These baked foil fish packets are one of my healthiest (and easiest!) recipes.
I have had a lot of jobs. For real. I’m sort of amazed that I’ve stuck with blogging for over two years! Besides parenting, this is the longest I’ve ever stayed with the same job. Before I was 18, I had already worked as a cashier in a few different places and a tour guide at a historic home. I think I changed majors about four times while I was an undergrad and finished with a zoology degree that I would never end up using. (I was a terrible biology student.) While I was in school, I did everything from taking care of baby deer and bobcats for the wildlife department to scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins. After realizing my poor choice of major, I went straight into grad school to study information systems while working in the university IT department. I actually liked that job, but it couldn’t last since we were California bound.
After three more database programming jobs in about two years, I decided that wasn’t the career for me, and I started working as a veterinary assistant. I worked in vet clinics while I went to school, then decided I was tired of it right around the time I finished my vet tech degree and got my certification. Next, I moved on to being a dog walker and personal assistant for a wealthy couple in San Francisco, which is what brings me to the topic of these baked foil fish packets.
As part of my assistant duties, I cooked dinner for them once a week. This foil-wrapped fish was one of the meals I made. They even served it to guests, and everyone raved about it! I used to make it on a bed of spinach, which is how I prepared it for them, but I switched to asparagus since the spinach can get a bit overcooked and discolored. I like this version even better!
This meal is easy to assemble ahead of time, and then you can just bake it when it’s time for dinner. It goes great with rice pilaf or scalloped potatoes if you feel the need to have a starch on your plate (like me). Tilapia or sole work well since they cook quickly, so you don’t have to worry about serving undercooked fish. Impress everyone at the table with this fancy dinner that is actually very easy to make!
I made this step-by-step photo tutorial (using spinach instead of asparagus) back in 2013, probably with my iPhone. The photos may not be top quality, but I’m leaving them in because they are still useful if not pretty!
Foil Fish Packets with Spinach and Tomato
These healthy and easy fish packets are easy to make ahead and bake when you’re ready for dinner!
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- 1 bunch of asparagus trimmed
- 2 campari or roma tomatoes sliced
- 2 tilapia fillets about 6 ounces each
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce found in Asian section of grocery store
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus a few pinches more
- 1 lemon sliced into thin rounds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Tear off two 2-foot-long sheets of aluminum foil. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, chili sauce, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt.
- Place asparagus spears down the center of each piece of foil, and lay sliced tomato evenly on top. Sprinkle with a couple pinches of kosher salt.
- Place one fish fillet on top of tomatoes in each packet, and spread fish with olive oil mixture. Arrange lemon slices over the fish.
- Fold the two long sides of foil to the center and fold to make a seam. Crimp the short ends to seal the packet completely. Place sealed packets on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
- Very carefully open one end of each packet and pour off any excess liquid before opening fully. Be careful because there will be a lot of steam! Open packet, and slide spatula under the entire fish/tomato/asparagus assembly to transfer to serving plate.
If you find that the fish is undercooked when you open the packet, you can stick it under the broiler for an additional 3-5 minutes or until done.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 30
If tutorials are your thing, why not follow me on YouTube? I share all my new video tutorials there. Here are more easy and healthy dinner ideas:
Cindy Clark says
what about using parchment paper instead of foil
Laura Rutter says
Can I prep and assemble the packets the night before? With olive oil and wine and veggies, will anything get weird and mushy?
I just started a Mediterranean diet! Tasty healthy foods and easy to stay on track! Making this tonight!
Andi Gleeson says
This is perfect for the mediterranean diet. I hope you enjoyed it!
The preparation of this meal is so easy, and the results so good, that we were immediately brainstorming other flavor combinations the moment we started eating. The fish is rubbed with a garlic and herb butter, placed atop asparagus, wrapped in foil and baked.
Andi Gleeson says
Hi, Dyson. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it, and I love that you are thinking of your own versions. Thank you, and have a great weekend!
This may be a silly question but, when putting the undercooked fish in the broiler do you leave the packet open or closed?
Hi, just wondering how you prepare this ahead of time? Do you make the packets and place them in the freezer? Or just make them the day or morning before you cook them? Thanks!
Hi, Brandi! Yes, I just make them earlier in the day and put them in the refrigerator. Hope that helps!
Carla (@charliesue) says
AW, you’re had SO MANY jobs! That’s amazing! I once applied to be a veterinary assistant and it was the only job I’ve never been offered after interviewing. (They TOTALLY should have hired me.)
This salmon looks perfectly tender! I love foil packets- it can be so hard to cook fish and they make it much, much simpler.
They should have hired you, but maybe you should be glad. It’s really hard, dirty work for little pay or respect! It is nice to feel like you are helping the animals though. Thank you, Carla!
Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats says
This looks divine Andi! Love the fresh vegetables you add to this to amp it up a little bit!
Thanks so much, Krista!
Haha I kept changing majors in school too and my husband is the same way. He gets bored and moves around jobs a lot too since he says it keeps it interesting :) This fish dish looks fantastic! I love how easy it is to prepare too!
Hi, Kelly! I get bored, or if there is too much drama with the staff, I want to get the heck out of there. I do much better working on my own. I’m not a team player ;)
I can’t wait to try this recipe! It sounds delicious and quick to make!
We live in the southeast and it gets pretty hot here in the summer so I use the grill as much as I can so we don’t heat up the house. Have you ever put the packets on the grill?
Hi, Alison. I think that should work fine! Do you have one of those top shelf things in your grill? I would think putting them there with the lid closed would be the same as putting them in the oven. Thank you!
(P.S. I’m from Mississippi, so I feel you on the hot summers!)
Thanks for the tip Andi! I’ll try this recipe using the top shelf.
Have you ever tried swai in the fish packets? I bought a large bag of frozen filets– and it doesn’t work to bread and fry them… so I’ve been trying to figure out how to use it up!
Hi, Jennifer. I haven’t cooked with swai, but after a bit of research, it looks like it’s a good swap for tilapia. I think the cooking time should be about the same, so give it a try! Thank you :)
Becky | The Cookie Rookie says
I’ve been wanting to try something like this!! LOVE it and it looks SOOO delicious! Drooling!
Thank you so much, Becky!!
Oh my gosh, Andi I loved reading about all you’ve done! I think all your experience is wonderful! A degree in zoology huh? That is so awesome! This fish is pretty awesome too! I love the foil packet and I think the asparagus is a great choice.
I don’t think I could even list all the jobs I’ve ever had because there are so many! Thank you so much, Tanya! xo
Heather | girlichef says
You are a jill of many trades! I got a good giggle out of that Beverly Hillbillies pic ;). I do love fish en papillote – it never, ever fails to impress. Plus, it’s such a healthy cooking method. This sounds delicious!
I still feel like a hillbilly sometimes even though I’ve been in San Francisco for 15 years! Thank you, Heather!
Jessica @ Sprinkle Some Sugar says
I need to get over my fear of fish and try your recipes already! How about you send me a sample? ;) Love how you can prepare these ahead of time!
There’s nothing to fear, Jessica! If you don’t want to eat fish on its own and like Thai flavors, I would recommend trying my Thai Salmon Salad. It’s one of my very favorite meals! Thank you so much :)