Becoming Sugar-Free ~ Red Pepper Pesto Fish

Red sweet peppers are one of the vegetable world’s highest sources of vitamin C. This pesto can be made in a flash by skipping the roasting of the peppers, but if time allows, roasting enhances the sweetness of the peppers and adds a smoky flavour. This pesto is good for saucing up main dishes, and you can thin it out with some oil and lemon to enjoy as a salad dressing. You can use any whitefish for this recipe, but my favourite is halibut. It is delicious and packed with magnesium, crave-busting omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B6, B9 and B12, nutrients that help balance hormones and reduce inflammation. Serve this dish alongside vine-ripened tomatoes and steamed green beans or sea asparagus.


Red Pepper Pesto:

2 red sweet peppers
2 cloves garlic
¼ to ½ teaspoon sweet paprika or sugar-free hot sauce (optional)
½ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
¾ teaspoon unrefined pink salt
3 tablespoons hemp hearts or pine nuts
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice


1 pound fresh halibut fillet
¼ teaspoon unrefined pink salt

Lemon Juice:

2 shallots (or ½ red onion), thinly sliced
1 organic lemon, sliced
Fresh parsley or sprouts, for garnish


1. To make the red pepper pesto, preheat the broiler on the lowest setting, about 400°F. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

2. Cut the sweet peppers lengthwise and trim away the stem and seeds. Blot dry and arrange on the prepared baking sheet, skin side up. Broil for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the skins start to wrinkle. Transfer to a plate to cool. When the peppers are cool, remove and discard the skin.

3. Place the roasted peppers, garlic, paprika (if using), ginger (if using), salt, hemp hearts, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender and pulse to desired consistency (less time for chunky, more time for smooth). Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

4. To bake the fish, preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the fillet into 4 portions. Spread a thin layer of red pepper pesto over the bottom of a 13- × 9-inch baking dish. Place the fish on top of the pesto. Sprinkle with the salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Cover each fillet with ¼ cup of the pesto, followed by the sliced shallots and then the sliced lemon. Bake until the fish is firm, 25 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. Check that the thickest part of the fish is flaky to ensure that it is done. The fish will continue to cook in the dish, so it is best not to overcook it in the oven.

Serve immediately topped with fresh parsley or sprouts.

Makes 4 servings.

This recipe can be found in my 4th book, Becoming Sugar-Free on page 257.

Grab your copy here!

Excerpted with permission from Penguin Canada from the book Becoming Sugar-Free: How to break up with inflammatory sugars and embrace a naturally sweet life by Julie Daniluk. All rights reserved.


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