This baked cod with pesto is a fun and healthy recipe packed with flavour from the pesto. Simple to make, it uses frozen fish from the freezer, making it perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.
Fish always feels like a healthy meal and I enjoy adding lots of flavour to elevate it a little further. My Italian herb crusted cod and sweet potato fish cakes both make the most of herbs and spices.
This pesto cod has the best flavourful crust, and I've linked some pesto recipes below to enjoy with this recipe. Pair with salads, potato dishes or rice to balance it out with some vegetables and carbs. It's so good for a family dinner!
Why this recipe is so good
Packed with flavour. With its garlic and herbs, pesto makes for a very flavourful crust for this fish dish.
Versatile. Use your own pesto, or one of the recipes linked below. Plus you can pair with sides of your choice!
Super easy to make. Just a couple of simple steps, nothing fiddly, and you have a family fish dinner!
The recipes uses ingredients that I always think of as 'shopping list staples', those foods that are typically in my fridge and freezer. You will need:
- Cod - we use frozen cod in this recipe as it often to hand in the freezer for most of us.
- Pesto ingredients - there is a recipe in the card below and more ideas linked here below too.
Variations on the recipe
If you don't have cod, then I have used pollock to make this recipe and it turned out great!
You can of course always use your favourite pesto for this baked cod, or one of my many pesto recipes:
Dairy-free pumpkin seed pesto (in the recipe card below)
Step by step instructions
The beauty of this baked cod is that it is a one pan meal. Or perhaps two pans if you are making the pesto too . . .
Make the pesto if you are using a homemade pesto, combining ingredients in a blender to get a thick paste-like consistency.
Cover the fish with a piece of aluminium foil to help it cook through and bake for 20 minutes (I put the foil over the fish after the photo was taken!).
Take the dish out of the oven and remove the foil from the fish. Spoon the pesto onto the cod and pat it down a little to form a topping / crust. You may have some pesto leftover for another dish depending on the amount you like to use for the crust here. Return the tray to the oven and cook for a further 20-25 minutes until the fish is thoroughly cooked through. The fish should be white throughout.
- Use frozen plain cod (or other white fish) rather than a type that has already been flavoured in some way.
- While the amount of pesto is optional, I would suggest using 2-3 tablespoon per cod fillet, depending upon their size. Don't worry about making them look perfect - a bit rustic is good!
- The cod should be white throughout and easily be flaked with a fork before serving.
- My low histamine readers will be better off taking the fish straight from the freezer to the oven rather than letting it sit on the counter, as this can lead to histamine formation (see the SIGHI information on fish for more details).
Frequently asked questions
You can use other white fish that is suitable for you. I've made this recipe with pollock, which was delicious.
It really depends on your personal preference how much pesto you use. Some like just a little, others a thicker crust.
The pesto shouldn't burn when cooking for 20 minutes, but if it looks as though it is going too dry then cover with some foil until the fish is cooked through.
How to serve
This cod pesto dish can be served with a variety of sides - so choose whichever you fancy!
More fish recipes to enjoy
Find lots of flavourful ideas on my fish dishes page, or see the more recent recipes below for another dinner option!
Baked cod with pesto
- 2 cod fillets frozen
For the pesto
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic optional
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil more for a looser pesto
- pinch pink himalayan salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
- Begin by making the pesto. Add all the ingredients except the olive oil to a food processor and blend so they are chopped. Slowly add the olive oil. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times. Blend until you have the consistency of your choice - personally I prefer it be chunkier for this recipe so it forms more of a crust on the fish.
- Place the fish in an ovenproof dish and cover with a piece of aluminium foil to help it cook through. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Take the dish out of the oven and remove the foil from the fish. Spoon the pesto onto the fish and pat it down a little to form a topping / crust. You may have some pesto leftover for another dish depending on the amount you like to use for the crust here. Return the dish to the oven and cook for a further 20-25 minutes until the fish is thoroughly cooked through.
- Use 2-3 tablespoon of pesto per cod fillet to form a crust.
- If the pesto looks as though it is getting too dry, cover with aluminium foil until the cod is cooked through.
- Make sure the fish is white throughout and can easily be flaked with a fork before serving.
- If you are low histamine, then it is best to take the cod straight from the freezer to the oven. Leaving it on the counter will lead to histamine formation if you are sensitive to it.
- If you prefer not to use cod, then I've also made this dish with pollock which was equally delicious!
Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI)All ingredients rate as a 0 on the SIGHI list, with the exception of:
- garlic, which rates as a 1. This can be omitted.
- apple cider vinegar, which rates as a 1. If you are sensitive then white distilled vinegar rates as a 0 on SIGHI.