Halibut with Watercress Pesto and Cannellini Beans

Ingredients (14)

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans (about 2 1/2 cups), drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch watercress, long stems trimmed and washed
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into small dice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot (from about 1/2 medium)
  • 4 (6-ounce) Pacific halibut fillets, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 8 thin lemon slices
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Nutritional Information
  • Calories693
  • Fat12.73g
  • Saturated fat2.08g
  • Trans fat
  • Carbs86.08g
  • Fiber22.16g
  • Sugar5.92g
  • Protein62.96g
  • Cholesterol83.35mg
  • Sodium201.29mg
  • Nutritional Analysis per serving (4 servings) Powered by

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Halibut with Watercress Pesto and Cannellini Beans

This filling, flavorful, and healthy fish dish calls for broiling meaty halibut fillets with thin lemon rounds. The accompanying beans are flecked with sweet bell peppers and shallots, then coated with a fresh pestolike sauce made with watercress.

What to buy: If you can’t find cannellini beans (also called white kidney beans), use Great Northern beans instead.

This recipe was featured as part of our Healthy Cooking recipe slideshow.

Tips for Fish and Beans


  1. 1Heat the oven to broil and arrange a rack in the upper third. Place the beans in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. 2Place 2 tablespoons of the beans, the watercress, parsley, capers, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and season with salt and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. With the motor running, add the water, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and 4 teaspoons of the oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse a few times to combine. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of beans and stir to evenly coat the beans.
  3. 3Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the bell pepper and shallot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add the bean mixture, and stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Set aside while you prepare the fish.
  4. 4Drizzle the remaining 1 teaspoon oil over both sides of the halibut and season all over, including the sides of the fillets, with salt and pepper. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, lay 2 slices of lemon (overlapping if necessary) over each piece of fish, and broil until the fillets are cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. To serve, add the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the reserved bean mixture, stir to combine, and divide among 4 plates. Place a piece of halibut with lemon slices on top of each serving of beans.
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