Roasted whole fish with pepita pesto

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
35 min
15 min
20 min
Pepitas are worth seeking out for this fabulous pesto that’s as good with salmon, chicken, or steak as it is with a whole fish. Be sure to take time for the extra step of toasting the pepitas to bring out their nutty flavor.


Unsalted pumpkin seeds without shells

4 Tbsp

Fresh mint leaves

1 cup(s), lightly packed


1 cup(s), fresh leaves, lightly packed

Serrano chile(s)

2 item(s), seeded and finely chopped

Garlic clove(s)

3 medium clove(s), finely chopped

Fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp

Extra virgin olive oil

4 tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp

Uncooked branzino (sea bass) fillet(s)

1½ pound(s), or red snapper, 2 (1 1/2-pound) whole fish, cleaned and scaled

Fresh lime(s)

1 item(s), cut into wedges


  1. 1 Preheat oven to 450°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil.
  2. 2 Set small skillet over medium heat. Add pepitas and toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate to cool.
  3. 3 To make pesto, puree pepitas, mint, cilantro, serranos, garlic, lime juice, oil, salt, and pepper in mini–food processor.
  4. 4 Cut 4 crosswise slits on each side of fish to bone; rub all sides and cavities with pesto. Transfer fish to prepared baking sheet. Roast just until opaque in center, 15–20 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.
  5. Serving size: (1/3 of a fish)