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Tilapia en Papillote
with artichoke-spinach pesto and roasted cauliflower

Active: 30 minTotal: 40 min
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Baking fish en papillote is one of my favorite ways to ensure tender and juicy fish every single time. Bake fish in foil for a weeknight or dress it up for a dinner party by making parchment paper packets. The fish is accompanied by an artichoke-spinach pesto which will last the remainder of the week adding a bit of green to our St. Patty's Day menu. The vegetarian version is a chickpea pasta with this pesto. (Please ignore the potatoes in the tilapia photo. We had a little photography mix-up!)


Tilapia en Papillote:
  • Tilapia - 4 fillets
  • Parchment paper or tin foil
  • Homemade artichoke-spinach pesto - 1/2 cup ((ingredients listed separately))
  • Lemon - 1/2, wedges
Artichoke-Spinach Pesto:
  • Artichoke hearts - 1 can, drained
  • Baby spinach - 4 cups ((loosely packed))
  • Garlic - 2 cloves, peeled
  • Walnuts - 1/4 cup
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Olive oil - 1/2 cup
Roasted Cauliflower with Walnuts and Parmesan:
  • Cauliflower - 1 head, chopped
  • Olive oil - 2 Tbsp
  • Parmesan cheese - 2 oz, grated
  • Walnuts - 1/4 cup, crushed

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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  1. Cauliflower - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  2. Make pesto - Place all pesto ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until thickened. If it's not 'saucy' enough, add more olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Portion out the pesto amount you need for tonight's dinner, and save the rest for Wednesday and Thursday.
  3. Parchment paper or foil - Tear out 4 sheets, about 18" (45 cm) wide. For parchment paper, stack, fold in half, and then cut into angular heart shapes (diagram below or see video). If you’re using foil, there’s no need to do this.


  1. Preheat oven to 425F (218C) degrees.
  2. Spread out chopped cauliflower onto a sheet pan and toss in olive oil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until cauliflower is golden brown, giving it a shake midway through.
  3. While cauliflower is roasting, rinse and dry tilapia with paper towels. Place tilapia fillet onto one half of foil or parchment sheet. Spread ¼ of the artichoke-spinach pesto onto fillet. Fold foil or parchment over to enclose fish. Crimp the edges of the foil to form a tight seal or fold the edges of the parchment. Repeat for rest of fillets. Refer to our en papillote video to see how folding is done. This could also be a fun kids activity too.
  4. Place finished fish packets onto a separate sheet pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Give the pan of cauliflower a shake while the oven’s open.
  5. Slice lemon into wedges. Sprinkle roasted cauliflower with parmesan and walnuts. Enjoy fish with lemon wedges and roasted cauliflower.

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This meal has 33 reviews

One of the best Cooksmart meals!

By: Jena
Posted: Jan 29, 2018
Diet: Original

I think I liked this a little more than my husband did, but I thought the pesto was a really bright addition to the mild fish and the cauliflower. I would probably use a little less pesto next time just because it was a lot per piece of fish.

By: Mallory
Posted: May 26, 2014
Diet: Original

This pesto is AMAZING. We put it on everything we ate the rest of the week! So good on grilled cheese, tuna melts, salads, yum.

By: Katie
Posted: May 17, 2014
Diet: Original

Wow!!! This would be easy to make for a bigger group too. Cooked for 14 mins was perfect.

By: Carson
Posted: Apr 11, 2014
Diet: Original

First time making fish this way and glad I learned! So simple, easy and delicious!

By: Delilah
Posted: Apr 08, 2014
Diet: Original

The spinach pesto was a fun twist on an old theme and the use of chickpeas with pasta was absolutely delicious. We LOVE roasted cauliflower.

By: Cara
Posted: Mar 24, 2014
Diet: Vegetarian