Grilled Mahi Mahi with Cilantro – Ginger Pesto

5 from 2 votes
30 minutes
Jump To Recipe

Make a quick culinary escape to the tropics with this light, fresh and healthy Grilled Mahi Mahi with Cilantro – Ginger Pesto! Great for a weeknight or date night, it’s ready in about 30 minutes!

Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro - Ginger Pesto with jasmine rice on white plate garnished with lime wedge and cilantro.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

This recipe for Grilled Mahi Mahi with Cilantro – Ginger Pesto is:

  • Perfect for a weeknight or date night dinner.
  • Easy with simple techniques, so great for a beginner cook.
  • Quick! Can be done in about 30 minutes.
  • Partially make-ahead. The pesto can be done up to 1 day ahead.
  • Healthy.
  • Crazy flavorful!
Piece of Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro - Ginger Pesto on a fork.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Mahi Mahi?

Also called dolphinfish or Dorado, this popular wild-caught fish is better known as Mahi Mahi, its Hawaiian name which helps to distinguish it from dolphins (which it is not). Mahi Mahi is a fish and dolphins are mammals. It’s wild-caught, grows quickly and is available year-round.

How should you prepare mahi mahi for cooking?

First, remove the skin or have the fishmonger do it. The skin is tough and inedible; however, the fact that it is tough makes it easy to remove. A sharp, thin fillet knife will make it easy. Then, remove any bones. Run your fingers over the fillets. Any bones will be easily felt and stick up so you can easily remove them with your fingers or with tweezers. Finally, remove the bloodline. The bloodline is that red line that runs down the middle of the fillet. It’s safe to eat but will have a fishier taste compared to the rest of the fish. If that concerns you, remove it with a thin, sharp knife.

What does mahi mahi taste like?

The flavor is mild and sweet, but the texture is dense, like swordfish.

Is mahi mahi healthy?

Absolutely! If you’re looking to add more healthy protein to your diet, give Mahi Mahi a try! Mahi-mahi is lean, low in calories and rich in B-12, potassium and omega-3s. Here’s all the nutritional information from

What other fish can I use in this recipe with the Cilantro-Ginger Pesto?

Any type of white, flaky fish will work, such as halibut, sea bass, cod, grouper or swordfish. Can’t do fish? The Cilantro-Ginger Pesto is also great with chicken!

