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Low Calorie Dinner – Lean Pesto Tilapia [+Video]


This pesto tilapia is tender, flaky and so fresh with that delicious basil pesto on top. The perfect light and healthy meal for a busy weeknight.

I’ve always said that I don’t eat fish, so clearly I’m here today to bring you a delicious Pesto Tilapia. And I’m serious, it’s delicious. But! I will deny it if you tell my husband. He will then think he has to make me eat even more seafood, and I still just can’t do it. I really do hate it. Man, I wish I didn’t, and I am trying to like seafood. I have come around to like a few salmon recipes. My latest favorite is our teriyaki salmon rice bowl.

How to Make Pesto Tilapia Video

In fact, I was kind of chuckling to myself the other day that I even have a seafood section on the site here. I mean, there are so few recipes in there. But I’m working on it! You don’t have to be a genius to figure out my preferred tastes there do ya. And this all got me thinking, I love food, and people know that, but there’s a ton we don’t know about each other. SOOOOO, I think we should chat…

a photo of a fork cutting into a flaky filet of tilapia topped with bright green pesto sauce

5 Things You May Not Know About Me

  1. I hate being called, Carr. I’ll probably never admit it to your face because I hate that it makes people feel bad, but I cringe when people call me that.
  2. I played the flute and piccolo from ages 10-19, and then I stopped and I haven’t played since. It’s one of my biggest regrets ever. I wish I’d gone ahead and studied music in school like I had always planned until my senior year of high school
  3. I have a fear of falling and knocking my teeth out. True story. I pinch my mouth closed when walking down stairs etc. as if it’s actually going to protect them or something. So ironic now since I did knock my teeth out about a year ago. Have you read about the bike crash? What a nightmare!
  4. I worked on a proposal for the World Health Organization for Breast Feeding and it was accepted. This was concerning the under 5 mortality rate, helping to teach women to breastfeed, teach others to breastfeed, and keep a working system in place where women in the village meet together often and help other women succeed in caring for their infants.
  5. I sleep on the right side of my bed, always have and always will. My husband thinks it’s ridiculous that I can’t sleep on the left side, but it’s fact, I can’t.
a photo of two golden tilapia filets topped with pesto and sitting on a bed of quinoa with a side of cherry tomatoes

Ingredients for Pesto Tilapia

Ok, back to this tasty tilapia dish! You’ll only need 4 ingredients for this easy seafood recipe. Here is your grocery shopping list:

  • Tilapia Filets: We use the frozen ones from Costco but you can absolutely use fresh.
  • Olive Oil: Used to sear the pesto fillets.
  • BBQ Rub: We are obsessed with the Meat Church Honey Hog BBQ Rub, but you can use your favorite BBQ rub or make your own at home. We have a great BBQ rub as well!
  • Pesto: You can make your own or use store-bought.

The measurements for each ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

How to Make Pesto Tilapia

You will only need 15 minutes to make this low fat tilapia recipe! I love a quick and easy healthy meal! Here are the basic steps:

  1. Prep: Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Rub: Drizzle olive oil evenly over each filet and sprinkle with the BBQ rub. Flip the filets over and repeat on the other side.
  3. Sear: Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add a little more olive oil. Once shimmering, add the fish and cook for about 2 minutes until golden and flip.
  4. Bake: Top with a spoonful of pesto sauce and spread it over the filet. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.
    • NOTE: I added some fresh pesto after baking for these photos so it looks brighter green than it will after you bake it.
  5. Serve: Serve over multi color quinoa with a side of cherry tomatoes.

These instructions can also be found in the recipe card down below. Keep scrolling for the complete recipe!

a photo of a fork flaking off a bite of tender tilapia covered with pesto sauce on top of tri colored quinoa.

Is Tilapia Good for You?

Tilapia is not as heart-healthy as fatty fish like salmon because of its low omega-3 levels. But, Tilapia is a very good source of protein. A 3.5 ounces serving of tilapia has 26 grams of protein and only 128 calories.

Tilapia is also rich in niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium and potassium.

What is Pesto?

Pesto is a sauce made of crushed basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. It is served with pasta or as a dip or sauce.

a photo of two golden seared tilapia filets topped with pesto and served on top of multicolored tilapia.

Why Does Tilapia Taste Muddy?

The dirty or muddy taste that can occur in tilapia comes from microorganisms in the water where the fish was raised.

Try marinating the filets in lemon juice or white vinegar for 30 or more minutes. Pat dry before proceeding with the recipe.

How Long Will Pesto Tilapia Keep?

Tilapia doesn’t keep for very long. If you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it will keep for up to 2 days.

a photo of two tilapia filets topped with pesto sauce on a bed of multicolored quinoa

If you are looking for a low calorie, lean and healthy meal that is still loaded with flavor, then this pesto tilapia recipe is a must try! And it only takes 15 minutes to get dinner on the table!

More Seafood Recipes:

Servings: 2 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Description

This pesto tilapia is tender, flaky and so fresh with that delicious basil pesto on top. The perfect light and healthy meal for a busy weeknight.

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

  • Drizzle olive oil evenly over each filet of fish and sprinkle with BBQ rub. Flip and repeat.

    2 Tilapia Filets, 1 Tablespoon Meat Church Honey Hog BBQ Rub, Olive Oil

  • Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add a little more olive oil. Once shimmering, add the fish.

  • Cook for about 2 minutes until golden and flip.

  • Top with a spoonful of pesto sauce and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

  • Serve over multi color quinoa.

    1/2 Cup Prepared Pesto

You can actually bake these filets frozen. No need to even let them defrost if you don’t have time, though you may want to add a few extra minutes onto the baking time.
Cover and store left overs in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

Serving: 1filetCalories: 409kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 37gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 669mgPotassium: 527mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1303IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 137mgIron: 2mg

Author: Sweet Basil

Course: 100 Family Favorite Easy Healthy Recipes

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