Monday, November 9, 2009

Grilled Opah with Spinach & Toasted Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Since Whole Foods had fresh, local opah (moonfish) on sale, of course I had to buy some and decide what to do with it. Usually the opah that I buy ends up in fish tacos but I was craving something a little different and decided to throw together a pesto-style sauce that I have been tinkering around with in my head. I seem to have an excess of nuts and seeds stashed away in my freezer (maybe I was a squirrel in a previous life?) including two large containers of raw pumpkin seeds and needed a way to use some of them up. Combined with the last cup of a box of baby spinach, some cilantro and a couple of limes it became a healthy and tasty Spinach & Toasted Pumpkin Seed Pesto. The pesto can be used on fish, in a taco or burrito, with a grilled chicken breast, pasta or even used as a spread or dip. I served mine on top of a Mexican-spiced Opah over black beans and a multi-grain pilaf mix from Trader Joes.

Spinach & Toasted Pumpkin Seed Pesto
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes a bit more than 1 cup)

1 cup (packed) baby spinach
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 large bunch of cilantro--leaves only, (about 3 tbsp)
juice of two small limes
2 Tbsp of olive oil (+ additional to thin pesto if needed)
salt and pepper to taste

In a small pan, toast pumpkin seeds until lightly browned. Place in food processor with rest of ingredients through olive oil. Purée until fairly smooth. Add additional olive oil (or lime juice or water) if needed to thin pesto to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes/Results: Delicious. I like the brightness from the lime in the pesto combined with the toasty nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds. It went perfectly with the fish--which I lightly brushed with olive oil and dredged in a mix of cumin, coriander, garlic powder onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper then cooked it on the stove on my grill pan. Combined with the canned beans and multi-grain pilaf it made a quick and easy meal with lots of protein and fiber. With magnesium, potassium, and other minerals in the pumpkin seeds and vitamins like K, C & A, magnesium, iron and other good things in the spinach, it made for a healthy dinner with a small green salad on the side. Of course since many of you may not have access to opah, it will work with any fish or lean protein as mentioned above.

The next day the leftover fish, bean and pesto went into a sprouted-wheat tortilla for a good-for-me burrito. A keeper recipe, I will make the pesto again.


  1. Love the idea of spinach and pumpkin seed pesto, a good choice for people who are allergic to nuts and cannot eat traditional pestos. It looks so pretty on the fish!

  2. Deb... this pesto of yours sounds really good. I am not familiar with opah, but I like its texture. Definitely will try the pesto. Thanks

  3. Opah! Sorry, can't help it. :)
    What a fresh and inspiring meal, I love the balance of healthy and delish.

  4. oh..what a goodie...I am no fan pf pumpkin-i thing...but this looks tempting even to me!!

    lovely and fresh :)

  5. Kim's right - the pesto is a great idea for people with nut allergies. And I love cilantro, so it's all good.

  6. A lovely pesto and one that is certainly appropriate for autumn. There is surely no dearth of fish in Paradise!

  7. You can definitely make a restaurant style dish by just throwing a few things together. Looks great!

  8. When I first read your post title I thought it said "grilled Oprah".

    It sounds delicious.

  9. What a delicious sounding pesto and a beautifuuly prepared plate.

  10. What a great idea! I love interesting combinations for pesto and I just happen to have some cilantro in the fridge...

  11. I do the same thing every week, I buy whatever is seasonal or on sale at Whole Foods and try to make something great with it. It certainly forces you to be creative!
    This is a fabulous recipe!

  12. For all the cooking I do I've never had moon fish. Your pesto looks wonderful.


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