This cod poached in tomato sauce is a healthy high protein dinner recipe ready in 30 minutes or less. Poaching fish is one of the easiest ways to cook fish on the stovetop! Gently poached cod fish is flaky, tender, and moist. The fish absorbs some of the flavor from the poaching liquid, which in this recipe is a simple marinara tomato sauce.

Serve over rice or orzo with a simple side salad for a well-balanced, satisfying weeknight dinner.

poached cod in tomato sauce in a stainless steel saute pan

Looking for a super easy fish recipe? This tomato poached cod is for you!

Poaching is a moist heat cooking method that gently cooks food in a simmering liquid. When you poach fish, it becomes flaky, silky, and tender.

You can poach fish in water or broth, but it is especially delicious when poached in tomato sauce because it soaks up some of the flavors of the sauce.

As a Registered Dietitian, I try to include fish in my diet a few times a week because it’s packed with nutrients like protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Some of my other go-to cod recipes include baked cod with lemon and capers, pesto cod foil packets, and crispy oven baked cod crusted in panko.

This poached cod has become a staple in my house because it’s a foolproof recipe, takes 30 minutes or less to prepare, and tastes delicious and fresh.

I use my simple homemade marinara sauce, but to make this recipe even faster, you can use your favorite store bought tomato sauce.

This recipe makes 3 servings. It is gluten free, soy free, nut free, and dairy free.

poached cod ingredients measured out

Ingredients

Everything you need to make cod poached in tomato sauce:

  • Cod fish: Cod is a flaky white fish with a very mild flavor. I used cod fillets. If you prefer a thicker piece of fish, you can make this recipe with cod loin, which is a thick cut of cod. Just increase the cook time by a few minutes.
  • Lemon: You’ll pre-season the cod fish with fresh lemon juice before you poach it.
  • Canned crushed tomatoes: The base of the tomato sauce is canned crushed tomatoes. Since the tomato sauce ingredients are are so simple, be sure to buy high quality canned tomatoes. Two of my favorites are this brand and this brand.
  • Yellow or white onion: Sauteed onion helps build the base flavor of homemade tomato sauce.
  • Garlic: Garlic is another flavor builder when making tomato sauce.
  • Basil: Fresh basil adds earthly sweetness to the sauce.
  • Oregano: I’ve made tomato sauce using both dried and fresh oregano – both are great. It’s an important ingredient that makes tomato sauce feel like SAUCE and not just stewed tomatoes.
  • Salt: Salt helps enhance the flavors in this recipe. You’ll use it to season the raw cod fish and in the tomato sauce.
  • Pepper: A little pepper helps season the raw cod fish before you cook it.
  • Olive oil: For cooking the tomato sauce.
  • Red pepper flakes: An optional pinch of red pepper flakes adds a bit of heat.

Kitchen equipment needed for poached fish

  • Stainless steel saute pan, 12 inch, or large pot with deep sides
  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife, 6 or 8 inch
  • Can opener
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Step-by-step instructions

Diced onion and garlic cooking in a stainless steel saute pan
1. Cook onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan for 2-3 minutes.
canned tomatoes cooking in stainless steel saute pan
2. Add the canned crushed tomatoes to the pan along with the salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
tomato marinara sauce cooking in a stainless steel pan
3. Stir the basil and oregano into the tomato sauce.
two cod fillets on a white plate
4. While the sauce is cooking on the stovetop, pat the cod dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
two cod fillets in a pan with tomato sauce
5. With the tomato sauce barely simmering over low-medium heat, nestle the cod fillets into the sauce and cover.
poached cod fillets in tomato sauce in saute pan
6. Cook the fish until it easily flakes with a fork and is opaque.

Cook time will depend on how thick your fish is.

A thin cod fillet will cook in 5-8 minutes, and a thicker piece of cod loin may need closer to 10 minutes.

You’ll know the fish is cooked when the flesh easily flakes with a fork, and is no longer translucent.

You can also use an instant read thermometer to double check your fish is cooked to a safe temperature – 145° F.

Storage

This cod recipe is best served right after it is prepared, but you can store leftover cod in the tomato sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.

Serving suggestions

This tomato poached cod is delicious served over orzo or rice, with plenty of the tomato sauce!

You can serve it alongside a simple vegetable side, like a salad or roasted veggies. Here are some suggestions that would pair well from around the blog:

white ceramic bowl with tomato poached cod and orzo, surrounded by ingredients

Cod nutrition benefits

Cod is a high quality source of lean protein.

A 3 ounce serving of cod provides 15 grams or protein! The same serving of cod has other nutrients:

  • 0.77 mcg vitamin B12 (32% of your daily needs)
  • 1.754 mg niacin (11% of your daily needs)
  • 172.55 mg phosphorus (25% of your daily needs)
  • 28.14 mcg selenium (day 51% of your daily needs)

Cod is a low mercury fish. This means you can safely eat cod a few times per week!

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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white ceramic bowl with tomato poached cod and orzo, surrounded by ingredients

Quick & Healthy Poached Cod in Tomato Sauce

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  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 3
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
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Description

This cod poached in tomato sauce is a healthy high protein dinner recipe ready in 30 minutes or less. Poaching fish is one of the easiest ways to cook fish on the stovetop! Gently poached cod fish is flaky, tender, and moist. The fish absorbs some of the flavor from the poaching liquid, which in this recipe is a simple marinara tomato sauce.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds cod, fillets or loin
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Tomato sauce

  • 23 tbsp olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of your pan)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, to add a little heat)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried oregano)


Instructions

  1. Prep the cod: Pat the cod fish dry with a paper towel. Squeeze lemon juice onto the cod, and salt and pepper both sides. Set aside on a plate.
  2. Make the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch stainless steel saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, until fragrant and the onion is translucent. 
  4. Add the canned crushed tomatoes and salt, plus the red pepper flakes is using. Stir to combine.
  5. Increase the heat to bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let the tomatoes cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. In the final 5 minutes of cooking, add the basil and oregano. Stir the herbs into the sauce.
  7. Add more salt to taste.
  8. Poach the cod: With the sauce over low-medium heat and just simmering, gently nestle the pieces of cod into the sauce.
  9. Cover and let the cod cook until it easily flakes with a fork and is opaque. Cook time will depend on the thickness of the fish: a thin cod fillet will cook in 5-8 minutes, and a thick piece of cod loin may need closer to 10 minutes.
  10. Use a fish spatula to portion the cod into 3 servings. Be sure to serve each piece of fish with plenty of the tomato sauce!
  11. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper and chopped parsley, if desired.

I love to serve this recipe over orzo!

Notes

You can use an instant read thermometer to double check your fish is cooked to a safe temperature – 145° F.