Cilantro-Basil Pesto

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I’ve said before one of the practices that keeps the Autoimmune Protocol flavorful and easy in our house is having various sauces on hand to switch things up. Of all the sauces in my routine (Green Curry, Golden Turmeric, Cherry BBQ) this is by far the one that ends up on the meal plan week after week. It only takes a few minutes to make, and is very adaptable — you can make it a little spicier by adding an additional clove of garlic to the mix, or throw in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, like mint!

Last year I had a fantastic idea to buy up a ton of basil while it was in peak season, make five extra batches of this recipe, and freeze for use during the winter. Nothing brightened up those dark days like the taste of summer!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Cilantro-Basil Pesto
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1½ cups
  • 4 ounces fresh basil (about 1 cup very tightly packed)
  • 4 ounces fresh cilantro (about 1 cup very tightly packed)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor, and blend on medium speed until desired consistency is reached, using a tamper or stopping to scrape the sides of the processor if needed. If the blend is too thick, add some additional olive oil.
NOTE: Keeps well in the refrigerator for a week.


About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a co-founder here at Autoimmune Wellness and a co-teacher of AIP Certified Coach. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She has a Master's degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Nutrition, and is the author of three best-selling books--The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, and The Nutrient-Dense Kitchen. You can watch her AIP cooking demos by following her on Instagram.


  • Stacey Goitia says

    I love this site! Thanks so much for ‘being out there’ for people like me. I’m so reactive and problematic toward foods that I had no idea what I could/couldn’t eat anymore. After being diagnosed with more than one autoimmune disease, I really didn’t know what the heck to do with myself. This looks like a great recipe for me!

    –Stacey G.

  • Shona Kane says

    Hi there,
    I am grateful for this site as I transition from Paleo to aip! I just tried this, as I’m struggling for sauces and dressings, but I found it to be very bitter. Perhaps the basil in the UK is different! Any ideas of something to add to sweeten it or make it a bit creamy. Next on my list is the turmeric sauce!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Shona! Sorry to hear, I would maybe try to add a little honey to sweeten it up a bit? I wouldn’t do much, maybe a teaspoon. The turmeric sauce is quite a bit sweeter due to the sweet potatoes. Wishing you luck!

  • Ellen says

    I freeze pesto in ice cube trays, then pop them into zip bags – then you can choose exactly how much to defrost, and it takes less time. it’s great for boosting flavor in soups or other sauces. standard ice cubes are 1 ounce liquid, so if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of pesto, you just need 4 cubes!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      I do the same! Handy trick 🙂

    • alison says

      I am new to this awesome site! Thanks for the hints on how to make my first week better. It is a bit overwhelming, so tricks help a lot! My biggest problem is that I cook for 5 boys/husband who are absolutely onion haters! I am at this crossroads; as I work odd hours as a nurse, whether I try these recipes for myself and cook (what I know doesn’t help their problems either-Add, anxiety, and BiPolar disorder) for them. I am expectantly waiting and on knowing this diet will help my many autoimmune disorders, but it seems insurmountable. I just had had the worst side effects from Plaquenil -Blindness, that is progressive despite stoping the drug -so I hope anyone on this drug really watches their vision. Also, I feel physically terrible since stoping the drug. I feel that this diet is my only hope. So, my
      Bio includes ICU nurse for 20 years, now Masters trained RN in nursing education: I teach nursing at a local college, but am really afraid that this vision loss will be the end of my current adjunct faculty position in nursing. If there are praying people, would you please pray that I can stick to this strict diet, and that it will work!!

      • Mickey Trescott says

        Alison, we are rooting for healing to come your way! Hang in there!

      • Joy says

        Hello Alison, by coincidence (?) I came across your posting from 2018. I wonder if you’d be kind enough to let me/us know how you’re doing. Prayers went out immediately after reading your post.

        I am a long time nurse too, masters prepared and love teaching. Graves’ disease which turned into a long battle with orbitopathy has made me concerned for my eyes too.

        Hope you are doing well! ❤️

        The recipe is delicious! Can’t wait to share it with my family tonight! Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

  • Jean says

    As one of those who cannot stand cilantro (it tastes like soap to me), I wonder if this would work by substituting parsley? Maybe increase the basil and decrease the parsley, rather than equal amounts of each, since parsley has a strong taste of its own.

    Does the basil remain green, or does it blacken?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Jean, you can certainly use parsley but I might suggest mint as it will have more flavor. Or use 50/50 of them both? Yes, the basil does brown on day 2, but it tastes the same and I don’t worry about it!

  • […] Cilantro-Basil Pesto from Autoimmune Wellness *Make a bunch of this pesto and freeze it so you can enjoy it year-round! […]

  • Victoria says

    I loved this! I did use an additional clove of garlic, because who uses just one? Lol. Spicy in a good way. I put it on spaghetti squash ‘noodles,’ and can’t wait to try it in many other ways. Your cookbook gave me an excellent start on AIP, thanks.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Glad you enjoyed it Victoria! And yes, that extra clove can add quite a kick!

  • Anna says

    I made this last night for the first time. I was having a pesto craving. It was so fresh and yummy over our roasted chicken! I’m going to pair it with shrimp today. Thanks!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Anna, sounds like the perfect use for it! Glad you enjoyed!

  • Bob Champion says

    No pine nuts??

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Bob! Pine nuts are not compliant in the elimination phase, but if you find you tolerate them, I say add some!

  • Christine says

    I used lemon balm, Basil and cilantro and 3 cloves of garlic. It was really yummy. I took some out and then added a whole avocado and it was amazing! What do you all use with you pesto?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      I’m glad you loved it Christine! I like to use it as a sauce on just about any type of cooked meat or veggie.

  • Galina says

    Can I keep it in the freezer or refrigerator? For how long?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Galina! Yes, you can keep in the refrigerator for about a week and in the freezer for a few months. I like to top my frozen portions with a little extra olive oil to help them keep longer.

  • Briana says

    This looks fantastic! About to start my AIP adventure with my 17-year-old daughter. We’re super sad about giving up spaghetti sauce, but we do at least love pesto and cilantro – I can’t wait to try this on some spaghetti squash! Thank you for all you do; your books have given us a solid starting point and some fantastic recipes.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      I hope you guys love this one, Briana! Good luck!

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