Pumpkin Seed Pesto with Cilantro and Green Onion


6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup water

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

4 green onions (scallions), chopped

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook pumpkin seeds with salt and pepper to taste, stirring constantly, until seeds are puffed and beginning to pop (some will brown, but do not let all of them), about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and cool completely.

Pulse seed mixture in a food processor with water, cilantro, scallions, and remaining 4 tablespoons oil until mixture forms a coarse paste (not finely ground). Transfer to a bowl and stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Cooks' note: · You can make pesto 2 days ahead and chill, its surface and top of bowl covered with plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature and season before serving.


Braised Carrots and Radishes with Cilantro Pesto


1 Tbs. plus ⅓ c. olive oil (divided)

1 bunch carrots (about ½ pound), trimmed

1 bunch radishes (about ½ pound), trimmed

5 cloves garlic, minced (divided)

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

½ c. filtered water

1 bunch cilantro, large stem pieces removed and discarded

½ c. lightly toasted walnuts

1 Tbs. white wine vinegar

¼ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

salt to taste



Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  While the pan heats, slice the carrots in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise.  Slice the radishes into four quarters.  When the skillet is hot, add 2 cloves of the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add the carrots, radishes, salt, and pepper.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the water to the pan, cover, and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 8-10 minutes.  

While the vegetables are braising, make the pesto: Add the cilantro, walnuts, ⅓ c. olive oil, white wine vinegar, and Parmesan cheese (if using) to a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth.  Add salt to taste.  

Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the braising liquid until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Pour reduced liquid over the cooked vegetables.  Stir in 2-3 Tbs. of the pesto.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Store leftover pesto in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.