Cilantro Pesto Pasta Recipe

A tasty, healthy, and easy to make Pasta

Cilantro Pesto Pasta Recipe
Total Time (Mins): 
Prep Time (Mins): 
Cook Time (Mins): 

Penne Rigate Pasta: 250 gm
Onion: 2 (large)
Garlic: 3-4 cloves
Tomato: 3 (large)
Cilantro leaves: 2 cups
Pine nuts/ almonds/cashews: 2 tbsp
Green chili: 2
Sugar: 1 tsp
Plain Cream Cheese: 2-3 tbs
Milk: ½ cup
Salt to taste
Olive/Sunflower Oil: 4 tbsp


Cooking Method: 
Boiling, Frying
Skill Level: 

1) Boil penne rigate pasta that it is slightly undercooked and firm to bite but not soft. Drain. Wash it with cold water. Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil. Mix to coat and keep it aside.

2) Grind onion and garlic into a paste

3) Grind tomato and keep it aside

4) Grind cilantro/coriander leaves, green chili and nuts to a smooth paste adding 4 tbsp of water. Keep it aside.

5) Heat oil in a fry pan. Add garlic and onion paste. Fry till light golden brown.

6) Add tomato paste. Fry for 5 min. Add sugar and fry for 2 min.

7) Add coriander, green chili paste and salt. Fry for 2 min.

8) Add cream cheese. Fry for 2 min. Add milk. Stir for 3 min.

9) Add penne pasta. Coat well with the mixture. Heat for 3 min.

10) Remove from heat


Common Mistakes: 

Do not overcook the pasta. Drizzling with oil keeps it non-sticky. 


1) Add fresh basil or mint leaves for variation (1/2 cup)

2) Choose penne rigate made with 100% semolina for added fiber. Use fresh tomatoes and greens to make this a healthy nutritious dish.

3) Don’t grind and keep cilantro leaves for long or it would lose color. If you wish to store, add oil to it and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can make this ready to use pesto by grinding coriander/cilantro leaves, garlic cloves, green chili, parmesan/cream cheese and nuts.

4) Transfer to a container. Mix salt, oil and transfer to an airtight container. Add extra oil over the surface to prevent air oxidation, which can cause change in color and flavor. Use within 3 days.


Alternative Ingredients: 

Substitute cream cheese with grated parmesan (1/2 cup)


Serve hot along with garlic bread