Your Favorite Recipes with a Fish Twist

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Introducing a new kind of meat or seafood into your diet can be hard, especially if you’re new to cooking or you’re nervous to stray from a few go-to recipes you know always please your family. The great thing about Tilapia, though, is that it’s mild taste, high nutrient content and versatility allow it to easily be added to some of your favorite dishes without any fuss. We prefer Fresh Tilapia from Mexico and Honduras available at Kroger, Safeway and Walmart  or Kirkland Frozen Tilapia from Costco. Introducing the fish as a healthier alternative to beef or pork may be easier than you think! Whether you’re making the change for yourself or for your family, here are some of the best ways to integrate Tilapia into the classic dishes you already know and love.

Tilapia Sloppy Joes

Photo credit: Ricardo Cuisine

If you’re watching your sodium and cholesterol intake, swapping out beef for Tilapia in your Sloppy Joes may be a good place to start. Thanks to this recipe from Ricardo Cuisine, making that switch is quite simple. This healthy alternative have a lower calorie count than your normal Sloppy Joe while still packing a mean punch of protein!

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil

  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) chili powder

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) cider vinegar

  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) brown sugar

  • 1 398 ml can (14 oz) diced tomatoes

  • 1 540 ml can (19 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 675 g (1 ½ lb) Tilapia fillets, skinless

  • Toasted hamburger buns

  • Sliced pickles

  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. You’ll need a large skillet. After heating with half of the olive oil, sauté the onions and peppers until they’re brown. Afterwards, mix in the chili powder and garlic and cook for about one minute. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, tomatoes and beans and bring it all to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Keep warm.

  2. In a different non-stick skillet, brown the Tilapia in the other half of the olive oil. Season both sides with salt and pepper and be sure to flip to cook evenly. Remove from the heat and break the fish into pieces with a fork. Stir in the mixture made in the larger skillet.

  3. Place the completed mixture onto the bottom bun and top with pickles. Cover with the top bun and serve.

Crispy Tilapia Fingers with Lemon & Garlic Mayonnaise

Photo credit: Once Upon a Chef

Chicken strips and fish and chips are both pub food staples and great meals to have in your culinary tool belt. While they’re quite simple, they’re filling and also easy to choose when you don’t know what exactly you’re craving. This simple Tilapia alternative dreamed up by Once Upon a Chef is so satisfying and even includes a homemade sauce. Plus, it doesn’t involve any frying which is great for cutting down on extra fats while helping save you from a messy cleanup.

Ingredients for Tilapia Fingers:

  • 2 pounds of Tilapia fillets

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 eggs, beaten

  • 2 cups panko

  • Salt

  • Ground black pepper

  • Olive oil

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Instructions for the Tilapia Fingers:

  1. To make the Tilapia into fingers, first cut the fillets in half. You’ll end up with two thin sides that you want to keep long. The thicker ends need to be cut in half again on a diagonal so they appear longer.

  2. To streamline the battering process, set it up like an assembly line with three bowls. One with flower, one with beaten eggs and the last with panko.

  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. The next three steps should be done in even coats. Use one hand to cover the Tilapia fingers in flour and use the same hand for eggs. Use the second hand to coat the fingers in Tilapia (this is to avoid getting too messy). Then place the breaded Tilapia fingers onto the baking sheet covered in foil and season it them salt and pepper. Refrigerate them until you’re ready to cook.

  4. Be sure to line a plate with a few sheets of paper towel and put it by the stove.

  5. Using a large non-stick sauté pan, heat a generous amount of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, place fingers in the pan and be sure to do this in batches so you do not crown the pan. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes and then place on the plate with the paper towels. Repeat until the fingers are done. Serve with Lemon & Garlic Mayo.

Ingredients for the Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann’s or Duke’s

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon

  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions for the Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise:

  1. Mix the mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

Photo credit: AllRecipies

Tilapia is a great substitute for chicken due to the fact that it’s rich in protein and low in calories—plus it’s affordable when you’re feeding a large family! The added Omega-3s don’t hurt either. When it comes to chicken parmesan, the meal itself can be heavy, but by adding a lighter, flakier substitute, the cheese and fish make for a much healthier meal. The good folks at AllRecipies have a recipe that’ll make you forget about anything that “tastes like chicken” and will instead have you adding more fish to your diet!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt

  • 2 pounds Tilapia fillets

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven on the “broiler” setting and grease a broiling pan or line any oven friendly pan with aluminum foil.

  2. Mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season the mix with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt and mix it all together.

  3. Place Tilapia fillets in the broil pan in a single layer. Be sure to broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the filets and repeat.

  4. Take the pan out of the oven and cover one side of the filets with the Parmesan cheese mixture made earlier.

  5. Broiled for about 2 minutes or until the Parmesan layer is browned and the Tilapia filet is flaky. Do not overcook the fish!

Tilapia Tots

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Essentially a mix between meatballs and tater tots, this recipe for Tilapia Tots by 24-7 Low Carb Diner will win over even the pickiest of eaters. With its recognizable shape and texture, this dish is probably one of the easiest ways to introduce Tilapia to your kids without even telling them it’s fish. As a result, you and your family can enjoy the health benefits of fish while taking out the starch that tater tots are normally packed with. It’s a win-win!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tilapia fillets

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup almond meal

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Bake the plain fillets until they’re easy pulled apart by a fork at its thickest point.

  2. Place them in a medium bowl and flake the fillets as best you can. Let them cool for 5 minutes then add eggs and cheese to the mixture.

  3. In a separate, smaller bowl, create a different mix consisting of almond meal, baking powder, lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt. Afterwards, mix the two bowls together in the larger of the two bowls.

  4. Use a cake pop maker to shape the mixture into perfect spheres.

  5. Bake for 5 minutes or, if pan frying, melt some coconut oil in a skillet until hot. Fry until brown and crispy.

Tilapia Quesadillas with Guacamole

Photo credit: My Colombian Recipes

Quesadillas are filled with cheesy goodness and prove to be a favorite in many American households. This recipe by My Colombian Recipes makes for a great, tasty family meal, especially if you have small children at home. The guacamole accents the mild fish perfectly and definitely brings the meal together.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tilapia fillets

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 tablespoon flour

  • 8 flour tortillas

  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

  • 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

  • Vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

  • Guacamole for serving

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the fish: Place the fillets in a bowl and add lime juice. Ensuring you get both sides of the fillet, season with paprika, cumin, garlic, onion, chili powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour on both sides of the fillet and get rid of any excess by shaking it off. Once the fillets are seasoned, add them to the pan and cook for about three minutes or until golden brown. Then flip the fillet over and repeat. After the fish is cooked, break the fillets into small pieces and keep them warm.

  2. Prepare the quesadillas: On a clean counter, spread out tortillas evenly. Being sure to only cover the bottom half of the tortilla, cover with the cooked fish, sprinkle with cheese and add a little bit of cilantro. Fold the empty half over the filling and press down firmly, but don’t press too hard. After all of the tortillas are folded, brush a pan with oil. Cook the quesadillas for about two minutes on each side or until they are lightly toasted. To keep them warm while you cook the others, place them on a baking sheet and put it in a warm oven while you cook the rest.

  3. Serve with guacamole.

Next time you’re looking to put a healthy twist on some of your favorite dishes, turn to Tilapia. You’re going to love what you discover!

Feature image: Meal Makeover Moms