Main Course/ Recipes/ Seafood/ Seasonal Recipes

Foil-Baked Fish with Summer Veggies

The last day of August.

I can’t believe it! I am so ready to wear sweaters, tights and boots though. Fall is, by far, my favorite season. I’m especially excited this year because I’ll get to experience it in a few different cities since I’ll be traveling so much on my book tour. I feel like right now is the calm before the storm, you know?

Speaking of the book tour, I wanted to let any local readers know that a week from today (9/7), I will be doing my first book signing (eek!) at Copperfield’s Books in Santa Rosa at 7pm. I’m going to post some additional book tour dates next week, but I wanted to make sure any Northern California friends knew a week ahead of time!

But since it’s still August, let’s discuss this healthy late-summer dinner I made for Adam and I last week. We both loved it! About a month ago, I vowed to start cooking more seafood and I think, so far, I’ve been doing okay! Cooking white fish (I used tilapia here) in the oven in foil or parchment paper packages is no new thing. In France, it’s called fish en papillote, which literally translates to fish in a parcel. It’s an extremely healthy way to cook and also very flavorful, since the food and veggies cook together in their own seasoned juices.

For these guys, I used tin foil since it’s a bit easier to handle (I think). I stuffed my fish packages full with all the veggies I could find at the market—zucchini, bell pepper, fennel and cherry tomatoes—and drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. It’s such a delicious little spa meal, if I do say so myself.

The vegetables I used here are really more suggestions than anything else. You could use anything, really! I would stay clear of celery though…and potatoes…but carrots would also work nice, as would different types of peppers and summer squash. I have a deep love for fennel, which no doubt stems from my obsession with licorice. I think it makes anything better!

I also tossed in a bunch of fresh basil!

I would wear basil (and cilantro, for that matter) as a perfume if I could. I can’t get enough!

The wrapping part does not have to be complicated, either.

Just tear a large rectangle of tin foil out (about 12 x 24″) and lay it flat on your counter. Then, fold it in half.

Lay the fish + veggies in the middle, like so:

Pull up the sides of the foil……

Then crunch everything together super tight so no steam and juices escape in the oven! The steam is what cooks the fish and veggies, so it’s important to really wrap your fish package up tight.

This is also a super yummy way to make potatoes on the grill! My mom does that and I love her for it. She just cuts some slits in russet potatoes, stuffs the slits with onions and butter, then wraps the potatoes up in foil and sticks them on the grill for about 40 minutes.

OH MY GOSH, is it ever amazing! And I don’t even like baked potatoes (I know…who am I, anyway). Try it!

These only take about 15 minutes in the oven and the presentation is so fun when you unwrap on the plate! The fish and veggies are cooked perfectly together.

This is what I would call a “spa meal” because it tastes like something you would get a fancy schmancy spa. It’s light, healthy and only takes half an hour from start to finish. So just paint your toes here, sip some Perrier and call it a day.

Foil-Baked Fish with Summer Veggies

serves 3

Print this Recipe!


3 tilapia fillets (or other white, mild-flavored fish), about 5 1/2 oz each

1 zucchini, sliced into 3″ matchsticks

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 1″ piece of fennel, sliced thin

2 green onions, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 red bell pepper, sliced into 3″ matchsticks

1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, chopped

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided

1 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the sliced zucchini, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, fennel, sliced green onions, garlic, oregano and basil. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the veggies and add a pinch of salt. Toss well.

Pull a square of tin foil about 12 x 24″ out. Fold it in half and place one fish fillet in the center. Add some vegetables on top and around the fish, then drizzle on a little balsamic vinegar and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Wrap up the foil around the fish and fold in all sides tightly so that no steam escapes. You want a nice, tight little package.

Repeat with the remaining fish fillets and then place the foil packets on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until fish has baked through and flakes easily. You can check the fish after 15 minutes by unwrapping a tiny corner of the foil and poking a knife or fork inside.

When done, remove from the oven and unwrap on individual plates. Enjoy!


30 minutes



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  • Jenn
    August 31, 2012 at 3:27 am

    That is so quick to make! Love it.

  • Edith
    August 31, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Looks super tasty!. That’s a great way to keep the fish moist

  • Kate
    August 31, 2012 at 4:25 am

    You should wear basil essential oil 😉

  • De
    August 31, 2012 at 4:37 am

    This looks great & so easy!!

  • Michelle @ Eat Move Balance
    August 31, 2012 at 4:38 am

    I love doing fish packets! Cleanup is so easy and it always tastes great because of the steaming effect. 🙂

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    August 31, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Mmmm it’s recipes like this that I absolutely love- such simple foods, yet SO much flavour. About 5/7 of my weekly dinners involve seafood, and en papilotte has got to be one of the easiest cooking methods. Great recipe Jenna, and good luck with the book tour! 🙂

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    August 31, 2012 at 4:51 am

    a few things…
    1. I love fennel but hate licorice. And I LOVE using it any time I can. I’ll sub out celery (yuck) for it.
    2. After picking herbs in the garden, I always ask why we don’t send bouquets of herbs. Really.

