Recipes

Simple Roast Whole Fish – One Pan Meal

Fishing was never something I was interested in. Especially living with motion sickness, I have to really limit my boating activities. So no deep-sea ocean fishing for this girl. Unfortunately, my kids may have inherited the motion sickness gene (if that’s even a thing) from me.

Joe had always gone fishing on his own. He has done deep sea fishing in Hawaii, ocean fishing out of San Francisco Bay, and many lake fishing. When we planned our trip to Mammoth Lakes, Joe really wanted to introduce the kids to fishing. With a flat bottomed boat in a calm lake, I had no problem saying yes.

We had such a great experience boating and fishing in Mammoth. Joey and Addie didn’t quite understand why fishing takes so long, but they had a great time learning how to fish with daddy. Playing with the worms was definitely the highlight. Mommy was in charge of lounging and managing the cooler.

simple roast whole fish in mammoth
They preferred playing with the worms over feeding it to the fish.

I always encourage Joe to go fishing when the opportunity comes. Why? Because I benefit from the catch he brings back. I love to roast and eat whole fish. 

Fish can be tricky to cook. It is much more delicate meat to cook, and it can quickly get overcooked. However, cooking a fish whole can be much more forgiving than cooking fish fillets. It’s like cooking chicken breast. Chicken breasts can get tough and dry easily. But when you cook a whole chicken, the breast is much more tender and juicier.

One Pan Meal 

I am a big fan of one-pot or one-pan meals. Just follow me on Pinterest and you will know what I mean. It is simple and easy for weeknight meals and keeping dishes to a minimum. Did I mention that I hate doing dishes?

Whether you bring home some fresh catch or get it from your local market, you can simply roast a whole fish, or two, with a variety of veggies all on the same pan. Roasted veggies are a great side with the fish.

Depending on the veggies you use, some will need to be cut smaller to be cooked under the same temperature and time. For example, brussel sprouts take longer to cook than zucchini. The brussel sprouts will need to be cut smaller, quarters for larger ones, and zucchini can stay in larger chunks. 

Here are some fresh veggies that will go great with the fish:

  • Zucchini
  • Brussel sprouts (cut smaller)
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli (cut smaller)
  • Cauliflower (cut smaller)
  • Mushrooms 
  • Beets (cut smaller)
  • Eggplant 
  • Carrots (cut smaller)
  • Bok choy 
  • Garlic cloves

You can also put regular or sweet potatoes (cut smaller) on the pan. Or make a side of rice or pasta for a balanced meal. 

Ingredients

Once you have the vegetables you want to go with the fish, the rest of the ingredients are pretty simple. Fish is delicate, so you don’t need much seasoning. Adding a few aromatics to the fish will help eliminate some of the fishiness and bring out the fish’s flavor. 

Here are the basics you will need for one whole fish:

  • Avocado or olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of green onions chopped into quarters (yellow onion works too)
  • 2-3 slices of lemon or lime (I’ve used orange before when I didn’t have any)
  • Garlic salt
  • 2-3 pieces each of fresh ginger and garlic (if you only have one of the two or only in minced or crushed in a jar, that’s fine too) – optional
  • Trader Joe’s Umami Seasoning Blend – optional
  • balsamic vinegar or light soy sauce – optional 
simple roast whole fish ingredients
Just a few simple ingredients.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse the fish with water and dry it with a paper towel. Pat the inside cavity dry too. This will allow the oil and seasoning to absorb on the fish better. 

simple roast whole fish instructions

Drizzle and coat the fish, including the inside cavity, with oil. Lightly season the entire fish with garlic salt. The amount varies depending on the size of your fish. Always keep it on the less side because you can always add later, but you cannot take away if you’ve put too much. Do this on both sides of the fish. 

If you have the Trader Joe’s Umami Seasoning Blend, lightly season the entire fish, including the inside cavity, with the garlic salt. Again, keep it light! You can also use a lemon pepper seasoning or an all-purpose seasoning if you don’t have the umami seasoning. Just garlic salt will work too.

After seasoning both sides of the fish, stuff the onions, lemon or lime slices, ginger, and garlic into the fish’s cavity. If you have another fish,  prep the other fish too.

simple roast whole fish prep

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place your chopped vegetables onto the pan. Make sure you have enough room left for the fish. 

Drizzle and coat the veggies with oil and either balsamic or soy sauce. Lightly seasoned the vegetables with garlic salt. Put less garlic salt if you use soy sauce, more if you use balsamic vinegar. Mix well.

simple roast whole fish veggies

Spread the veggies along the sides of the pan and place the fish in the middle of the pan.

simple roast whole fish one pan meal

Put the pan into the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. When the time is up, remove from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. You can do an oven-to-table by serving it directly from the baking pan.

simple roast whole fish one pan meal
Easy and delicious one pan meal.
simple roast whole fish one pan meal
Tender, juicy, and full of flavor

I have done this to a few different types of fish. Whether I’m cooking one or two whole fish, a whole salmon fillet, or even large salmon steaks, I have done it exactly the same. 

Roasting it at 20 minutes at 400 degrees seems to do well for a large variety of fish. If you find yourself with a much thicker or larger fish to roast, start with 20 minutes at 400 degrees first. Add in 5 minutes increment until it is done to your liking.

roast whole salmon fillet one pan meal
Do the same with a whole salmon fillet.

I love roasting a whole fish on one pan. The fish always turns out tasty, and the kids think it’s fun to eat too. 

Planning a fishing trip? This is simple to do at your cabin, vacation rental, or even RV. Going camping instead? Prep the fish the same way, wrap it in a foil pouch and put it on the campfire grill. 

Have fish leftover? Turn it into a delicious fish salad. 

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