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This oven-baked pesto cod recipe is such an easy, healthy, and tasty dinner idea. It’s both dairy-free + gluten-free, and packed with protein + healthy fats. All you need are 6 simple ingredients and 30-minutes to make it, too!

Baked pesto cod on a plate of quinoa.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am all for quick, easy, and nutritious dinners around here! This baked pesto cod recipe is no different 🙂

Cod and pesto pair so deliciously together, and both are so easy to prepare. This recipe goes great with a side of whole grains, pasta, or potatoes – I’ve shared some serving ideas to make this a complete meal below! It’s an awesome dish all year long, perfect for pairing with different sides depending on the season.

As a dietitian, I’m happy to share that cod is packed with nutrition benefits, like lean protein, B-vitamins, and selenium. The homemade pesto is full of greens and heart-healthy fats as well. I hope you enjoy this easy dinner idea as much as I did!

Recipe ingredients on a wood cutting board.

Recipe Ingredients & Swaps

All you need to make this baked cod recipe are 6 simple ingredients:

  • cod fillets: I like using fresh Atlantic cod, but Pacific cod works well too! If you can’t find cod, you can use another white fish, such as halibut.
  • fresh basil: this is for the pesto, but you can also use a combination of other leafy greens, like spinach, kale, or arugula!
  • nuts or seeds of choice: you can make this pesto with hemp seeds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, etc.
  • nutritional yeast or parmesan: use nutritional yeast for a dairy-free option
  • olive oil
  • garlic

NOTE: while I love making my own pesto at home (it’s super quick + easy), you can also use store-bought pesto for this recipe if you’d prefer.

Full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions are located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!

Baked pesto cod fillets on a white serving tray.

Tips For Making This Recipe

  1. How long to bake cod? At 400F, cod will cook in the oven rather quickly! Depending on the thickness of your fish, it will be cooked in about 12-15 minutes. If you’re baking the cod in one whole piece (rather than in smaller portions), then you’ll want to aim for at least 15 (up to 20) minutes.
  2. How to know when cod is done? To check if your cod is cooked, take a fork to the thickest part of the fish. It should flake easily, revealing an opaque + white fish, rather than a translucent or raw appearance.
  3. To save time, make the pesto while the cod is cooking in the oven, rather than before!
  4. I prefer adding the pesto to the fish after it’s baked in the oven, rather than before. I’ve tested it both ways and find this way cooks the best!

What To Serve With Pesto Cod

As this crusted cod recipe is a delicious mix of protein (from the fish) and healthy fats (from the pesto), I would recommend serving it with a type of starch and some veggies to make a complete meal!

Some starch ideas:

Some non-starchy veggie ideas:

TIP: you can make some extra pesto and serve it over the rest of your dish, too. It tastes SO good stirred into whole grains or (of course) pasta! Depending on the size of your fish, you may also find that you have enough pesto leftover to add to the rest of your meal 🙂

Homemade pesto blended in a food processor.

Cod Nutrition Benefits

Cod is an excellent source of complete protein. A 3-ounce serving packs in 19 grams.

Both Atlantic and Pacific cod are also good sources of B-vitamins, like:

  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin B6
  • niacin

Cod is also rich in minerals like:

  • selenium
  • phosphorus

While it may not contain as high amounts as fattier fish (like salmon), cod is still a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids! Plus, if you make the pesto recipe with hemp seeds or walnuts, you’ll get some of those omega-3s in that way, too 🙂

Baked pesto cod on a plate of quinoa.

More Easy Seafood Dinners

Did you give this Baked Pesto Cod Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!

If you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Pinterest – seeing your creations always makes my day. You can also subscribe to my email list to never miss a new recipe or nutrition education post!

Get the Recipe: Baked Pesto Cod (30-Minute Recipe)

This oven-baked pesto cod recipe is such an easy, healthy, and tasty dinner idea. It's packed with protein and healthy fats. All you need are 6 simple ingredients and 30-minutes to make it, too!
Baked pesto cod on a plate of quinoa.
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Ingredients

  • 4x 4-6 ounce cod fillets (I like using fresh Atlantic cod)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (to brush cod)
  • Salt + pepper, to taste
  • Optional: lemon juice, to serve

Homemade Pesto:

  • 2 cups basil (standard 1 oz or 28 gram package)
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (see notes for alternatives)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast (or parmesan)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt + pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Place cod fillets in a large baking dish or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush fish with approx. 1 Tbsp of olive oil, dividing evenly among fillets. Season with salt + pepper.
  • Place cod in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. If your cod is on the thinner side, you may choose to cook it about 12 minutes. The fish should be opaque and flake easily when done.
  • While the cod cooks, make the pesto by adding all pesto ingredients into a food processor. Blend until a paste forms, adjusting seasonings as desired.
  • Remove fish from oven. Serve + top each fillet with pesto. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice overtop (if desired). Enjoy!

Notes

*LEFTOVERS & REHEATING:
  • Leftover fish should be eaten within 1-3 days of cooking
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge
  • Leftovers can easily be reheated in the microwave or in the oven, or even enjoyed cold (e.g. you can add leftover cold fish to top a salad the next day!)
 
*RECIPE MODIFICATIONS:
  • Feel free to make this recipe with different kinds of fish – you could do another white fish, like halibut, haddock, or sablefish…or even salmon or trout. Simply make note of the thickness of the fish and adjust the cooking time accordingly 🙂
  • In place of hemp seeds, you could also use sunflower seeds, pine nuts, walnuts, or pistachios. If using walnuts, aim for 1/3 of a cup rather than 1/4 cup.
  • You can use parmesan in place of nutritional yeast (if you eat dairy). Please note that nutritional yeast is NOT the same as baker’s yeast – it has a delicious cheesy flavour!
  • In place of basil, you can use other leafy greens (or a combination) to make the pesto. Ones like spinach, kale, or arugula will work.
  • While I love making my own pesto at home (it’s super quick + easy), you can also use store-bought pesto for this recipe if you’d prefer.
 
*SERVING IDEAS: As this pesto cod recipe is a delicious mix of protein and healthy fats, I would recommend serving it with a type of starch and some veggies to make a complete meal!
  • Some starch ideas:
    Some non-starchy veggie ideas:
    TIP: you can make some extra pesto and serve it over the rest of your dish, too. It tastes SO good stirred into whole grains or (of course) pasta! Depending on the size of your fish, you may also find that you have enough pesto leftover to add to the rest of your meal 🙂

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @walderwellness on Instagram. I love seeing your beautiful creations!

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Pinterest graphic for a baked pesto cod recipe.
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