Cod smothered in creamy red roasted pepper sauce and baked on a bed of zucchini and yellow squash. It’s such an easy one-pan meal that serves amazing over veggie rice.
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Cod with Cream Sauce
Seafood does not have to be complicated. If you’re a beginner, this cod in cream sauce is the perfect recipe to start with.
It’s a recipe that I originally posted in 2015 and it’s been a readers favorite since. Here’s what people are saying:
“I have struggled with fish and how to cook until I stumbled upon this recipe and it was the best fish dish I ever cooked. Delicious thank you so much for sharing. I will be making it again.” – Shannon B.
“Excellent recipe! I’ve made this dish several times and it is delicious. Also substituted variety of fish with great results.” – Dana
It involves cod that is roasted on a bed of zucchini, yellow squash, and red onions with the most flavorful roasted pepper sauce. The sauce is definitely the star of this recipe.
Sauce for Cod
Creamy roasted pepper sauce is one of those things that is incredibly versatile and easy to make! You only need a handful of ingredients:
- Roasted red peppers
- Olive oil
- Light cream
- Parmesan cheese
It quickly comes together on the stovetop then it gets transferred into a food processor and puréed until creamy rich. It pairs crazy good with mild cod and tender veggies.
You can make the roasted red pepper sauce ahead of time and may want to double up the recipe because you will want to smother it over everything and anything.
Not only is it delicious over cod but use it over pasta, veggies, chicken, or any other white mild fish. With just enough sweetness from the cream and bite from the peppers it’s the perfect combo of flavors.
For even more flavor, use heavy cream instead of light cream, and red pepper flakes for little heat.
How to Make Cod in Cream Sauce
So many of you made this cod with homemade roasted peppers and this how to from Ina Garten is simple and easy to follow.
I love jarred roasted peppers from the store because of their convenience. They’re tasty and you can pick up a jar at just about any store.
Step 2: Transfer the mixture into a bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides few times.
Step 3: Return the mixture to the same skillet, stir in cream, Parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until lightly thickened.
Step 4: Cut the zucchini and yellow squash into matchsticks. Thinly slice the red onion. Layer the veggies on a bottom of a 9X13 baking dish. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
Step 5: Season the cod with salt and pepper and in a single layer, place the cod on top of the veggies. It’ll be snug and that’s okay. Sprinkle with parsley. Pour the pepper sauce over the cod and veggies.
Step 6: Bake for 25-35 minutes, uncovered, in a 350 F oven. When done, the cod should flaky easily and the veggies should be fork tender. Let rest for 5-10 minutes, uncovered, before serving.
How Long Do You Cook Fish for in the Oven?
For this cod recipe it’ll take anywhere from 25-35ish minutes to fully cook the cod in a 350F oven. Keep in mind that the cooking time will depend on the thickness of the cod. For best results, use similar size cuts of cod.
Also if you cut the veggies into thicker pieces they’ll require more time to cook until fully tender. And don’t use more veggies than you have to, otherwise, they’ll release too much water and the sauce will thin out.
The size of the baking dish is another factor. I recommend a 9X13 baking dish. It should be large enough to fit all of the veggies without overcrowding too much and cod in a single layer.
Don’t use too small of a baking dish as you want enough room for steam to escape.
What Goes with Cod?
You can technically serve the cod as is and maybe some other side but if you’re like me and love all the pan juices then you’ll want something to soak it all up.
- Rice – Lemon risotto (omit the asparagus) or perfect brown rice.
- Some type of mash – mashed potatoes, cauliflower mash, or these chipotle smashed sweet potatoes sound amazing!
- Pasta – short shaped pasta, spaghetti, or egg noodles would all work.
- Sides – Easy oven roasted broccoli, roasted garlic green beans, roasted asparagus with prosciutto.
Of course, there’s also the very simple way to enjoy this cod meal. Simply pick up a crusty loaf of bread or baguette, tear it into chunks and dip into that delicious creamy goodness of sauce.
If you try Cod in Creamy Red Roasted Pepper Sauce, don’t forget to leave feedback and a rating.
You may also want to check out this Bruschetta Baked Cod with Panko. It’s another easy baked cod recipe. Perfect for beginners!
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Tender flaky cod roasted over a bed of zucchini, yellow squash, and onions in a creamy red roasted pepper sauce.
Creamy Red Roasted Pepper Sauce
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 12 oz. jar whole roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- 2 Tbsp. minced garlic, about 5–6 medium cloves
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- 1 1/4 cups light cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Cod + Veggies
- 1 small (8 oz.) zucchini, cut into matchsticks
- 1 small (8 oz.) yellow squash, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 lbs. fresh cod fillets, about 6 oz. each
- 1–2 Tbsp. fresh finely chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
- Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
Creamy Red Roasted Pepper Sauce
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook peppers, garlic, and basil in olive oil for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until flavors come together.
- Transfer the pepper mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides.
- Return the mixture to the same skillet and stir in cream, Parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste; simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until lightly thickened.
Cod + Veggies
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Layer the zucchini, yellow squash, and onions on a bottom of a 9X13 baking dish. Lightly season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper, and layer in a single layer over the veggies. Sprinkle with parsley all over.
- Spoon the red pepper sauce over the cod, spreading out evenly so all of the cod is covered in sauce.
- Bake, uncovered, for 25-35 minutes until the fish is flaky and veggies are tender. Cook time will depend on the thickness of the cod.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and let rest for 5-10 minutes, uncovered, before serving.
- Light Cream: heavy cream is a good substitute for light cream. Some of the readers had success with half and half, however, I find that the sauce thins out with half and half, especially after it’s been baked with the veggies. I would stick to either heavy or light cream.
- Cod: use fresh cod if possible. But if using frozen, thaw out thoroughly and pat dry before baking.
- Watered Down Sauce: to ensure the sauce does not water down during baking, do not cover the baking dish during or after baking. Make sure you’re using right size dish. I recommend 9X13. Layer the fish in a single layer in the baking dish and don’t use more veggies than you have to. Lastly, use light or heavy cream and nothing lighter. Veggies will release some water during baking but the liquid should easily blend into the sauce when rested.
- Make Ahead / Reheating: to make ahead, prepare the roasted pepper sauce, cut up all the veggies, and refrigerate separately. Assemble with cod and bake on day of serving. Sauce will thicken when refrigerated so bring to room temperature before using. Cod does not reheat well. It tends to get rubbery. It’s best served immediately.
- Variation: Like spicy? Add 1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes to the sauce. It’ll balance out the sweetness and give the dish a little kick.
Keywords: easy, zucchini, cream sauce
Originally published January 2015, updated September 2019 with new photos, rewritten post, and additional information. No change to the recipe.