Love Fish? Easy Tilapia Recipes You Can Make for Dinner
If you’re trying to get your suggested two servings of fish per week, you may want to put some tilapia on your plate. This affordable, mild-tasting fish is one of the most popular seafoods in the United States after perennial favorites like shrimp, salmon, and tuna, according to the National Fisheries Institute. While some have raised concerns about whether farm-raised tilapia is really healthy (it doesn’t have many of the heart-healthy omega-3s you’ll find in salmon, for one), it is a low-fat source of protein. From an environmental perspective, tilapia from the U.S., Canada, Ecaudor, or Peru is your best choice, according to Seafood Watch.
Once you have your fillets in hand, try one of these five tilapia recipes, which are perfect for quick weeknight dinners.
1. Roasted Tilapia in Sweet Asian Chile Sauce
Roasting can dry out delicate fish if you’re not careful, but that’s not a problem with this tilapia recipe from The Jersey Cook. Wrapping the fillets in foil packets keeps the fish tender while also letting it soak up the delicious sweet chili sauce as it cooks.
- 4 tilapia fillets, about 4 ounces each
- 2 tablespoons fresh ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
- 2 green onions (green part only), finely chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or other mild-tasting oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Tear off four sheets of aluminum foil, each about 1 foot long. Place a tilapia fillet in the center of each piece of foil.
Add the ginger, garlic, green onion tops, parsley or cilantro, sriracha, vegetable oil, maple syrup or honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, and fish sauce to a bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour an equal amount of sauce over each piece of tilapia.
Wrap the tilapia fillets by folding the short end of the foil towards the center. Crimp together in the middle, then fold down the seam 2 or 3 times. Fold the long ends toward the middle.
Transfer the packets of fish to an oven-safe dish, then place in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. (The longer cooking time yields a firmer fish.) Remove dish from oven and let fish rest for 5 minutes before opening the packets and transferring to plates. Serve with vegetables and rice.
2. Tilapia Po’ Boys
Traditional po’ boys are often made with fried shrimp or oysters, but this version from My Life as a Mrs. is prepared with fried tilapia fillets and served with a homemade remoulade. For best results, buy a couple of just-baked loaves of high-quality French bread from your favorite bakery for your sandwiches — you’ll be able to taste the difference.
For the remoulade
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons dill relish
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 1 scallion, chopped
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
For the fish
- 1 pound tilapia filets, halved
- Canola oil for frying
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup corn meal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
For the sandwiches
- 1 to 2 loaves of French bread
- Iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 2 to 3 tomatoes, sliced
- Hot sauce
Directions: Add all the ingredients for the remoulade to a small bowl. Mix to combine, then set aside.
Add ¼ inch of vegetable oil to skillet. Heat over medium-high until oil reaches a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a shallow dish, beat 2 eggs. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, corn meal, and seasonings. Dredge each piece of tilapia in the flour mixture, then the egg, then the flour mixture again.
Add fish to the skillet. (Do not overcrowd the pan; you may need to cook in batches). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until fish is golden in color, then flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove fish and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
To assemble, cut the bread into sandwich-sized pieces. Slice each piece lengthwise, then spread with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the remoulade. Add fried tilapia, some shredded lettuce, tomato slices, and hot sauce (if desired). Serve immediately.
3. Tilapia Ceviche
Save this simple tilapia ceviche for nights when it’s too hot to turn on the stove. Fresh fish marinates in just-squeezed lime juice, then is tossed with tomato, cucumber, onion, and cilantro and served on grilled tostadas with avocado slices for a light and healthy dish. Recipe from Food Network.
- 2 pounds tilapia fillets, finely diced
- 1 cup lime juice
- ½ cup seeded chopped tomato
- ½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup clam-tomato juice, such as Clamato (optional)
- 1 tablespoon bottled hot sauce, such as Huichol (optional)
- 1 serrano chile (optional)
- 6 corn tortillas (if making your own grilled tostadas) or 6 store-bought tostadas
- Mayonnaise, for spreading
- 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
Directions: Put the tilapia in a medium bowl. Pour the lime juice over the fish and mix gently to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until the fish is white throughout, about 15 to 20 minutes.
As the fish marinates, make the tostadas. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Put the tortillas on the grill or grill pan, and let them dry out until they are crunchy.
Remove the tilapia from the refrigerator and drain off the lime juice, gently squeezing the fish with your hands. Discard the lime juice. Add the tomato, cucumber, onion, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the clam-tomato juice and the hot sauce and chile, if using.
Spread the tostadas generously with mayonnaise and top with the ceviche. Arrange the avocado slices on top of the ceviche and serve immediately with the lime wedges alongside.
4. Blackened Tilapia Baja-Style Tacos
Pass on the deep-fried fillets you often find in fish tacos and stuff your tortillas with blackened tilapia instead. Finish off your tacos with sour cream, avocado, jalapeño, and onion for a simple and refreshing meal. This recipe from Cooking Light yields 4 servings of two tacos each.
- ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced white onion
- 1½ teaspoons paprika
- 1½ teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
- 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- 1/2 ripe peeled avocado, thinly sliced
- 4 lime wedges
Directions: Combine sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeño in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine jalapeño sauce and onion in a small bowl.
Combine paprika and next six ingredients (through ground red pepper); sprinkle evenly over fish. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
Warm tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish, onion mixture, and avocado evenly among tortillas. Serve with lime wedges.
5. Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia Fillets
Even non-fish-eaters will love these simple Parmesan-crusted tilapia fillets, which go from counter to table in less than 20 minutes. To make your life even easier, line your baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper for a speedy cleanup. You can serve the cooked fish with vegetables and a side of potatoes, pasta, or rice for a complete meal. Recipe from Allrecipes.com.
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 tilapia fillets
- Olive oil
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a oven-safe dish or baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Add the Parmesan cheese, paprika, parsley, salt, and pepper to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Lightly coat each tilapia fillet with olive oil, then press into the Parmesan cheese mixture, coating both sides. Arrange fish in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
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