    • Margarita
      August 31, 2012 at 6:31 am

      Really! I agree! My friend gave me an herb planter as a housewarming present and I absolutely loved it.

  • Sonal
    August 31, 2012 at 5:37 am

    I actually love making fish this way! My favourite is Salmon – I put a bit of sweet chilli sauce on top and wrap up the foil, keep in oven for half an hour and voila! A gourmet meal made sooo easy! 🙂

  • Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots
    August 31, 2012 at 5:46 am

    I can’t wait to read your book, I am ordering it this weekend!

  • Ashley
    August 31, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Looks healthy and so delicious!

  • Ali @ Gimme Some Oven
    August 31, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Mmmm…I love this method. So fresh, healthy and full of flavor.

    So excited for your book tour!! 🙂

  • jenna
    August 31, 2012 at 6:08 am

    mm this looks darn good. gorgeous photos today!

  • Jodee
    August 31, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Did you find out if your book is coming out on kindle format?

    • jenna
      August 31, 2012 at 6:48 am

      Unfortunately, it’s going to be just available digitally on the Nook to begin with….probably the Kindle down the line.

      • Jodee
        August 31, 2012 at 9:23 am

        Cool thanks I’ll buy it with book app then 🙂

      • Sharon
        August 31, 2012 at 11:42 am

        Aha…another reason I need to get a Nook.

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
    August 31, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Whenever I go to my parents and we have fish, my dad always wraps it in tinfoil and grills it – it’s an awesome cooking method!

  • Margarita
    August 31, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Oh this looks so good! I have had fish baked in foil before but never with veggies and herbs. What an awesome idea! I can imagine the smell coming out from the foil as you unwrap it… Best present ever!

  • deva by definition
    August 31, 2012 at 6:42 am

    this looks so yummy and healthy. I love doing this with marinated beef, potatoes, carrots, and onion. the clean up is SO easy and everything comes out tasting AMAZING.

  • elizabeth @ chronic venture
    August 31, 2012 at 6:56 am

    i was just daydreaming about what to make with all of the summer veggies I have at home–this will be perfect!

  • Joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    August 31, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Great idea about the baked potatoes! I need to try that!

  • Julie @ Sugarfoot Eats
    August 31, 2012 at 7:19 am

    So excited to see that you’re coming to Austin on your book tour!!

  • Kristin
    August 31, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Yay! I need more good fish recipes like this, as I want to eat/serve more fish during the week too for healthy dinners! This looks great and I love that it is baked in the oven in the foil, no messing with the grill and I love tilapia (and veggies). Can’t wait to try it!! Do you have a good recipe for scallops? I enjoy scallops in a restaurant, but have never made them at home because frankly, they scare me! Haha. (I have this fear I won’t know when they are cooked through and we’ll be eating raw, thick scallops …eww!) 🙂

    • mom
      August 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      Kristin ~ I have a delicious recipe for “Pan-Seared Scallops on Linguine with Tomato-Cream Sauce”. Tried and true and a family favorite. I will see if Jenna can put this on her blog for you!

      • MyThy as in "Mighty"
        August 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm

        Oh that sounds delish! I’m scared of cooking w/ scallops so I’ll be waiting (patiently) for that post!

  • Dara @how_to_eat
    August 31, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I’ve made this in parchment filled with lemon and herbs. Love the addition of vegetables to make a complete meal. Yum!

  • Laura @ She Eats Well
    August 31, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I’m with you on the basil. I would wear it too! Fresh herbs make everything better!

  • Barbara The Healthy Nut
    August 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

    One of my favorite ways to cook fish, summer on the grill, winter in the oven. I usually do the veggies separately (Duh) Definitely will try them together next time. I agree, love what fennel does to a recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jennie @ Revelry Row
    August 31, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Looks like a tasty way to get some extra veggies on my plate! Any other tips on getting more fruits & veggies in my body?

  • Tina
    August 31, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I just purchased your book from Amazon. I am waiting for to arrive. I was curious, is the photo on the front of the book you?

  • betsy
    August 31, 2012 at 8:49 am

    the reason to use parchment paper is that foil is reactive so can give food an off taste. i recommend using one sheet of foil on the bottom then a piece of parchment on top that you put the food on. that way you get the easy wrapping of foil and the non-reactive surface of parchment!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    August 31, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Enjoy the calm before the storm and the holiday weekend – and make more of that fish’n veggies – looks great! Love foil-dinners for EASY cleanup, too!

