Parmesan Pesto Tilapia

Parmesan pesto tilapia on a plate with a fork.

Five ingredient recipes. I ♥ them.

One of my first and still favorite cookbooks is the Fresh Food Fast cookbook by Cooking Light. It features page after page after page of healthy, easy recipes with small ingredient lists and hardly any prep time. I used to be embarrassed about liking it because it was seriously the easiest cookbook ever and I have a blog and I have to act fancy and stuff. But you know what? Spoiler alert: I’m actually not fancy, at all. There is no shame in making the cooking process realistic and simple so that you actually… um… do it.

Grated cheese on a cutting board.

About a week after we got to the Philippines, I found the sequel to that cookbook called Fresh Food Superfast in a little bookstore at the mall.

I was still in that phase where you have to either buy or take a picture of every familiar thing that you find anywhere. So two seconds later I had paid a million and a half dollars because apparently that’s the going rate for thick, full page picture cookbooks in the Philippines? and was walking out the door already dreaming of the great recipes that would come from this book. Bjork makes fun of me when I use it because I look like some sort of 5-ingredient recipe graduate level scholar. It’s a HUGE cookbook. Definitely worth the million and a half dollars.

I love it so much that it’s worth personally carrying all five pounds of it home across the ocean. Yep, I’m that girl.

Green basil pesto in a jar.

It’s also worth making these recipes five days before moving when I have two measuring cups, a kitchen scissors, and a few paper plates left in my kitchen. ?!?! Or not. Sometimes I am not very good at being rational.

I just have one thing real quick. UK friends, can you tell me about this Waitrose? Is it a brand? A store? Both? I have now bought four Waitrose items from my local Filipino grocery store and I am over the moon in love with all four things: the apple chutney from the apple quinoa salad, ginger beer, gummy babies (definitely creepy and yet soooo ridiculously good), and this lovely pesto that I piled on my tilapia.

I had one reader comment that Waitrose was a little bit expensive in the UK, but for whatever reason it seems to be quite a bit cheaper than the American brands we get here in the Philippines. My pesto was about the equivalent of three dollars, and anytime you can spend less than ten dollars on an import item here you’re pretty much winning at life.

Dear Waitrose, come to the US and give us gummy babies!

Tomatoes in a white bowl.

About the pesto tilapia.

Tilapia with shredded cheese on a pan with tin foil.

It’s embarrassingly easy. Except remember I’m not going to be embarrassed about easy things if it means I actually cook them more. Right Lindsay? Right. So I’ll just call it awesomely easy.

Five ingredients:

  1. Tilapia
  2. Parmesan
  3. Pesto
  4. Fresh chopped tomatoes
  5. Salt, lemon juice, butter, etc.

And this is what you’ll get:

Parmesan pesto tilapia on a plate.

Priiiiitty! I didn’t even mean for this to be so gorgeous, like serve it to your dinner guests gorgeous, but somehow it is and I like it.

You probably guessed this already but the best part of all this is that the Parmesan gets a little crispy-crunch to it because it broils so beautifully. Pair that with the delicately flaky white fish and the fresh tang of the tomatoes, and then the thick and smooth basil sauciness of the pesto… ohhhyeah. I have a thing for texture. And cheese.

Parmesan pesto tilapia on a plate with a fork.

And for today’s final shot, this is what happens when gorgeous impress your dinner guests food becomes dinner for one on the couch.


Parmesan pesto tilapia on two white plates.

You know my table? The one with the super unique scratched and graffitied wood that I bought at the market and that I am so sad to be leaving behind in the Philippines? Bjork says he’s going to take the top pieces off the table, pack them in our suitcase, reassemble them for me when we get home.

He knows the way to my heart, for sure.

Parmesan Pesto Tilapia

Parmesan Pesto Tilapia


This simple Parmesan pesto tilapia is broiled to a cheesy golden perfection and topped with pesto and fresh chopped tomatoes. Just 5 ingredients.


  • 4 6-ounce tilapia filets
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fresh chopped tomatoes
  • salt, pepper, lemon juice, melted butter


  1. Preheat the broiler. Pat the tilapia dry with a paper towel. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Coat the foil with cooking spray or olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Sprinkle each fish filets with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Broil for 10-11 minutes or until the fish is no longer translucent and the cheese is browned on the top.
  3. Top each filet with fresh tomatoes and a tablespoon of pesto. If you have extra Parmesan, add just a tiny bit over the top of the fish, tomatoes, and pesto – it can look really pretty. Top with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and/or melted butter.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: parmesan pesto tilapia, pesto tilapia, parmesan tilapia

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Look how short and easy that is! I love it.

You guys? I am now officially done cooking in this little apartment. That’s a little sad because it’s been a really great year of food, and also a little happy because it’s h-o-t in that kitchen. I have a few things lined up in the queue for our upcoming posts, but our cabinets are empty except for cereal and mangoes because we’re flying home NEXT WEEK! Next time I cook, I’ll be back in Minny-sota.

Thank you for your love and patience and everything else good that you bring to Pinch of Yum as we slowly + surely make our way back home in a few days.

Parmesan Pesto Tilapia - Quick & Easy Tilapia - only 5 ingredients!

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