This Butter Baked Tilapia with Lemon, Dill, Flaky Red Pepper and Asparagus is a Super Easy weeknight meal that punches the healthy buttons without sacrificing anything in taste, and can be prepared in one dish in less than 30 minutes!
Dinner in a half hour or less? Yes please!
Before I had a baby people said make freezer meals! I love to cook, though, so I couldn’t imagine eating frozen food for very long. I thought, eh, two weeks or so, and I’ll be back on my feet. Every mother out there is laughing at me right now, and deservedly so. The sleep deprivation you have with a newborn is. like. no. other.
Holy carb indulgence batman!
It was more like 3 MONTHS before we got back in a good groove, and of course, right around then the holidays hit, and right after that, I went back to work. Let me tell you, this full time working mom thing is rough. I have so little time in the evenings to nurse the baby, cook, and actually eat the dinner I’ve cooked.
Naturally, I get frustrated with this. I feel like our diet suffered a bit for awhile, and this is not something I’m ok with.
Post Baby Weeknight Nutrition
Clearly, I care about food, but I also care about nutrition. Nutritionally, in addition to being pescetarians, I basically try to follow an 80/20 lifestyle, where we eat healthy 80 % of the time, and indulge 20% of the time. I like real foods, whole foods, and do NOT like things that come out of packages.
What did we eat too much of after the baby came?
Things that came out of packages. Womp womp.
And also pasta. Pasta is quick and easy, and can be paired with veggies. But it is still pasta, and in my pre-baby life, I really limited pasta’s place in my diet. Not that I’m not a fan – I am! Indeed, this 30 Minute Orecchiette is a favorite dish of mine. And also mac and cheese. All the ways you can put mac with cheese are ME. I am a fan of all of them!
Seriously, it’s a problem.
Menu Planning and Food Preparation
But friends, I am getting better at it. Little by little I am menu planning better, and this Butter Baked Tilapia with Lemon, Dill, Flaky Red Pepper, and Aspargus recipe is part of that. Over the weekend I made a big farro salad with feta, fresh candy onions from the farmer’s market, and some sliced cherry tomatoes. The farro salad made a tasty side for this dish, and a tasty base for a fried egg last night!
So when people say to do as much of the meal prep as you can on weekends – yeah. That’s worth listening to.
My husband and I, even though we’re pescetarians, don’t actually eat a lot of fish. It was in our diet here and there, but it honestly isn’t even an every week thing. We’ve frankly been more vegetarian in the last few years than anything – mostly because fish and seafood fetches a higher price here in Knoxville than it did in New Orleans. And budget.
And, of course, I can make endless satisfying vegetarian dishes, because yum.
However, I have been incorporating a bit more fish and shrimp in to our diet lately, because it cooks quickly, is incredibly healthy, and a great source of protein. In other words, fish is a great weeknight choice. Tilapia is not my favorite choice, though, because it’s a bit fo a ho-hum choice. It is, however, very affordable, and so last week when I saw some on sale, I grabbed several filets.
Easy Butter Baked Tilapia Preparation
I portioned out a few filets for our dinner that night, and popped the rest in the freezer for later. In the morning I popped the filets in a plastic sandwich bag with the juice of a half lemon and a few sprigs of fresh dill. I popped the half a lemon I squeezed the juice out of in with it too.
Then in the evening I placed a bit of butter in the bottom of a 9×9 pan, and then put the asparagus and fish on top of it. Next, I sprinkled it with a bit of my favorite French grey sea salt. I added a quick shake of some flaky red pepper, which is optional, and then sliced the other half a lemon and put the dill and lemon slices on top. And then a couple more pats of butter. Because butter!
Then I baked it for about 25 minutes at 375, and voila.
My husband was all, eh. Baked tilapia. Eye roll.
Until he tasted it.
And then he was like, oh my God. How did you get this to taste so good?
So needless to say, this will be reappearing in our weeknight rotation. I’ll change up the veg – broccoli would also be a good choice, or cut carrots, or both. And while this time I served it with farro, I could also pair it with couscous, wild rice, quinoa – or even maybe some french fries. The point is, there are options, and this Butter Baked Tilapia with Lemon, Dill, Flaky Red Pepper, and Asparagus will adapt.
What are your favorite go-to weeknight meals? Let me know in the comments!
Butter Baked Tilapia with Lemon, Dill, Flaky Red Pepper, and Asparagus
- 2 Filets Tilapia
- 1 Medium Lemon
- 6 Sprigs Fresh Dill
- 1/8 Teaspoon French Grey or Other Sea Salt May sue more or less to taste.
- 1/8 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes Optional. May use more or less to taste
- 4 Tablespoons Butter May use more or less to taste
- 12 Stalks Fresh Asparagus, ends trimmed
In the morning, or preferably a minimum of an hour before cooking, place tilapia filets in a sandwich bag with juice of half a lemon, 4 sprigs of fresh dill, and the remains of the juiced lemon. Set in refrigerator to marinate.
When ready to prepare the fish, preheat oven to 375.
Place two tablespoons of butter, divided, in the bottom of a 9x9 pan.
Trim the ends of the asparagus and place asparagus in the bottom of the dish around your butter.
Place fish on top of butter pats.
Sprinkle with sea salt and red pepper.
Slice the remaining half lemon, and place slices and dill from the marinade on top of the fish.
Place in oven to bake. Bake approximately 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your filets. When the fish is flaky and white it is done.
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