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Tilapia with Cilantro-Walnut Pesto

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

Garlicky, lemony cilantro pesto punches up the flavor of mild white fish such as tilapia, cod, or haddock


  • 1-3/4 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1 lemon, half squeezed to yield 1-1/2 Tbs. juice, half cut into wedges
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tilapia or other firm white fish fillets (about 1 lb. total)
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 350
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 250
  • Fat (g): 28
  • Saturated Fat (g): 7
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15
  • Cholesterol (mg): 70
  • Sodium (mg): 270
  • Carbohydrates (g): 2
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 24


  • In a mini food processor or blender, combine the cilantro, 1/4 cup of the oil, the walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, a few grinds of pepper, and 3 Tbs. water. Process until mostly smooth; set aside.
  • Pat the fish dry and season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
  • Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and 1 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the butter melts and its foam subsides. Cook 2 of the fillets, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a platter, cover, and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining fish and 1 Tbs. butter, adjusting the heat as necessary.
  • Serve the fish with the pesto and lemon wedges.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • User avater
    Maya_B | 07/03/2016

    So simple and SO GOOD!! fresh and perfect.

  • mmeckstr | 03/06/2015

    I normally do not like fish but I devour the tilapia everytime I make this! It is so good! I make this almost once a week. Perfect for weeknights. I think it's the first recipe I've made that does not require ANY mincing or chopping :-)

  • sernst | 03/09/2014

    Very tasty and easy. I often buy tilapia and am always looking for new ways to cook it. I like this simple idea of just pan frying it and adding a zesty pesto. I usually have cilantro and walnuts and everything else on hand so putting it together was a breeze. This dish also offers that great kid-friendly choice of sauce or not. Definitely will make again.

  • nroue | 12/31/2013

    The pesto sauce is excellent! I seared some scallops and used this sauce, and they were amazing. I have passed this recipe along to others who have also tried it and loved it. It goes well with any seafood: fish, scallops or shrimp.

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