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Recipe for Fried Fish with Fresh Lemon Garlic Pesto (No Carbs!)

fish with pesto Kent & I came up with this fish recipe today and both agreed that it was the best fish we’ve ever had, including what we’ve eaten in restaurants. This is quite amazing, considering we only just recently began eating more fish (Kent never used to like it much), and whenever we tried it in the past, I always bombed miserably. (Read about my very first success with fish fried in tallow.) After making pesto Saturday, we were both still in the mood for more…wait until you take in the aroma, and when you taste it, you’ll be amazed at the perfect blend of flavors with the fish. It’s got ZERO carbs, too! (Something I only just realized, hours after eating it, that’s how good it was.)


  • First we grabbed these herbs from out back:

IMG_36761. A small handful of lemon balm leaves (I LOVE having that and our own mint leaves right in our yard!) – check out all the benefits in these leaves from this Wikipedia link! (If you don’t have any, just omit this and add a couple extra squeezes of lemon juice.) 2. A small handful of parsley. (About 1/2 cup of leaves.) IMG_3672 3. IMG_3655 2 large handfuls of basil. (Sorry for these measurements, but it really doesn’t have to be exact at all.) About 1 1/2 cups of leaves.

  • IMG_3657I ground them up in our mini food processor (in small batches) and then added the following:
    • 1/2 c. olive oil
    • Juice from 1 lemon
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 t. sea salt (if you double the batch, taste it before doubling the salt)

A huge bunch of herbs grinds up to only make this much in the bowl:IMG_3664 But with the other ingredients the amounts were perfect. (More on that below.)

  • Meanwhile, fry fish (find safe, healthy seafood here) in plenty of butter, seasoned with sea salt and pepper. It just hit me – I wonder how this would be baked in a generously buttered pan…this way you wouldn’t have to stand over the stove and you could make more of it for a bigger crowd much more easily. (UPDATE: We tried this with shrimp and it was just as tasty!)
  • Serve the pesto with the fish and dig in!IMG_3668

If you try it, let us know what you think! :) Note: we had about 10 pieces of medium sized Tilapia, and the amount of pesto above was perfect for our family of 6…keep in mind that the three youngest only ate the fish, though. Why is it that kids often can’t get over the color green in their food?

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  1. Oh we love fish. YUM. I always bread my tilapia, but I like the ease of just frying it in butter. And that pesto looks amazing. I must try this!

    So if I don’t have lemon balm or whatever it is, should I squeeze lemon juice in the pesto? Omigosh, I Just re-read and you said that. DUH. Making that this week!

  2. Looks great! I’ll have to try this later this week on the bass my hubby and oldest brought home on Saturday. I’ll pick up the basil form the CSA tomorrow. :)

  3. We love talapia but have a hard time locating some that’s not from China. China and Thailand don’t have clean waterways (for those who haven’t heard it’s sewage infested).

  4. Our costco sells Talapia from South America (hondouras maybe?). I’ve read that south ameican talapia is the next bet thing if you can’t find any from the U.S.

  5. YUM! I would love to invite you to join me for Crock Pot Wednesday at Please come check it out. Thanks so much for posting.

  6. Angie, I know – I looooooooooove it. :)

    I made this again for dinner today but made it with shrimp instead and it was just as tasty!

  7. The fish looks so good! I only wish you could have posted this last week. We just had fish last night and I baked it, if I would have known about your recipe I would have tried it.
    I also haven’t been a big fish eater, but am now liking it more than I used to.

  8. Um…..if you’re reading and haven’t tried this….DO! This is SOOOO delicious! I’m new to the real grass-fed butter thing and WHAT a difference it makes! This is the best fish I have EVER eaten! The pesto is great. I only used the basil, lemon, olive oil, salt, and garlic….and added a bit of parmesan cheese. Oh my goodness…mmmmmmm. Never liked basil much….in this its so good! Try it!!!
    Thanks Kelly! I’m loving your Rookies class!

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