  • Michelle {LiveLoudly}
    August 31, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Congrats on the book tour! That’s going to be such a surreal moment. Did you always have a goal to write a book or did it just start to materialize one day? I remember a while back you were working on a recipe book. I took a year off from reading blogs and I’m catching up 😉
    Have a wonderful long weekend!
    -Michelle {LiveLoudly}

  • Caroline L.
    August 31, 2012 at 9:33 am

    This looks so easy, delicious, and healthy! The best combination 🙂

  • Urban Wife
    August 31, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I just love saying en papillote. 🙂

  • Sharon
    August 31, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Fun! I need to cook more fish…and this is such an easy way to do it. I agree…perfect “spa” at home food! Would you also do red snapper this way? I love fennel but dislike licorice…

    Did you know that you actually can wear basil as perfume? There is Guerlain’s Mandarine Basilic from their Aqua Allegoria line (available at Sephora…they might even have this one at our local SR Sephora inside JC Penney, IIRC…). There is also Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin, and also Basil & Verbena colognes.

  • Megan @ Megan's Miles
    August 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I love making fish in foil packets! Actually, I just love foil packets in general because they make cleanup a breeze. 🙂

    I have some tilapia in the freezer and will definitely make this recipe over the weekend!

  • Cookin' Canuck
    August 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I adore cooking meals “en papillote” – so easy and healthy, and a great way to impart flavor to the fish, chicken, etc. Now, about that book tour…we need to get you to Salt Lake City, Jenna!

  • Stephanie
    August 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Your book came to my house today! Can’t wait to start reading!

  • Alicia
    August 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I too can’t wait for Fall! Somehow, I always forget about foil packets when preparing fish. It looks delicious with all of the vegetables — fennel sounds particularly nice.

  • Sonja
    August 31, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Looks great! I love me some en papillote food 🙂 however, fish in French is poisson, not just fish… I think you just forgot to make it French in the intro of this recipe…? 😉 doesn’t really matter for the awesomeness of the recipe, but thought you’d like to know?

  • Laura
    September 1, 2012 at 3:03 am

    I’ve been cooking my fish in foil for about a year now and i simply adore it. i love the simplicity of it and the best part …. no fishy smell in the kitchen.

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope
    September 1, 2012 at 3:12 am

    This looks amazing! I’m definitely trying this!

  • Danielle
    September 1, 2012 at 3:48 am

    We make foil packets for dinner when we go camping. Just wrap up any combination of protein, veggies, oil, and spices/herbs, then put them in the camp fire for 30-45 minutes. It allows each person to make their own dinner! I find fish to be too delicate for being put in a campfire though. That’s better for the oven or a grill.

  • Brittany @ Brittany Cooks
    September 1, 2012 at 7:01 am

    I just bought some tilapia! So doing this!

  • kara
    September 1, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I’m so happy there is a local book reading! I found your blog by clicking a link on Tasty Kitchen, and when I saw Sonoma County references, I was hooked! (And then, obviously, I was more hooked by your writing and recipes and such). Can’t wait to grab a copy of your book!

  • Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner
    September 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    What a delicious twist on a regular tin-foil dinner! 😀

  • lindsay
    September 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Made these tonight. So delicious!!

  • Brooke
    September 3, 2012 at 5:41 am

    ooh, I totally forgot about fish and veggies in foil! My mom made this all the time growing up and she also did it with chicken. Great way to use leftover veggies in my refrigerator. This will probably be dinner tonight.

  • Jamie
    September 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I made this tonight using red snapper and it was unbelievable. I used Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic to season the fish. So light and healthy. Loved the veggies on top of the fish. Even my 15 year old twin daughters loved it. Cooking it in the foil was so easy and perfect. Thank you!

  • Lauren P.
    September 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Just made this tonight for my fiance and little brother. It was a HUGE hit!!!

  • Kim Weigand
    September 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

    We take these pre-prepared packets camping to cook over the campfire…they work awesome, no plate required, just unwrap, eat, and dispose of the foil!! Congrats on your new book, can’t wait to read it!

  • luv what you do
    September 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    What a great way to use your CSA veggies. I love an easy one pot/packet recipe!

  • Christy
    September 6, 2012 at 10:40 am

    This reminded me of a meal I used to get at one of my favorite Italian seafood restaurants in the Chicago area. Flaky white fish, flavorful veggies…it was truly delicious! I hadn’t had a fish dish that compared to that restaurant’s until now. I feel like it’s a crime that it would be this easy and this good. You can’t beat the easy clean-up either. So glad I made this! Thanks, Jenna!!

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  • Va
    April 18, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Thank you, thank you.

  • Lady3kgt
    July 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Was looking for something lazy & slackass I could whip up for supper & this was it.
    The recipe came out great, served ’em w/ baked potatoes which I started in the oven 45 minutes before. Great, no fuss meal! Most of all I really enjoyed your writing style best, it was an enjoyable & fun read. Keep up the good work!


    Got any lazy, slackass but yummy dessert recipes?? 😛

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    November 13, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    If some one wants explert view regarding blogging after that i suggest him/her to visit this website, Keep upp the good work.

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