Spicy Pistachio Spread with Cilantro and Lime

Spicy and sweet thanks to cashews and peppers, this pistachio spread with cilantro and lime makes a formidable addition to a Thanksgiving menu. You can substitute other herbs for cilantro and Thai basil in this dish — regular basil, parsley, savory and chervil will all work.

TOTAL TIME:1 hour, 15 min.



  • â…“" piece of ginger
  • 2 sweet banana peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup olive oil, plus a little more
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 5 green onions
  • 2¼ cups pistachios, shelled
  • ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, plus a few whole stems reserved
  • ½ bunch Thai basil, roughly chopped, plus a few leaves reserved
  • 5 Tbsp. lime juice, plus more for garnish
  • 2 radishes, sliced paper-thin


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Add the ginger, chopped banana peppers and ¾ cup of olive oil to a saucepan.

  2. Cook the oil, peppers and ginger over medium-low heat until the peppers soften, 12-15 minutes. Swirl the pan occasionally. If the peppers begin to fry, reduce the heat to low. Take the pan off the stove and let the oil cool to room temperature.

  3. Slice off the tops of the heads of garlic, just enough to expose the cloves. Drizzle the tops of the garlic heads with olive oil and wrap them in one piece of foil, then place them in a baking dish. Coat the green onions with olive oil and place them around the garlic.

  4. Spread the pistachios and pumpkin seeds in an even layer on a sheet pan. Place the dish of garlic and onions alongside the pan of pistachios in the oven.

  5. Roast the seeds and pistachios until toasted, about 7 minutes, and take them out of the oven. Continue roasting the garlic and green onions until the onions caramelize, about 40 minutes. Remove the garlic and onions from the oven and set aside.

  6. Strain the banana peppers out of the oil and set the oil aside. Add the banana peppers to a blender.

  7. Pinch the garlic cloves out of the garlic heads and add them to the blender. Chop the green onions and add them to the blender too.

  8. Portion out ½ cup of the toasted pistachios and pumpkin seeds and roughly chop them. Add the remaining nuts and seeds to the blender.

  9. Add the cilantro, Thai basil, 5 tablespoons of lime juice and the reserved olive oil to the blender. Blend the ingredients until coarse but spreadable. Transfer the spread to a serving dish.

  10. Moisten the reserved pistachios and pumpkin seeds with olive oil and press them gently into the spread. Garnish the spread with the reserved Thai basil, cilantro leaves and sliced radishes.

  11. Drizzle the spread with olive oil and lime juice. Serve with sturdy multi-grain crackers or bruschetta.