Culinary Adventures, Recipes
Comments 19

Grilled prawns with cashew coriander pesto


Since I was diagnosed with Graves disease earlier this year, I’ve been eating more whole foods and incorporating nuts into my diet. I replaced the instant noodles in my desk drawer with a box of mixed nuts. Brazil nuts come highly recommended for Graves disease patients because they contain high amount of selenium so I always make sure there is a generous quota of Brazil nuts in my mix.

The Nation’s Nuts

National-Nut-Day-Logo-CMYK-e1411505318546National Nut Day falls on Tuesday 21 October 2014 and is a day which celebrates the humble and nutritious nut. Nuts are great for you and the NZ Nutrition Foundation recommends a handful of nuts per day. With vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein, nuts make a guilt free, low maintenance snack.

Thanks to Alison’s Pantry, I get to experiment with cashews this month. Alison’s Pantry offer a bulk food range in New Zealand supermarkets. Great if you just want raw ingredients without the fancy packaging. Alison Holst is the “Mother of New Zealand Cooking” and growing up, every mum in New Zealand follwed her trusted recipes.

Can you spot the cute little cashew hiding in their logo?  —>

Coriander Controversy

This pesto recipe is a little controversial in my house. I adore coriander (a.k.a. cilantro) but my husband, The Koala HATES it. He has the gene where fresh coriander tastes absolutely awful to him. Yet he adores several dishes such as butter chicken and various Thai curries that have coriander in them. It was a risk I was willing to take. I guess the worst thing that could happen is that I’d have to eat it all. Not so bad 🙂


I used a knife, a chopping board and a zester/grater because I don’t own a food processor. If you do have one of these magical appliances, feel free to use it.


Cashew and Coriander Pesto

without a food processor

Makes 2 cups


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 cup coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice from half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: a pinch of dried chili flakes


  1. Dry roast the cashews in a heavy pan on medium-high heat, no oil, stirring frequently. Heat until cashews are fragrant and just starting to colour. Do not allow to go brown.
  2. Tip cashews onto a chopping board and chop.
  3. Tip the chopped cashews into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Mix until combined and then add the oil. Mix. Season to taste.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container and pour over the rest of the oil to cover the surface.
  5. Use pesto in sandwiches, with chicken or seafood, stir through pasta or potatoes.


I couldn’t wait to use this pesto so I whipped up these prawns for a tasty afternoon snack. Of course, these could be turned into a meal for two if served with pasta or a salad.


Grilled prawns with Cashew Coriander Pesto

Serves 2


  • 12 large prawns (shelled and deveined)
  • Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Cashew Coriander Pesto


  1. Heat a little oil in a heavy skillet (or grill). Once hot, add prawns in a single layer and cook until brightly coloured and opaque.
  2. Stir in the pesto and serve immediately.


This pesto was approved by The Koala! Luckily the flavour of the coriander wasn’t so strong when mixed with the other ingredients and the fragrant cashews really stood out. I’d eat this pesto raw but it’s also great stirred through something hot as the heat brings out the flavour.



  1. Yumm. I’m going to have to try this. I haven’t been diagnosed with Graves disease or any thyroid issue and my blood says I’m normal but I’ve been on thyroid meds for three years. I’m one of the people where is doesn’t show (so the doctors don’t believe me), but I’ve had all the symptons. Didn’t know that about Brazil nuts so I think this will be a definite go for me. Thanks. 🙂

    • Hi Colleen, the symptoms of thyroid problems can be so frustrating! Having an invisible disease can be a curse and a blessing. Sometimes I feel like I’m not being take seriously, other days I’m glad I can pretend everything is fine. Brazil nuts are great regardless of your thyroid issues but extra great for those of us that have them.

  2. oh heavens, this looks absolutely delicious. not only do i love cashews AND coriander, but your pictures are just so.darn.gorgeous that i wanna eat everything on this post. unfortunately for me, however, my husband is allergic to nuts…

    maybe i can find something similar when i’m at the market? fingers crossed 🙂

  3. Great use of the pesto, with the shrimp like that.
    Interesting though that you consider Coriander and Cilantro as the same. Or were you making a funny? I couldn’t tell.
    Over here they are two completely different things.
    Regardless, beauuutiful outcome!!

  4. What a great recipe. I think the mayor controversy in my household is that Mr. H. hates yogurt but once in a while I’ll put it in cake (and he really tastes it!). As you say, I get to eat more 🙂 A couple of weeks ago I made a cake oooozzzing with creamy yogurt, lol. Did not go down well with him. I might post it, might not. Wow I’m so impressed you chopped those cashews with a knife / grater! xx

  5. colleenanderson says

    Okay, I just made this last night. Mine’s not as finely ground as yours, and I added more garlic. 🙂 I think I ended up with three cups. How long will it last because my diet won’t let me scarf it down all at once though it is mighty tasty.

    • Hi Colleen, Oh 3 cups! I think if the nuts are chopped coarser, the don’t sink into the cup as much and therefore take up more space 🙂

      I’d say it this lasts just over week. Add a layer of oil on top to stop the herb from discolouring. You can freeze anything you don’t use. I’ve heard of people freezing them into ice cubes to use as needed.

  6. Pine nuts are expensive again so I’m using alternate nuts to make my pestos. Cashews sound wonderful. You can use cashews as a thickener in some Indian curries too, Jamie Oliver has it in the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe I’ve posted about, it’s wonderful. I know what you mean about cilantro (we call the leaves cilantro and the seeds corriander here), I adore it but a little goes a long way with JT. Cilantro pesto would not fly with him, but this shrimp dish sure would! It looks divine! I freeze my pestos in an ice cube tray and then pop them out into a ziplock baggy, that way you needn’t worry about how long they last, they’ll go on indefinitely in the freezer if properly stored in an airtight container. I use pesto as a pizza base, on fish, on steak (instead of a compound butter, it’s delicious).
    My food processor’s top broke (the little plastic thingy that needs to lock in place before it can start) but I jimmy rigged a piece of bamboo skewer into the slot so now it works just fine. I hate throwing it away just because the top broke (it’s almost as expensive to replace the top as it is to buy a new one!)

  7. This sounds fabulous – I have to say as well I am so in loooooooooove with the design of your blog and I want to eat everything you post (especially these prawns). You are brilliant at what you do!

I love your comments! Your comments are like extra melted cheese on top.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s