Panko-crusted fish topped with creamy garlic pesto sauce and paired with delicious pesto rice! Serve with your favorite mixed vegetables and you have a complete meal perfect for weeknights and lent.
Don’t you love rice bowls? There’s something about a bowl of rice topped with meat and veggies – the components taste perfectly when eaten together. This recipe is so simple and I’ve used sole fish, but I think tilapia, dory, or any mild fish would work as well. The panko crumbs keep the fish crisp. I love using panko bread crumbs as breading because it gives a light and crunchy coating. If you love panko, try this Crispy Chicken Bites with Honey Mustard Dip too! The flakes tend to stay crispier longer than standard breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease.
The creamy garlic pesto sauce adds flavor and richness to the fish. I used basil pesto – you can make you own or use store-bought. I actually thought of this recipe because I have leftover pesto in my fridge. This is a good way to make use of those last few tablespoons of your homemade or jarred pesto because this recipe does not require a lot. The sauce is very simple to make too- just cook the minced garlic, butter, cream, and pesto together.
To flavor the rice, simply add about 2 teaspoons of pesto for every cup of steamed rice. Try to leave out as much of the oil from the pesto so your rice will not become too oily. It is best to add the pesto right after your steamed white rice is cooked so you can easily mix the pesto with it. Steam or sauté whatever vegetables you have on hand and then put them all together in one bowl.
This is one of those perfect meals that you can make for a weeknight dinner or if you’re or observing lent through abstinence of meat. I never tire of this one. 🙂
Fish with Creamy Garlic Pesto Rice Bowl
- 4 pieces sole fillets (tilapia, dory, or any mild fish)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 piece large egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- canola oil for frying
Creamy Garlic Pesto Sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 teaspoons basil pesto
- 2 cups steamed white rice
- 8 teaspoons basil pesto
- To make the panko-crusted fish, prepare 3 shallow bowls and place the flour, egg, and panko breadrumbs in each bowl. Season the panko breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Pat dry the fillets with a paper towel then coat the fish with flour, then in the egg, and lastly in the panko breadcrumbs. Fry the fish, in batches if necessary, about 2 minutes per side. The panko crust should be golden brown. Set the cooked fish aside.
- To make the creamy garlic pesto sauce, melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute. You don't want the garlic to turn brown. Add the cream and lower the heat to simmer. Simmer the sauce for about 5 minutes or until sauce becomes thicker. Mix in the pesto then remove from heat. Taste the sauce and add salt, pepper, or more pesto according to your taste. Transfer the sauce in a small bowl.
- To make the pesto rice, put 2 teaspoons of pesto for every cup of warm, steamed white rice. Add more pesto if you like a stronger flavor.
- Assemble your rice bowl by putting the rice first then top with the panko-crusted fish and your choice of steamed vegetables on the side. Drizzle the creamy garlic pesto sauce on top.