Steak with Lemon-Cumin Pesto

Steak with Lemon-Cumin Pesto

This Steak with Lemon-Cumin Pesto uses a terrific Parsley based Sauce enhanced with spices and citrus that is versatile enough for many uses.

The recipe here is really all about the Pesto. It bears some similarity to my Chimichurri Sauce except that it is less fluid, and contains Cumin, as well as the citrus tang of Lemon Juice. It is used as a Steak topping here, but can easily be adapted to a wide range of other uses, such as in sandwiches, as a dip, or a spice rub for grilling or roasting other meats, like Chicken. It is easy to prepare and can be varied to taste with other herbs or spices.

Ingredient Notes

Two Seasoned Steaks
Two Seasoned Steaks

These are the two Steaks I am using to illustrate a use of the Pesto. You need to season them liberally with Salt and then slash through the edge fat and membrane beneath in a few places in order to stop the Steaks from curling on the grill.

I actually like to let my Steaks cure in the fridge for a few days after seasoning. If you do this, turning them periodically and patting them dry as needed, they will develop a ‘Pellicle’, or tacky outer layer, which improves the quality of the grilled Steak. I didn’t do it on this occasions due to time constraints, but I highly recommend the practice.

The Method

A Lemon-Cumin Pesto
A Lemon-Cumin Pesto

First, toast the cumin seed in dry pan until it gives off a nice aroma and then grind it in a mortar. Next, trim the parsley of any extra-large stalks and then chop it coarsely along with the scallion greens.

Add the parsley, the scallion, the garlic cloves and the salt to your food processor and whizz it all up until everything is pulverized. Now add the olive oil in a thin stream with the processor running until you have a smooth mixture about the same thickness as canned tomato puree.

Now, turn the contents of the food processor into a bowl and stir in the Lemon juice and, if necessary, add a little more olive oil until the pesto is of the same ‘pouring’ consistency as ketchup. You can do this part of the preparation somewhat in advance of cooking the steaks but you will be well advised not to let it sit for much more than thirty minutes or so as the acid in the lemon juice will darken the parsley and rob it of its nice green brightness.

Grilled steak ready for Lemon-Cumin Pesto
Grilled steak ready for Lemon-Cumin Pesto

When you are ready, prepare your grill and cook the steaks to your liking. Afterwards, let the steaks rest for a good five minutes before serving and then plate, slicing them if you wish, and spoon the pesto attractively over the top.

Your Recipe Card:

Steak with Lemon-Cumin Pesto

This Steak with Lemon-Cumin Pesto uses a terrific Parsley based Sauce enhanced with spices and citrus that is versatile enough for many uses.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: General
Keyword: Cumin, Garlic, Lemon Juice, Parsley, Scallion, Steak
Author: John Thompson


  • 2 – 4 Grilling Steaks.
  • 1 bunch of Parsley stems remove and chopped
  • The green portions of two scallions chopped
  • 4 large cloves of Garlic
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cumin Seed
  • 2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • Prepare the Steaks by liberally seasoning with Salt and slashing the edge fat and membrane beneath.
  • Toast the Cumin Seed in a dry pan and grind to a coarse powder in a mortar.
  • Chop the Parsley finely, discarding any coarse stalks.
  • Blend the Cumin, Parsley, Garlic, Scallion, Salt to a Paste along with a little Oil, then remove to a boil and add the Lemon Juice and sufficient Oil to achieve the consistency of a thick Tomato Ketchup.
  • Grill the Steaks as desired, then let rest for at least 5 minutes.
  • Slice the steaks, if desired, top with the Lemon-Cumin Pesto, then serve.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!