Thursday, May 3, 2012

Steak with Cilantro-Almond Pesto

This bright pesto uses cilantro and almonds in place of the more classic basil and pine nut duo, for fresh, zesty flavor.  I served it tonight over grilled Match beef, but you can try it in other applications as well.

  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds*
  • 1 tablespoon seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 12 ounces thawed Match beef
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional for garnish)
1. Combine 3/4 cup cilantro in a blender or food processor with the almonds, jalapeno, salt, black pepper, and garlic; process until finely chopped.  Add the yogurt and lime juice and process until mostly smooth.

Note: I highly recommend using a small food processor; because there is so little volume, my blender really couldn't get at the bits of cilantro and almond to chop them when I used that appliance on my first try.  So make this in a small-bowl food processor, or make a double batch in a blender and set aside half of it for another use.

2. Grill the Match beef on an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan coated with cooking spray for 6 minutes on each side.  Cut into thin slices, and serve with the pesto.  Cilantro sprigs make a lovely garnish.

For a wine to pair with the herbal flavors of this dish, I recommend a (vegan) Cabernet Franc - it's a wine with herbal, almost minty notes that will work well here.

*Toast your almonds in a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan frequently, until toasted.  

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (3 ounces beef, about 1 tablespoon pesto), Calories 209 

Tasting Notes:
I really enjoyed the bright flavors to the pesto - a great blend of cilantro, almond, lime, and jalapeno.  I definitely would want it creamier though, so would increase the cilantro, yogurt, and lime until reaching smoother consistency.  The zesty pesto was a great contrast to savory grilled Match beef, but as stated in the intro to this post, I'm eager to try it elsewhere as well.


I also enjoyed the pesto in several other ways. Make a batch to top a sauceless pizza (shown here with a roasted vegetable pizza from Whole Foods.

Or use as a sandwich spread before layering with vegan deli meats and tomato.

Finally, it's fantastic over Gardein's beefless burgers, instead of ketchup or mustard.

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