Cilantro Pesto Crusted Turkey Tenderloins

8 Feb
Turkey Tenderloins

Cilantro Pesto Cruster Turkey Tenderloins

This recipe evolved from the simple boredom of having the same meal once a week. Normally, with turkey tenderloins, I simply pound them flat, give them a quick soak in some sort of marinade, and throw them on the grill.  This go around, I wanted to do something different and a bit more flavorful. Looking through a list of recipes, I was intrigued by one recipe that I found that encrusted the tenderloins in a sage pesto using walnuts. Inspired  by this recipe I decided to put my own MexItalian spin on it!

I have taken turkey tenderloins and baked them with a coating of cilantro pesto. I just love how the fresh, almost floral flavors of the cilantro combine with the garlic and citrus to add complexity to the turkey. The pesto also gives the added benefit of keeping the turkey moist during the roasting process. This recipe is kid tested and approved! My daughter, on first sight, did not want anything to do with green colored turkey. Upon tasting it, she proudly exclaimed “Whoa!”… That sure sounded like a seal of approval!

Cilantro Pesto Crusted Turkey Tenderloins

  • 2 turkey tenderloins, about 1 pound each
  • 8 medium red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 of a white onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 8-10 nopales paddles, cleaned and diced (optional but recommended!)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the potatoes, onion, garlic, nopales, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
  3. Prepare the cilantro pesto (Follow the recipe for the cilantro pesto below!).
  4. Spread the pesto all over the tenderloins and place in a roasting pan.
  5. Spread the potatoes, nopales, and onions in the same pan around the turkey.
  6. Roast for 40 minutes, or until the tenderloins reach a internal temperature of 165F. Let the tenderloins rest for 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Serve with the potatoes and nopales and a glass of Pinot Noir!

Cilantro Pesto

  • 1 bunch or 2 cups of fresh cilantro (washed well and dried well!)
  • 1/3  cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Put the pine nuts and the garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Add the cilantro, lime juice and slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the cotija cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

 

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2 Responses to “Cilantro Pesto Crusted Turkey Tenderloins”

  1. Kiri W. February 9, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    Sounds delicious – I haven’t met a pesto I haven’t loved, yet, and cilantro sure should be flavorful. Creative!

    • cjdelgrosso February 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      Thanks again Kiri. It was a delicious pesto because the cilantro and lime are quite a combination, and I kept down the saltiness by using cotija cheese instead of the traditional parmigiano.

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