Red Snapper with Cilantro Pesto

red snapper with cilantro
Red snapper and quinoa pilaf photo by Oksana Charla
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Calories: 305

Fresh-caught fish paired with bright lime-infused cilantro pesto brings out the best of the Pacific coast. At Mirador in the Arenas del Mar Resort, red snapper is plated on a bed of quinoa pilaf with cilantro pesto drizzled artistically on top and around the fish for an elegant casado-style meal. This dish can also be served fuss-free and family-style; let each person arrange their own plate. If you can’t have fish, replace the red snapper with pan-seared or grilled boneless chicken breast.

Food editor Beth Hillson is a chef and cooking instructor. She is founder of Gluten-Free Pantry, one of the first gluten-free companies in the United States, and author of Gluten-Free Makeovers and The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free (Da Capo Lifelong).

Yields 4 servings


  • 2 large bunches fresh cilantro, about 3 cups of leaves (not packed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1-2 pinches of salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 1 1⁄3 pounds red snapper, striped bass or similar white flesh fish filets, cut into 4 portions
  • Quinoa Pilaf
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1To make cilantro pesto, wash cilantro, remove leaves and pat them dry between paper towels. Place leaves in a food processor and process about 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and lime juice. Process until smooth. Add salt and blend. Set aside to serve with red snapper.

2To prepare red snapper, place 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a pan and warm over medium heat. Add 4 pieces of snapper, skin-side down, and cook until crispy, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish and sauté the other side until browned, about 3 minutes (internal temperature should register 125°F).

3To serve, plate each piece of fish with Quinoa Pilaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with cilantro pesto.

1 serving contains 305 calories, 17g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 161mg cholesterol, 162mg sodium, 1g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 34g protein.