Roasted Jalapeno-Lime Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

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Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

I pretty much cook every night during the week for dinner. I love to cook, it’s my greatest passion. It zens me out. 

However, we usually do go out for dinner a couple nights a week. When we do, there are two restaurants in our neighborhood that we debate over. We debate over them because of their respective cheese plates. Lu prefers Light Horse Tavern, because I think he likes the raisin bread it comes with. However, I love Satis Bistro, because I think they have better Manchego.

We’re serious about our cheese plates.

Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

I never really knew about Manchego before discovering it at that restaurant. Ever since, I’ve wanted to make a spiralized dish with it. Of course, I’d be happy eating zucchini noodles with a side of Manchego cubes, because I’m that obsessed. But, I figured y’all would want something a bit more refined than that.

Manchego has such a distinct taste, that I thought it would work well in a pesto and really bring the pasta to life. Sticking with a Spanish-Mexican theme, I substituted in roasted pepitas for pine nuts and cilantro for basil. 

Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

Wow. Really, wow.

Manchego pesto > basil pesto.

Don’t let my grandfather know, he’ll be disappointed. I didn’t think pesto could be so distinctive! Pesto goes wonderfully with zucchini pappardelle (ribbon-like pasta) that can be made with Blade A. There’s more surface area for the pesto to cling to, so you get so much flavor in every bite.

Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

I chose tilapia, because it’s a mild tasting fish and would bow down to the pesto. It worked like a charm! The slight lime taste in the tilapia with the fragrance of the roasted jalapenos is perfection. The jalapenos give the dish a little spicy kick and the lime gives it a fun tang.

The zucchini noodles are raw for a refreshing crunch. Altogether, the roasted tilapia, the manchego pesto and the smells of the cilantro and jalapeno make the perfect weeknight meal. The dish comes together in minutes.

Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

I ended up saving a serving and making tilapia tacos with the manchego zucchini noodles. Absolutely mind-blowing.

Do you like Manchego? Are you a pesto fan?

Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time22 mins
Servings: 2


  • For the pesto:
  • 3/4 cup grated Manchego cheese
  • 1/3 packed cup of cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt or less
  • 2 tbsp deshelled roasted pepitas
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper to taste
  • For the rest:
  • 2 tilapia filets
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 thin slices of a jalapeno
  • 3 medium zucchinis Blade A


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the tilapia filets on a baking tray lightly coated with cooking spray. Slice the lime in half and squeeze one half over one filet and the other half over the other filet. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 7 minutes. Then, take out, place 3 jalapeno slices on top of each filet and bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until tilapia is opaque and cooked through.
  • While the tilapia is roasting, place all of the ingredients for your pesto into a food processor. Pulse until creamy. Taste and adjust, if necessary.
  • In a large bowl, pour the pesto over the zucchini noodles and toss to combine thoroughly. Divide the noodles evenly onto two plates.
  • When the tilapia is done, top each bed of zucchini pasta with one filet. Enjoy!

Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

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Oooooh this looks so light and fresh! I love it, Ali!
Nikki says:
Hi Ali! Just wondering where you usually find Manchego cheese?
You can find it in your local grocery store!
Lesia says:
Are all of these recipes in your book. These are yummy looking!
Lesia says:
Are all of these recipes in your cookbook? Amazing! My daughter says she'll never eat pasta again!
They are not! There are other recipes in my cookbook. For a list of all the recipes, go to!
Mandy says:
Just made this- my husband and I do not do dairy so I left out the cheese. Still absolutely delicious. (For your other paleo peeps!) Thank you - every recipe of yours is so easy and yummy.
I'm so glad you liked the recipe! I'm glad you could adjust it to fit your paleo diet!
I seriously eat cilantro lime tilapia like every day of my life for dinner. I am really boring. Except I always eat it over the zoodles! And, these photos...gorgeous girl!
Joanne says:
I am definitely a manchego lover! It has the perfect nutty flavor...really the best. I've yet to pair it with pesto but now I'm thinking i must do so IMMEDIATELY. Or else.
Anonymous says:
OOOOMMMMMMGGGGGGGG!!!! Made this for dinner tonight and it is AHHHMAZING!
Steph says:
AMAZING!! This was sooooo good!!
Healthy and beautiful!
Adrian says:
This looks delicious!! I was just wondering, are the noodles cooked in this recipe? I know you usually cook them, but I don't see it mentioned in the recipe.
Love the sound of this!
Emily says:
The pesto on this was absolutely fantastic! We used snapper and it came out perfect!
Mmm red snapper - what a great idea!
Anonymous says:
My husband and I made this tonight and it was AMAZING!! love the pesto sauce. Didn't add the pumpkin seeds because grocery didn't have them. Do you know the nutritional value for this dish?

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