What’s that popular Italian green sauce that starts with a P? That’s right, it’s pesto. This luscious sauce packs a punch of flavors and will easily win anyone over. With the light-tasting sea bass as the main protein, today’s pesto sea bass recipe will make a divine meal.
In less than 45 minutes, you can have tender fish fillets with delicious dairy-free pesto, served alongside roasted potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus.
Is Pesto Sea Bass Healthy?
Yes, it is. Our pesto sea bass is high in protein, rich in vitamins, and a great dairy-free option.
First, one serving of this dish provides a hearty 37 grams of protein, thanks to the sea bass. This popular fish is also amongst the top 12 healthiest fish to eat, according to Healthline.
Next, our dish is packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, thanks to a variety of veggies present in the dish, namely the basil and spinach in the pesto sauce, along with the side potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus.
Lastly, there is no cheese required for the pesto sauce in this recipe, so if you are lactose-intolerant or simply want to leave out some extra fats and calories, this pesto sea bass is your go-to.
Now, let’s check out all the ingredients needed for making this dish.
Ingredients for Pesto Sea Bass
1. For the Sea Bass
Sea bass is famous for having a sweet mild taste and a super tender texture. For this recipe, we use skin-on boneless fillets. While it’s best to go with fresh produce, you can still have frozen ones. Just let them thaw in the fridge’s cooling compartment the night before cooking.
And there is no need to add more seasonings to the sea bass, since the fantastic flavors from the pesto sauce are more than enough to give you great delight.
2. For the Pesto Sauce
While a traditional pesto sauce calls for parmesan cheese as one of the basics, you will be amazed at how this dairy-free version of pesto sauce can still add tons of bright flavors to your sea bass. Here are the 8 ingredients you need to whip it up:
Basil: Any pesto sauce is basil-based. This aromatic herb adds an awesome citrusy flavor to our sauce and gives it a refreshing minty taste.
Spinach: Spinach adds to the herbal flavor and the grassy taste of our pesto.
Shallot: Compared to onions, shallots are much milder and more refined in taste, which makes them a wonderful sauce ingredient.
Pine nuts: Like basil, pine nuts are a pesto must-have. We use raw pine nuts in this recipe. They have a mildly sweet and buttery taste. You can also toast them to bring out that deep nutty taste.
Stick with pine nuts if you love how they taste in a traditional pesto sauce, but feel free to opt for other alternatives such as cashew nuts or almonds for a switch of flavor.
Lemon juice: Light and refreshing, a few drops of lemon juice further brightens up our pesto sauce.
Garlic: Garlic adds a pungent kick to the green mix, boosting its flavor and fragrance.
Salt: A pinch of salt to taste.
Olive oil: For this recipe, we use cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil.
3. For the Side Vegetables
The hearty combination of potatoes, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes gives our dish a burst of colors and a bunch of textures.
The potatoes are seasoned with olive oil, parsley, and pepper for a touch of flavor. Plus, the combination of sweet, juicy cherry tomatoes and tender-crisp asparagus makes our pesto sea bass all the more enjoyable and refreshing.
Make-Ahead, Storage, and Reheating
Pesto sauce is great for making ahead. You can whip up the sauce beforehand, then place it in a glass jar sealed with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge. It should stay good for about 2 to 3 days before cooking.
If you have leftover pesto sea bass, you can store it in airtight containers and refrigerate. The dish can keep well for up to 2 days.
For reheating, you can either microwave it at high heat for 1 minute or place it in a preheated oven and cook at 450°F for 5 to 10 minutes.
What to Serve with Pesto Sea Bass
Our fulfilling pesto sea bass works great with a multitude of refreshing salads. Here are some fantastic salad recipes to pair with the dish:
Remove leftover tiny bones in the sea bass fillets. Touch to see if there are any tiny bones left, then use a tweezer to pluck them out. You don’t need to wash the fillets if you buy packaged ones. If you use frozen fillets, let them thaw before cooking.
Peel and cut the potatoes: Wash the potatoes, then peel off the skin. Cut each potato in half, then into quarters or one-eighths (depending on its size) to make 1-inch cubes.
Remove the asparagus ends and trim their stems: Wash the asparagus, cut off their woody ends, then trim off the tough outer layer of each stem, which is about halfway from the end.
Quarter and slice the shallot: Trim off both ends of the shallot, peel off the skin, wash clean, then pat dry. Cut the shallot in half lengthwise before cutting each half into halves again. Hold two small halves together and cut them into slices.
Finely chop the parsley.
Microwave the potatoes: Add 20 oz potato cubes to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, then microwave at high temperature for 10 minutes. While waiting for the potatoes to cook, continue with the next steps.
Boil the basil and spinach: Bring water to a boil in a skillet, then add 1 oz spinach and 1 oz basil. Stir well for 30 seconds.
Soak the greens in cold water: Plunge the boiled basil and spinach into a bowl with water and ice, and let sit for 30 seconds.
Squeeze to drain water from the greens: Use your hands to gently squeeze out the water from the veggies, then transfer to a bowl.
Make the pesto sauce: Add the basil and spinach to a food processor, then add 0.5 oz shallot, 1 oz pine nuts, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 garlic cloves, 3/4 tsp salt, and 4 tbsp olive oil. Mix well.
Season the microwaved potatoes: Take out the potatoes from the microwave and scatter them on a parchment-lined sheet. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, then add 2 tbsp parsley and 1/2 tsp pepper. Toss well to coat evenly, then bake at 475°F for 10 minutes.
Add the asparagus and cherry tomatoes: Take out the baking sheet, move the potatoes to one half of the sheet, and place the asparagus on the other half with the cherry tomatoes in a line down the middle.
Add the sea bass with the pesto sauce: Place four sea bass fillets horizontally at the center, then cover the fillets’ surface with the pesto sauce.
Bake in the oven at 450°F for 20 minutes.
Garnish and serve!
How to Make Pesto Sea Bass
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 492Calories from Fat 231
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 4.1g
Vitamin A 2226IU
Vitamin C 36mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
This pesto sea bass was packed full of flavor with every bite! The fish stayed juicy and tender, making us eager for more in the future.