Cilantro Walnut Pesto

So remember that pesto I mentioned in last week’s Sunday food prep? Well, here you go!

cilantro and walnut pesto |

I actually didn’t plan on making pesto as part of my weekly food prep. Frankly I didn’t plan on making pesto at all, but I did have a huge bunch of cilantro in my fridge that I needed to use. I couldn’t even remember why I had cilantro in my fridge – I only buy it for specific recipes, and nothing I made that week called for it…so I improvised.

cilantro and walnut pesto |

I originally wanted to make something similar to my dairy free sun dried tomato basil pesto, subbing cilantro for the basil, but as it turned out I also didn’t have any pine nuts on hand. I did, however, have an excessive amount of chopped walnuts in my pantry, so I went with it. I kept the rest of the recipe pretty simple, using chopped garlic, lemon juice, a hint of cayenne pepper, and olive oil. I have to confess I didn’t even realize regular pesto contains cheese, so the few times I’ve made my own I don’t even bother. And even though I’m a complete cheese addict, I think I actually prefer pesto without the cheese. Is that sacrilege?

cilantro and walnut pesto |

Another thing I don’t really like about traditional pesto is that it can be pretty thin, so I used less olive oil to make my pesto a little thicker. This came out close to a paste, which I loved – especially on grilled chicken breasts. Be forewarned: if you’re not a fan of garlic don’t use as much as I did! I adore garlic – I think it’s safe to say I don’t have to worry about a vampire attacking me ever – and fortunately for me my husband likes it as well (albeit not as much as I do) and doesn’t mind when his wife goes to bed smelling like a stinking rose. All joking aside, this pesto turned out surprisingly well and I didn’t think it had an overwhelming cilantro flavor, so if you’re not a fan of cilantro you should try this anyway! It doesn’t have the same flavor as basil pesto but unless you’re planning on eating this straight out of the jar with  spoon, I couldn’t tell a huge difference. Eat up!

Cilantro Walnut Pesto

yields: approximately one cup


1 and 1/2 cups cilantro, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

juice of one half lemon

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/2 to 1/4 cup olive oil (more or less depending on the consistency you prefer)

cayenne pepper to taste


Pretty simple. In a food processor or blender, toss in all ingredients except the oil and pulse until combined well. With the processor still running, slowly add the oil, scraping down the sides as necessary, until you have the consistency you want. Done!

cilantro and walnut pesto |

This pairs really well with chicken, but try it on crackers or eggplant rounds, toss it with some pasta or zoodles, or simply eat with sliced veggies. Experiment with it!


Paleo Peach BBQ Sauce

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When The Husband and I were in Pennsylvania for Labor Day, we stopped at my favorite orchard for fruit before heading back home on Sunday night. Amongst other things, we ended up with a half bushel of fresh peaches. Let me tell you, our car smelled awesome on the drive home. Fresh peaches = best car freshener ever.

The first few days it was easy to use some of our new stash. I packed one in my lunch each day, The Husband ate some at breakfast…but it soon became apparent that we’d have to do something with the rest of our peaches, and fast. I had a couple of ideas, but the one that wouldn’t go away also happened to be a bi-product of the Labor Day weekend.

BBQ sauce.

peach BBQ sauce

There isn’t a lot I miss from my non-paleo days, but one of the few things I do find myself craving is a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce. I’ve never made homemade BBQ sauce before and to be honest I don’t actually think I’ve ever eaten peach BBQ sauce before, but because I happened to have a whole bunch of peaches on hand, well…

You get the picture.

peach BBQ sauce 1

So we looked up some recipes online and after finding recipe after recipe that contained sugar, brown sugar, or honey, I finally found one that didn’t use any added sweeteners at all! The secret ingredient? Mango!

The combination of the super ripe peaches and the super sweet mango created the perfect blend of sweet to balance out the heat from the jalapeno and the tang from the apple cider vinegar and lime juice.

peach BBQ sauce 2

The recipe was fairly easy as well. I simmered the peaches and mango with some onion, jalapeno pepper, chicken stock and tomato pasted and cooked down for a while before tossing it into a blender to form a sauce. Then I added the sauce back to the pot on the stove, added apple cider vinegar, lime juice, ancho chili powder and a healthy dose of Stubbs BBQ spice rub, and let it simmer away!


peach BBQ sauce 4 

While I was making the BBQ sauce, The Husband threw a bunch of pork ribs in the crockpot with some seasonings of his own. Once they were ready, we tossed them with the BBQ sauce and dinner was served!

peach BBQ sauce 6


adapted from this recipe

yields: approximately 2 cups BBQ sauce

prep time: 15-20 minutes

cook time: 1.5 hours


4 peaches, peeled and chopped

1 mango, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 4.5 oz tube tomato paste

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 lime, juiced

2 tbsp stubbs BBQ spice rub

ancho chili powder (sprinkle to taste)

2 tbsp olive oil


Heat olive oil in a dutch oven and add peaches and mango. Cook to soften, about 5-10 minutes. Add onion, jalapeno, chicken stock and tomato paste and cook on medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, until all ingredients begin to combine and are soft enough to puree. Working in batches, puree your mixture in a blender to the consistency you desire – I left mine still slightly chunky because that’s how I wanted it, but you can puree until smooth if you’d like. Return the mixture to the pot and add vinegar, lime juice and spices. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for approximately one hour, stirring occasionally, until sauce darkens and thickens, again to the consistency you desire.


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I also highly recommend this with barbecued chicken on a grill. Nom.

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