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Baked Barramundi Recipe with Basil Pesto Sauce

This baked barramundi recipe is quick and easy to prepare. In fact, it’s on the table in less than 20 minutes!

Barramundi is a sustainable fish with a mild and delicate taste. Normally, I cook it on the stove top with a garlic lemon butter sauce.

Today we’ll take the recipe to a new level by finishing the fish in the oven while we make an easy basil pesto sauce. It gives the dish a vibrant color and elegant presentation.

My herb garden is producing well right now, and I have a lot of fresh basil and am looking for  a way to use it. Even though basil can be frozen to use during the winter, the color of the pesto sauce will be better if I use fresh basil straight from the garden.

Baked barramundi on basil pesto sauce with tomatoes and tortellini.

What is basil pesto?

Basil pesto is a classic Italian sauce known for its deep green color and bold flavor. It is traditionally made with fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and extra-virgin olive oil.

Basil pesto ingredients on a table.

Basil pesto can be used as a sauce for pasta, as a spread on sandwiches or pizzas, to drizzle over grilled meats or vegetables, or used as a dip for crusty bread.

To make basil pesto, the ingredients are blended together in a food processor or blender until they form a smooth paste. The result is a versatile sauce that is full of flavor and color.

Tonight, we’ll be cooking barramundi and adding the pesto as a sauce for the recipe. 

Making the basil pesto

The basil pesto could not be easier to make. You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • fresh basil
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • pine nuts
  • garlic cloves
  • sea salt and pepper
  • juice of a lemon

Putting garlic, basil, olive oil, pine nuts and Parmesan in a blender to make pesto.

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until you get a coarse paste.

With the food processor or blender running, slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.

Season the pesto with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

I like to add the juice of a lemon to the pesto and pulse to combine. It gives the sauce a tangy twist. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

Note: The more you blend the pesto, the smoother it gets.

How to cook barramundi in the oven

Set your oven to 400°F (200°C). Pat the barramundi fillets dry with a paper towel and season your with salt and pepper.

We’ll be cooking the fish the way I prepare most fish fillets, a combination of pan searing and baking. Start by heating your olive oil in an oven proof pan.

Heat the barramundi fillets on one side for 2-3 minutes. Flip the fillets and sear for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to the oven to finish baking.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until the fish is tender and flaky.

Serving the barramundi recipe

Place a generous serving of basil pesto sauce on each serving plate. Top the pesto with the barramundi fillet and serve with your favorite side dishes.

Baked barramundi on pesto with tomatoes and tortellini.

I love to add sliced garden tomatoes and tortellini for a restaurant worthy look.

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More fish recipes to try

Light seafood piccata

Do you love fish recipes as much as I do? Try one of these tantalizing fish and seafood recipes. From succulent grilled shrimp to perfectly baked salmon, this list that promises to satisfy your seafood cravings. 

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Serving dish with fish and tortellini and words Baked Barramundi with fresh basil pesto sauce.

Yield: 3

Barramundi Baked Recipe with Basil Pesto Sauce

Baked barramundi on pesto with tomatoes and tortellini.

This barramundi recipe is baked in the oven and finished with a basil pesto sauce. It is flaky and tasty and makes great use of your garden basil before the cool weather sets in.

Best of all, it's on the table in less than 20 minutes!

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


For the Barramundi

  • 2 barramundi fillets, (6-8 ounces each)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon optional


Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) while you make the pesto.

Making the basil pesto

  1. In a food processor, combine the basil, grated Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic cloves.
  2. Pulse the mixture until it becomes a coarse paste.
  3. While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Season the pesto with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. For a bit of extra tang, add the juice of 1 lemon to the pesto and pulse to combine.
  6. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

To cook the barramundi

  1. Pat the barramundi fillets dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. When the oil is hot, carefully place the barramundi fillets in the skillet.
  4. Sear the barramundi for 2-3 minutes, until the skin is golden and crispy.
  5. Flip the fillets gently and sear for another 2 minutes on the other side of the fish.
  6. Place the oven proof skillet directly in the preheated oven.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the barramundi flakes easily with a fork and is cooked through.

To serve

  1. When the barramundi is cooked, remove it from the oven.
  2. Place a generous amount of the basil pesto on each plate.
  3. Arrange the fish over the top of the pesto and finish with a bit of chopped basil
  4. Serve the barramundi with your favorite side dishes, such as sliced tomatoes and tortellini.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 fillet

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 790Total Fat: 67gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 52gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 572mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 42g

Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.

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