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New Mexico Green Chile Pesto

This year I discovered a new pesto variation.  My girlfriend who often travels to New Mexico learned to add green chile powder to the basil, nuts, garlic and olive oil essence. When she first described green chile pesto, I pictured diced green chiles. No, green chile pesto calls for New Mexico green chile powder, or ground dried green chiles.

fresh basil for Green Chile Pesto

Genovese basil

This new green chile pesto has a nice garlic bite, fresh bright green flavor from the basil, and  just the right measure of spicy heat from the powdered green chile. Taste and add more of the light green powder if you like more heat!


We find different varieties of fresh basil in our CSA farm share box throughout the summer–Genovese basil, lemon basil, and Thai basil–and I turn most of it into pesto. We like that emerald green garlicky stuff. On pizza, potatoes, pasta, sandwiches, and swirled into minestrone soup. And in the freezer ready and waiting for easy winter dinners.

Very large bag of New Mexico Chile Powder for Green Chile Pesto

Ancho, Chimayo, and California chile powder already held their place in our spice cupboard, but green chile powder was  something new. I found it online but I had to buy a one-pound bag. The earthy fruity aroma of New Mexico green chile powder now wafts around this kitchen. (I should put it in a glass jar so it stays fresher longer.) Needless to say it’s more than I can conceivably use, even though this Southwestern inspired green chile pesto is mighty tasty!

  • Update: I just learned on Instagram that Melissa’s Produce sells Hatch green chile powder in a more reasonable sized amount. And in a jar! I haven’t seen it in stores but you can mail order it directly from their website. Or here’s my Amazon link to another brand of Hatch green chile powder.
  • Spelling note: Chile powder or ground dried chile is different from chili powder, which is ground chiles mixed with cumin, salt and dehydrated garlic.

More pesto recipes from Letty’s Kitchen:

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