Cod Medallions with Penne Rigate (Gluten Free & for Kids!)

Gluten-free Breaded Cod Medallions with Penne and Marinara Sauce

Cod is a sound favorite among kids. We as parents know this, because we grew up with breaded cod on our school lunch plates.  We ate fish burgers from fast-food places like McDonalds, which served cod in its Fillet-O-Fish sandwiches from 1962 until the 1980s.  Overfishing of cod compelled the chain to switch to other white fish, such as hoki and pollack, according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund. With its long history as the ultimate kid fish, cod has cred among kids and their parents.

Cod and Sustainability
Monterey Bay’s “Seafood Watch” organization lists 21 fish that have “cod” in their market names. Given these varied fish species and their range of sustainability ratings (from “Best Choice” to “Avoid”), I suggest selecting Alaska Cod for your recipes. Alaska’s meticulous management of fish in its marine-protected areas help to ensure the health of the fish and the environment. Seafood Watch rates cod from “Best Choice” to “Good Alternative,” depending upon the catch methods. Buying Alaska seafood for my family means I don’t have to wonder if the fish is sustainable. I know the fish is a healthy choice because it’s from Alaska.

Cod and Mercury Levels
Potential mercury in seafood is a concern for all of us, but particularly for expectant mothers and  children aged 12 and under. The Environmental Defense Fund rates cod as having low to moderate levels of mercury and is safe for kids up to 5-years-old to eat four times a week. Kids aged 6-12 and their parents can eat four-plus servings per week.

Why Kids Will Like It
Besides the mild taste of cod, kids will like the crunchy bread coating and likely won’t mind a bit that it’s made from spelt toast. That means it’s a gluten-free coating. If you use rice pasta, the whole dish can be gluten free.

Recipe: Cod Medallions with Penne Rigate (Serves 4 young children)

Ingredients (Cod Medallions)
2 tablespoons light butter or margarine
2 slices French Meadow Organic 100% Spelt Bread, lightly toasted and crumbed in a food processor (substitute spelt bread with any gluten-free bread)
2 six-ounce fillets of cod, thawed and sliced in half
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

Ingredients (Penne Rigate with Marinara Sauce)
1 12-ounce package gluten-free Penne Rigate 
1 24-ounce jar Marinara sauce
1 tablespoon all-purpose, salt-free herb seasoning
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, shredded (optional)


  1. Melt butter or margarine in saute pan over medium-low heat. Add bread crumbs and mix throughly. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Season cod pieces with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and top each cod piece with a tablespoon of the buttered bread crumbs. Return to oven for another 5 minutes or so until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  3. Follow package directions for preparing the Penne Rigate. Heat the marinara sauce and spoon over cooked pasta. Top each serving of pasta and marinara sauce with a cod medallion.
  4. Top with the herb seasoning and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, if desired, and serve.

Veganize It!

Substitute firm or extra-firm tofu for the cod fish. Otherwise, follow the recipe as printed.
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