How to Make Grilled Mahi Mahi with Cilantro – Ginger Pesto:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the grilled mahi mahi recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro - Ginger Pesto.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Mahi Mahi: Mahi Mahi is available year-round, so you can often find it fresh at the fish counter. Whole Foods sells it in pre-cut, individually-wrapped fillets in 2-pound bags in their frozen seafood area.
  • Ginger: Prepared ginger is available in tubes and squeeze bottles in the produce area. However, nothing compares to fresh ginger! This recipe makes fresh ginger easy to use: Peel it, chop it and place it in your food processor as part of the pesto.
  • Macadamia Nuts: Rich in nutrients, Macadamia nuts are tree nuts that have a subtle, butter-like flavor and creamy texture so they’re perfect in pesto. They’re available raw or roasted. For this recipe, I like the full flavor of roasted and salted. Just be careful about adding additional salt.
  • Jalapeno Peppers: Most of the heat is found in the seeds and membranes, so remove them if you don’t care for a lot of heat. If you’re not into hot chili peppers’ heat, leave it out, as the ginger adds a little kick.
  • Canola Oil: Any neutral oil can be used, such as vegetable, grapeseed or avocado.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • While making the pesto, give the mahi mahi a quick soak/brine in water with lime juice and salt.
Two pieces of mahi-mahi in water in glass bowl.
  • Combine the ingredients for the Cilantro-Ginger Pesto in a food processor, then process until smooth.
  • MAKE AHEAD:  The pesto can be made ahead a day ahead of time.  Refrigerate until needed.
  • Remove the mahi mahi from the brine and pat dry.
  • Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat, then drizzle with a bit of oil.
  • Season the mahi mahi with salt and black pepper.
  • Grill the mahi mahi for approximately 4-5 minutes on the first side or until you can see that the edges are turning opaque (the edges look cooked).
  • Flip the fish, then grill another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
Two pieces of mahi-mahi on nonstick grill pan after being grilled.
  • Serve the mahi mahi over jasmine rice topped with the pesto!
  • Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.
  • Easy, easy!!
Two plates of Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro - Ginger Pesto on jasmine rice.
One plate of Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro - Ginger Pesto on jasmine rice.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • I like to place fish in a light, slightly acidic brine for a short period of time–10 to 15 minutes is enough–otherwise, the acid may “cook” the fish. Salt has a powerful chemical ability to retain juices within fish and meat during cooking and the mild acidity will help neutralize anything “fishy” starting to happen.
  • Cilantro can be a pretty persnickety herb with a short refrigerator life. Most cilantro is placed under sprinklers in the grocery store to keep it fresh, but storing it with that moisture or any dirt on it will accelerate its spoilage. Here’s how to extend the life of fresh cilantro:
    • When you first bring it home, wash it thoroughly. Do that by submerging it in a bowl of cold water and let it sit for 30 minutes or so.
    • Remove the cilantro and discard the water. Any dirt will have fallen to the bottom.
    • Rinse the bowl, fill with cool water again and swish the cilantro around.
    • Repeat until you don’t see any more grit at the bottom of the bowl.
    • Vigorously shake it out to remove excess water.
    • Prop the cilantro up in the bowl you used and let it airdry for an hour or so.
    • Fill a jar or glass with fresh water.
    • Trim the bottom stems of the cilantro and place it in the jar/glass.
    • Place a zipper top or another plastic bag over the cilantro and store it in your refrigerator.
    • The clean, dry cilantro should keep for a good week. It also helps to change the water at least once. And, because you have already washed and dried it thoroughly, it will be ready to use when you need it!
Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro - Ginger Pesto in white bowl with a piece cut off with a fork.

Serve with:

More healthy, easy fish recipes!

Get all my delicious, healthy fish and seafood recipes here! Fish and Seafood Recipes – From A Chef’s Kitchen and more healthy-ish dinners at 18 of My Favorite Healthyish Dinners.

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Piece of Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro - Ginger Pesto on a fork.

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Cilantro-Ginger Pesto

5 from 2 votes

Click to Rate!

By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Make a quick culinary escape to the tropics with this light, fresh and healthy Grilled Mahi Mahi with Cilantro-Ginger Pesto! Great for a weeknight or date night, it's ready in about 30 minutes!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Fish and Seafood, Main Course
Cuisine Caribbean
Servings 2
Calories 756 kcal


  • 2 fillets (6-8 ounce) mahi mahi - skinned, bones and bloodline removed
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice - divided, plus more as needed
  • Salt
  • 2 bunches cilantro - thoroughly washed and dried, with stems
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper - seeded if desired
  • 2 tablespoon minced ginger - approximately a 1-inch piece from a thick hand
  • 3 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts - raw or roasted and salted
  • 1/2 cup canola oil - or vegetable oil, plus more for grill pan
  • Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • Hot, cooked jasmine rice - for serving
  • Lime wedges - for serving


  • Place the mahi-mahi in a small bowl and cover with cold tap water. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let that sit for 10 minutes while making the pesto.
  • Combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, macadamia nuts and canola oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Adjust seasoning with additional lime juice and salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Brush a grill pan with canola or vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat.
  • Season the mahi-mahi fillets with salt and black pepper.
  • Place the side that had the skin on the grill pan and cook for 4-5 minutes or until you can see the edges of the fish becoming translucent.
  • Flip the fish and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, being careful to not overcook.
  • Serve over hot, cooked jasmine rice. Spoon the pesto over the fish. Serve with lime wedges on the side.


SUBSTITUTIONS:  Any white flaky fish can be used such as halibut, sea bass, cod, grouper, etc.  Also great with chicken!
MAKE AHEAD:  The pesto can be made ahead 1 day.  Refrigerate until needed.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 756kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 82g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Monounsaturated Fat: 55g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 251mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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