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Student Recipes

Cheap and easy fish with pesto recipe

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In need of some brain food that's cheap, tasty and easy to cook? You can't go far wrong with this terrific fish traybake, served with a pesto crust, vegetables and potatoes.

fillets of cod on ice

Credit: hlphoto - Shutterstock

Fish can seem complicated to cook. Plus, there's a big misconception that nutritious food isn't appetising. But we're about to blow both of these myths right out of the water with our delicious pesto-crusted fish recipe.

Cod and pollock are high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, making them healthy and great for brain food. Either could work, but as pollock was cheaper than cod when we looked, we've used it to calculate the cost of this recipe.

As such, this white fish with pesto recipe can be made for less than £7 and serves four people.

If you have 45 minutes to spare, why not treat yourself to a cheap, nutritious and satisfying dinner?

Don't get us wrong, we'd never shun the classic baked beans on toast – but these seven delicious recipes show just how versatile beans can be.

Baked fish with pesto, vegetables and potatoes recipe


Serves: 4 | Costs: £6.56* (£1.64) | Time taken: 45 mins

  • 520g (around 4) frozen white fish fillets – you could opt for fresh but they'd be more expensive (£2.50)
  • 150g of green pesto (£0.99)
  • 250g of cherry tomatoes (£0.60)
  • 1 large broccoli (£0.72)
  • 700g of baby potatoes (£0.70)
  • 175g of breadcrumbs – we'd recommend buying these as it saves time (£1.00)
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil (£0.05).
This meal is so delicious we've added it to our monthly student meal prep guide!


  1. Before starting this recipe, make sure your fish fillets are fully defrosted. You can do this by placing them in a bowl in their original packaging and leaving the bowl at the bottom of the fridge. Fish typically takes around 68 hours to defrost per lb. Or, if you used a defrost tray, it could defrost much faster.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200°C, gas mark 6, or 180°C if you've got a fan oven.
  3. Peel your potatoes and chop them once down the middle (and once again if you want smaller potatoes).
  4. Toss the potatoes with olive oil so they're thoroughly covered. It helps to use a double-handled colander for this step as it ensures the potatoes are well-coated, without there being too much excess oil.
  5. This is optional, but to avoid your potatoes sticking while they cook, it can help to grease your baking tray. You can do this by dabbing a small amount of oil on some kitchen roll and wiping the tray with it. Spraying on a small amount of oil and wiping it across the tray works too.
  6. Arrange the potatoes on a baking tray so that they're equally spread apart and cook them for 10 minutes in your pre-heated oven.
  7. While the potatoes cook, mix together your breadcrumbs and pesto in a bowl. You may wish to season at this point with salt, pepper and whatever else you choose. Generously press this mixture on top of the fish fillets.
  8. After 10 minutes, remove your potatoes from the oven and turn them over. Make room on the same tray for the fish (it enhances flavour and saves on the washing up – win-win!) and place the tray back in the oven, bringing the temperature down to 180°C, gas mark 4, or 160°C for a fan-assisted oven.
  9. Cook for around 2025 minutes until both your fish and your potatoes are cooked through and piping hot. Pay attention to steps  10 and 11, as you'll need to do them while your potatoes and fish are cooking.
  10. After 10 minutes of cooking the potatoes and fish together, add your tomatoes to the tray. You can add these whole or chopped in half (we'd recommend the latter).
  11. And while these ingredients are cooking, boil your broccoli so it's ready to serve. You should cook the broccoli for around 68 minutes in water that's already boiling. To save time when boiling, preheat your water in a kettle first then add the boiling water to a pan on the heat.
  12. Bring your tray out of the oven, drain your broccoli and serve them together. Enjoy!

It's time to stop living off food that's not satisfying your body, or your tastebuds. This fish with pesto recipe is not only enough to keep you full for the whole evening, but it also tastes great and is simple to make too.

Try this recipe out for yourself and see how easy it is to whip up a really great tasting dinner.

Looking to save money on food? We know of plenty of ways to do just that.

* Prices are correct at the time of writing (using and prices as guidelines).

Jessica Pardoe

WRITTEN BY Jessica Pardoe

Jessica Pardoe's excellent and cost-effective recipes help university students eat healthy meals on a budget.
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