowls adding additional cilantro and cheese to your liking.
  • Enjoy!


The Udon Noodles normally come in 3 bundles, in one package. I used 2 out of 3 of the bundles.
I was able to brown the tofu without adding additional oil because I used a nonstick pan. If you don’t have a nonstick pan, you may want to add some oil to prevent the tofu from sticking.
I used about ¾ of the pesto mixture. I froze the rest. Pesto freezes really well if you want to add it to another meal later on.
You do not need to purchase basil and spinach for this recipe. I had some laying around so I used it up, the recipe still tastes delicious without it.
Calorie Breakdown:
The pesto:
2 cups of cilantro….. 8
1 jalapeño……………..6
1/4 cup pecans……..210
2 cloves garlic……….8
1 cup spinach………..10
12 basil leaves……….3
2 tbsp lime juice……10
The Pasta:
1 cup edamame…….240
1/2 pkg of tofu……..175
30 c tomatoes………92
8 tbsp cheese……….160
Lemon juice………..8
Total: 1,910.75
2 servings : 959.88
4 servings: 484.43
Note..I am NOT a nutritionist nor am I pretending to me. I found the nutritional values by using the ingredient labels and Google.

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