This delicious recipe for cod in tomato sauce has a rich and spicy tomato base, beans, olives and perfectly cooked fish. Plus, it’s made in one pot for easy cleanup! Serve with a big hunk of bread for dunking and you’re in for one delicious treat!
Stopping in with an easy seafood recipe that’s sure to be a fave.
With punch-ya-in-the-taste-bud flavours, like briny olives, tender cod, crushed red pepper flakes, and hearty beans, every bite is super satisfying.
I highly suggest serving with a big hunk of bread for dunking, getting every last drop of that tomato sauce.
And if you want to gild the lily here, serve with a glass of crisp white wine and you’re set!
Why You’ll Love This Cod in Tomato Sauce Recipe
- Made in one pot for easy cleanup
- Made with wholesome, simple, ingredients
- Tastes amazing! With a rich, slightly spicy, broth and a couple of special garnishes, it’s super satisfying.
How to Make Fish in Tomato Sauce
Full details are in the recipe card below, but here are the basics:
- Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook diced onion.
- Add minced garlic.
- Stir in tomato paste and cook for a minute or so.
- Pour in canned tomatoes and water (rinse out your can of tomatoes to get every last bit of that goodness).
- Add your seasonings.
- Mix in beans and olives.
- Cover ajar and cook until the sauce thickens a little.
- Season cod fillets with a little salt and pepper. Then, tuck them into the tomato sauce, fully submerging. Cover again and simmer until the cod has cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
- Garnish & enjoy! There you have it! You’ve made some tasty, easy fish in tomato sauce that you’re gonna love!
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Can I Use Another Type of Fish?
Most certainly! I used fresh boneless and skinless cod fillets, but halibut, tilapia, swordfish, or haddock would be lovely too.
Speaking of fish: fresh versus frozen. I tend to find that with frozen fish fillets, especially cod, they’re more watery upon thawing than fresh.
You can use either fresh or frozen in this recipe. Just keep in mind that the frozen will probably make things just a tad more liquidy.
Can I Use Something Besides Beans?
If you don’t need this to be gluten free or you want something besides beans, use gnocchi instead!
Just cook them separately and mix in with the tomato sauce once everything is done. Alternatively, portion the gnocchi and distribute the sauce over top.
More Recipe Tips and Variations
Cook time will vary depending on the thickness of your fillets. Cook until fish is completely cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
As mentioned, boneless & skinless cod fillets were used here. Still, check fish over for any bones and discard.
I tucked 4 cod fillets into the tomato sauce. You can easily add another one or two fillets if you like.
Because the spicy tomato sauce is such a predominant flavour here, use good quality canned tomatoes. San Marzano is always delicious.
Note: Crush the tomatoes with your hands so you are still left with visible chunks of tomato. It’s delish! You can dump them into a bowl and crush away. Plus, I find it oddly satisfying to crush tomatoes. I know, I’m an odd one.
If you want a thicker tomato sauce consistency, you can omit the water and reduce your tomatoes a little more before adding your fish.
Cans of tomatoes vary in salt content. Add salt to taste.
I opted to use 1 full teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, but you can use less of you aren’t a huge fan of spice or omit altogether. Alternatively, mix in some freshly minced chili (red Thai chili works great here).
Canned white kidney (aka cannellini beans) were used, but you can use navy beans or great northern beans instead.
Dried thyme was used in the sauce, but you can use 1 tablespoon of fresh if you prefer.
Add even more flavour with the addition of a tablespoon or so of capers.
- Freshly chopped parsley
- Freshly chopped thyme (lemon thyme is a really good garnish here. We have some growing in our garden at the moment and talk about good)
- Crushed red pepper flakes (aka ‘chili flakes’) or fresh chili
- Drizzle of lemon olive oil (so good). Lemon olive oil is my fave for this, but if you don’t have, that’s okay. Use a regular variety.
This recipe is super hearty and doesn’t need much, but some nicely toasted or grilled bread would be so good for mopping up that delicious tomato sauce.
Tip: After your bread is toasted, scrub a little fresh garlic clove over top to give a little extra oomph!
To make things even more substantial, serve in a shallow bowl over grits, polenta or mashed potatoes.
Serving with a mixed green salad would be yummy too.
More Easy Seafood Recipes
Hope you love this cod in tomato sauce recipe as much as we do!
If you try this easy cod recipe, be sure to leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed!
Cod in Tomato Sauce (with beans and olives)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion , peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (crushed with hands or potato masher before using, about 3 cups or a 796 millilitre can)
- ½ cup water , rinse out canned tomatoes with water and use that
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ teaspoon salt , divided
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper , divided
- ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like things)
- 19 ounce can cannellini beans , rinsed and drained (also known as 'white kidney beans', about 2 cups or a 540 millilitre can)
- ⅓ cup black olives , pitted and sliced ( I used 'kalamata')
- 1 to 2 tablespoons capers (optional)
- 1 ¼ pound boneless and skinless cod fillets , 4 fillets (about 4.5 to 5 ounces each)
- Freshly minced thyme or lemon thyme leaves (optional garnish)
- Drizzle of lemon olive oil (optional garnish)
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional garnish)
- Heat olive oil in a 12-inch pan (I used an enameled cast-iron pan, about 2.5 to 3 inches deep) over medium heat.
- Add onion and cook 5 minutes until softened.
- Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in canned tomatoes, water (rinse out tomato can with water and use that 'tomato water'), thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, beans, olives and capers (if using). Bring to a low simmer, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until things have reduced/thickened a little.Note: If you want less sauce (or a thicker consistency) omit the water and/or reduce your sauce a little longer to get a thicker consistency before adding your cod fillets.
- Season fillets with remaining ¼ teaspoon each of salt among all four pieces.
- Make 4 little wells in sauce and add cod fillets. Fully immerse them in the sauce, covering over.
- Cook 8 to 10 minutes (mostly covered, with cover just slightly ajar) on a medium simmer or until the fillets are cooked through, they're opaque and flake easily with a fork. Note: Cook time can vary, depending on your heat level and how thick your fillets are.
- Be careful when removing the fillets from the sauce as they are delicate. Best to use a large spatula here.
- Portion into bowls and serve with crusty bread or serve over creamy polenta or grits (if desired). Garnish with more thyme, crushed red pepper flakes and drizzle of lemon (or regular) olive oil (if desired). Enjoy!
Nutrition estimate (if provided) is based on 1 serving.
Nutrition information (if provided) is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an estimate only. Ingredients can vary and Girl Heart Food makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are guidelines only.