Dinner doesn’t get easier than these lemon pesto fish fillets!
Sometimes I want to make fish but I don’t want all of the fuss that sometimes comes with some of my seafood creations. I don’t know what it is about fish that triggers something in my head that says I have to make a sauce or lots of sides, but it really doesn’t need to be that way. I created this recipe on one of those nights that I was hungry and wanted to eat fast. It was mid-week and the cod at the market looked really good, so I bought it. When I was deciding what to do with it, I stood in front of my open fridge and peered inside. This is a bad habit of mine — I just stand there hoping for ingredients that don’t exist to appear…
But, on this particular day, I saw a container filled with a beautifully green fresh pesto that I forgot I had. Two days earlier, I was at the farmers’ market and there was a vendor selling all different kinds of the most amazingly delicious fresh pestos. I bought it thinking I was really going to use it as a dip, but when I saw it, it was like a lightbulb went on over my head and this simple recipe jumped into my brain.
The pesto I used was a vegan kale, arugula, and basil pesto, but you can use any kind of pesto you like.
The bright flavor of the pesto and the lemon juice and grated lemon peels make this dish taste like spring.
So, don’t wait until you feel like cooking to make these lemon pesto fish fillets! They can be made any night you have 15 minutes to spare!
And, for the next time you want an easy fish recipe, try my simple Perfect Baked Fish recipe.
Here are some nutrition facts for this recipe:
Fish is great to eat if you feel like you need more energy. It’s also helps with diarrhea and hemorrhoids. I used cod for this recipe, but almost any fish would be delicious with this preparation and creamy mustard sauce. Red Snapper, like many fish varieties, is good for the cardiovascular system; it helps protect against heart attacks and strokes and can help regulate blood pressure. It’s also very low in calories… so have a nice big piece! (Please, avoid farm-raised fish and those varieties with a high amount of mercury.)
Kale is everywhere these days. I kind of got a little tired of just eating it in salads, so I now use it inside of different dishes, like here in this pesto (if you make your own pesto, just toss some kale leaves in with the basil). It is extremely nutritious, and because it is so popular you can find it already washed and prepared in lots of markets, and it’s in so many prepared dishes now, like pestos, salsas, and sauces. I bought my pesto for this dish already made and packed in a container; it seems to be the in-thing at farmers’ markets this season! Kale is a great source of fiber and calcium. It’s also rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium. One serving contains 200% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C and 180% of Vitamin A.
Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (yes, really), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.
Arugula has a good amount of calcium and it also contains vitamins A, C and K. It is rich in potassium and it’s extra beneficial in the summer because it actually cools the body down. This delicious peppery green is also believed to be a libido booster. One of the first things I learned when I started really taking care of my health through proper nutrition, was to substitute dark greens for lighter greens whenever possible. One of the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest switches you can make is to swap out some of your lighter salad greens for peppery, dark arugula.
Lemon peels contain calcium, potassium and vitamin C. Lemons are good for your stomach, they help detoxify your body, they balance your pH and they act as an antibacterial. If you have a sore throat or a cough, go for lemons to make things better. Lemons are great for quenching your thirst, and, in China, many years ago, hypertension was treated by drinking tea made from lemon peels.
- 1 lb fish fillets, cut into 4 pieces (I used cod, but use whatever looks fresh at the market)
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper
- 2 lemons: 1 juiced and zested; the other sliced
- about ¾ cup pesto (any variety you like -- I used a vegan kale, basil, arugula pesto)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Grease a baking sheet with the oil.
- Season the fish with salt and pepper.
- Lay the lemon slices on the bottom of the baking sheet.
- Arrange the fish on top of the lemon slices.
- Spread the pesto over the fish fillets.
- Squeeze the lemon over the pesto.
- Roast the fish in the oven until the centers flake easily with a fork (mine took 15 minutes, but yours may be different)
- Remove the fish from the oven and sprinkle the lemon zest over.