Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cilantro Lime Pesto Tacos & Shrimp Pasta!

I was craving Chipotle earlier in the week, and this creation was the result.  The original recipe was just for tacos, but I, like so many people in this world, am addicted to the cilantro lime rice at Chipotle/Qdoba.  There are few things in the world better, IMHO.


This post involves two recipes from my collection that I’m using together in the same meal.  I suppose tacos don’t usually have rice with them…that sort of makes them burritos, am I right?  Ah well…guess no one ever told that to the peeps at C & Q. 


Hey—poTAYto, poTAHto.  We’re making Cilantro-Lime Rice, and Cilantro Lime Pesto, which we will use not one, not two, but THREE ways.  I got THREE nights’ worth of dinners out of what I’m about to present to you in ONE blog post.  I know—MIND blowing, isn’t it?  So versatile. (And so…cilantro-y & limey.  AKA, deelishuss.)

Okay---Rice first.


1 cup instant brown rice, prepared according to package

Juice of 1/2 lime

3 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro

2 tsp olive oil



In a medium bowl, combine the cilantro, lime, olive oil, & rice.  Toss until completely mixed.  BOOM—DONE. 



Makes four 3/4 cup servings (more if you’re using it in tacos/burritos—I think we stretched out over 8 tacos, total).

NutriFacts (based on 4 servings):

Calories: 200

Fat: 3.4g

Carbs: 37.4

Protein: 4g


Now, onto our pesto.  This recipe will make a cup or so of pesto, which was plenty for the three dishes I’m about to show you.  And I have to tell you right now—if you like cilantro & lime, you are going to LOVE this.  Seriously—SO good.  We are big fans of fresh cilantro.  I know cilantro is one of those foods that people either love or hate—my father-in-law says it tastes like soap.  But one thing’s for sure—it’s chock full of nutrients, it’s an anti-inflammatory, it aids in digestion, reportedly lowers blood sugar…I could go on.  But instead…let’s cook.


1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp sliced, toasted almonds

4 cloves fresh garlic

Juice from 1/2 lime

1/2 cup shredded asiago, or Parmesan or Romano (we went with Parm, since that’s what we had in the house)

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth



Using a blender or food processor, mix together all the ingredients on a low speed for 2 minutes.  The end result should look like this:



Then, for your first dinner, heat up a large skillet.

Cut up 2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or about 6-8 chicken tenders, just depends on what you have around the house) into bite size pieces.  Sprinkle with black pepper & cajun seasoning, then saute the chicken over medium high heat until cooked through.  Then toss about 1/2 cup of the pesto with your chicken.

Serve with flour tortillas, the cilantro rice, and your favorite taco fixin’s.


(Sauteed peppers & jalapenos, avocado, and tomatoes…that’s my taco, alright!)


This made enough for about 4-6 tacos.


The second night, I cooked a pound of shrimp and tossed it with the remaining pesto.  With half of it, we had 4 shrimp pesto tacos (MMMMmmmm…)

Then the THIRD night, I boiled some pasta (chop 2 cloves of garlic & throw it in the boiling water, along with a teaspoon of olive oil) & tossed the leftover shrimp + pesto with that.

Top with cracked black pepper & more parmesan.


Wow.  Just…wow.  I have to say, this pesto is one of the tastiest things I’ve made in a LONG time.  Big, HUGE flavor, with hardly any fats other than what’s naturally in the meat.  I mean, there’s only 2.5 tablespoons of oil in the whole BATCH of pesto.  Sure, you have a bit of fat from the cheese, but again—once it’s been split now through three meals—pretty negligible.

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