Mar 21, 2021

Grilled Squid with Cilantro Parsley Pesto Sauce

Heads-up! We're going to have leftover pesto after making this recipe. What I'll do is that either grill more seafood later on and serve with the sauce, or make sure the pesto is covered with enough olive oil then store in the fridge up to couple weeks. But you know what? Instead of saving this pesto sauce to other grilled ingredients, I actually made a steamed dish days after.

What I've done was simply dump all the leftover pesto to a big container, mixed in some hearty Asian mushrooms, the white and long variety, along with chicken tenders. You can also throw in some semi-firm tofu if preferred. That's it, nothing else, no extra salt, no additional aromatics, then I just let it steamed till the chicken has been fully cooked through. The end result was juicier than I expected, I guess all that olive oil going on in the pesto has something to do with it. Easy prepping and definitely effortless cleaning afterwards.

Grilled squid with cilantro parsley pesto sauce -


  • 1 squid
  • Few lemon wedges
  • Some olive oil
  • 1 to 2 red chilies (optional)


  • 1 small bundle cilantro
  • 1 small bundle parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Some olive oil


Destem the red chilies. Roll the chilies in order to loosen the seeds inside. Dump the seeds, you might need to squeeze the chili skin to get all the seeds out. Cut the red chilies into rings. 

Peel the garlic cloves. Cut the lemon into wedges.

Take a food processor, add in 1 small bundle of cilantro, 1 small bundle of parsley, garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of salt, and about 1/4 cup of olive oil first. Blend till smooth. Drizzle more olive oil over if the mixture appears too dry. You can keep blending while adding the olive oil at the same time. 

Once done, scoop out this simple pesto sauce and set aside for later use.

Prep and clean the squid. Remember to remove the membrane and innards. 

Brush some olive oil to the grill pan and turn to medium high heat. Once warmed up, transfer the squid over. Leave it undisturbed for a little bit in order to get some nice grill marks. Then flip and continue to cook the other side. Cook till grill marks present on both sides, also slightly charred the tentacles.

Remove the squid from heat and cut into smaller pieces. I intended to plate the squid with its original shape. If doing so, after cutting, use the side of the knife to safely transfer the squid "as a whole" to the plate. Pour over some cilantro parsley pesto sauce over. Lastly, garnish with red chili rings and serve with couple lemon wedges on the side.

So on top of my steamed food suggestion for the leftover pesto, you can also mix it with thin pasta, such as angle hair. If doing so, you might want to kick up the amount of salt used. 

There're so many ways to utilize pesto sauce, don't be scared, just have some fun and be creative, it's pretty hard to go mess up such versatile dressing.

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