Pesto Fish Roll-Ups

Fish is super healthy, so good for our hearts experts tell us.  So we’re all adding more fish to our diets . . . or maybe not?  I’m guilty of not serving fish to my family as often as I should because 1) I prefer other forms of protein and 2) it makes my house smell, well . . . fishy.  I’ve failed . . . or have I?  Now that most of my kids are young adults I’ve noticed how they really enjoy fish.  They all eat salmon, shell fish and more mild fish like cod, flounder and tilapia.  That’s good because they didn’t necessarily pick that up from me.  Good lesson learned: Just because you don’t serve it at home doesn’t mean they’re not going to like it later on in life.  So keep serving a variety of foods, flavors, textures so that kids can get used to new things.  And like what I didn’t do, serve fish fairly often.

I think you’re going to really like this fish dish.  It’s made with this Fresh Basil Pesto I posted a while back.  The pesto uses fresh basil which is readily available year-round in the produce section next to the tomatoes (at least in my local grocery stores).  It’s a wonderful recipe, but you can also use bottled or pre-made fresh pesto (usually found near the fresh pasta).

I like to use relatively flat cod fillets because they roll-up pretty well.  Start by speading basil pesto across the top of a three to four-ounce fillet.  Then top with a small bundle of grated carrots.  Roll this up and secure with a toothpick.  Repeat with the rest of the fish fillets.  Then brush the rolls with olive oil and press a mixture of Japanese panko crumbs, chopped pecans, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper onto the tops of each roll.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or so until the crust is browned and crusty.

Cod is not a high fat fish as compared to salmon or trout so it doesn’t boast as much of the omega-3 fatty acids that are so heart-healthy.  But the basil pesto and the crusty topping add not only terrific flavor, but also more of the heart-healthy type oils from olive oil and the nuts.  The fish is tasty and doesn’t smell fishy, especially if you cook the fresh fish within a day of purchasing it from your local butcher.  That’s a big problem solved right there.  I like to serve with a rice pilaf and a big green salad like this Citrus Kale Slaw with Orange Balsamic Dressing.

Pesto Fish Roll-Ups

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

  • Pesto Fish Roll-Ups
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 (4-ounce) fish fillets, such as flounder, tilapia or cod
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto (homemade Fresh Basil Pesto or bottled)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Rinse and pat dry fish fillets. Spread one side of each fillet with a tablespoon of basil pesto. Arrange 1 Tbsp shredded carrot over the basil.  Roll up starting on the short side. Secure with toothpicks. Place seam side down in prepared baking dish.  Brush with olive oil.
  3. Combine pecans, panko bread crumbs, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Press the crumb mixture onto the top of each fish roll. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork and the topping is browned and crusty.


You might also enjoy:

Maple Walnut-Crusted Salmon






Grilled Halibut with Sun-Dried Tomato Tapanade






Grilled Talapia with Papaya Salsa


Leave a Reply