Sharing stories, knowledge, and rants about living with metal allergies.

I Hate Nickel


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This is a collection of recipes and menu ideas that are (hopefully) low-nickel.  I am not a nutritionist/doctor/dietician/chemist/or anyone with any certifiable knowledge in anything!  Every person is different, and foods grown in different soils will have varying nickel content.  These are recipes or ideas I’ve collected that have, happily, caused little or no nickel reaction for me, but please use your own judgment and your own doctor's advice!


Cilantro Pesto (or Pistou)

Cilantro naturally helps to remove, or chelate, heavy metals from the body.  Whether it helps to remove nickel or not I can’t yet determine (see Cilantro for Nickel Chelation), but my attitude is that if it might help even a little, then it’s worth adding to my diet!  Cilantro (also known as coriander or Chinese parsley), has many other health benefits too, like lowering cholesterol and controlling blood sugar. 

I have a cilantro plant growing on my kitchen windowsill.  I use it to season tacos, soups, and salads.  Last week, I decided to take it a step further and try Cilantro Pesto. 

Now, technically this is a pistou, not a pesto.  Pesto is made with nuts, pistou is made without nuts.  Nuts are NOT low in nickel, so I made a pistou.  I had never heard the word “pistou” before this, so I’ve just been calling it a pesto, to avoid confusing everyone!  :)

Cilantro pistou - simple ingredients!

I tried this recipe last summer with traditional basil, and although it was good, it seemed to cause a nickel reaction in me.  I’ll probably try again next summer just to be sure, but I suspect that a small amount of basil as a spice is ok, a large amount as the main ingredient is not ok for me.

I was worried that the cilantro flavor might be too strong and overpowering, but it was surprisingly mellow and delicious!  My husband raved about it as well, so this will be going into the regular dinner rotation.  

I served the pesto over farfalle pasta with sundried tomatoes and grilled chicken.  It was soooooo good!

Cilantro Pistou

One bunch of cilantro* (about 3 cups lightly packed)

3 cloves garlic

¼ to ½ c grated parmesan cheese

½ c olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

  1. Add garlic to a food processor or blender and chop until minced. 
  2. Add cilantro and cheese.
  3. Drizzle in the olive oil while blending until a smooth paste is formed.
  4. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve over pasta or use as a dip for bread.  Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or stored in the freezer!

*It’s ok to use both the leaves and the stems of the cilantro plant. 

For pasta - Stir pistou into 16 oz of cooked pasta.  Add-in ideas:  sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, olives, or grilled chicken.

For dip or spread - Add a little more olive oil to make it creamier to use on bread or crackers.