Being from a blue collar town in the Midwest, I initially imagined that putting seafood in a taco was something best reserved for Californian hipsters.
And then I actually had some fish tacos – flaky tilapia, creamy avocado, and bright mango salsa all wrapped up in warm, chewy corn tortillas. Excellent!
Since then, when I'm craving seafood, fish tacos are my go-to order.
I do have one gripe with most fish tacos I've ordered – the fish served in restaurants is almost always breaded and fried.
Now I'm not scared to eat an unhealthy meal once in a while, but I truly don't care for most fried foods.
They bring up bad memories of binging on carnival fare and the breading shares a flavor profile with everything else that's been plunged into the oil bath.
And frying anything at home is a complete pain in the ass.
So with that in mind, I set out to recreate this dish in my kitchen in a way that was healthier, simpler, but still totally delicious.
Let me tell you, it was an absolute struggle to resist scarfing these down long enough to take the necessary photos!
The nutritional info below is for fish tacos using tilapia with mango salsa and avocado.
|Serving size||4 tacos|
|Number of servings||2|
Preparing Fish Tacos
One perk of this recipe is how quickly it can be prepared from start to finish. From preheating your oven to shoveling down the fruits of your labor, it should take no more than 30 minutes.
To maximize your time, prepare the fish first and then throw together the mango salsa while the fish is baking.
- 1 pound of flaky white fish filets, thawed (I used tilapia)
- Cajun seasoning mix (full info below)
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1/2 an avocado, sliced into eighths (optional)
- Coconut oil, olive oil, or nonstick spray (to coat the baking dish)
For the spice mix, combine the following ingredients in a small bowl.
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
HEAT LEVEL: I'm not a huge fan of insanely spicy foods. Using the spices as listed above, my tacos weren't overpoweringly hot. The heat level sort of accumulated over the course of the meal, but it wasn't sweat inducing.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
(1) Lightly oil a 9×13 glass baking dish (or 8×8 dish if you halve the recipe) with coconut oil, olive oil, or non-stick cooking spray.
(2) Carefully rinse your fish filets under cool running water and then gently pat them dry with paper towel.
(3) Sprinkle half of the seasoning mix into the bottom of the dish. Lay your fish filets on top of the seasoning, pressing gently. Then apply the remaining spices to the top of the fish.
(4) Bake for 15 minutes.
While the fish is baking, prep your mango salsa.
Preparing Mango Salsa
- 1 mango, diced into 1/4-inch chunks
- 1/2 medium-sized red bell pepper, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/4 medium-sized red onion, diced into 1/8-inch pieces
- 1/2 a jalapeño, very finely diced
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- A few cilantro leaves, chopped or torn
- 1 tsp (or 1 clove) minced garlic
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
A note on dicing a mango
Start by cutting in half longways, avoiding the oblong seed in the center.
Take a half and, using a small knife, carefully score the fruit in a grid like pattern (1/4”) all the way to the skin (try not to cut through and avoid skewering your hand).
Once you have your cuts made, you can turn the half inside-out to expose the columns like I've done above.
These chunks of mango can then be cut from the skin and diced further if necessary.
(1) Dice the mango, red pepper, red onion, and jalapeño and tear the cilantro leaves as noted in the Ingredients section. Place all into a bowl.
(2) Add minced garlic, lime juice, and salt to the bowl. Stir gently to combine. Set aside while your fish finishes baking.
Putting it all together
Your fish should just be coming out of the oven around the time you've finished preparing the mango salsa.
Set the fish aside for a couple of minutes and warm your tortillas. Once that's done, they're ready for assembly!
I've found that using half of a 4 oz. filet is a good fit for each taco. I put it on there as a solid piece, but feel to use a fork to shred the fish into smaller pieces if you prefer.
Place 2 oz of fish into each tortilla and top with mango salsa. Add a slice of avocado if you like.
Now, since these baked fish tacos contain garlic (dried and fresh) and raw onion, they're obviously not a great choice for date night. But they're fantastic any other time.
As a bonus, they look as good as they taste so they're great if you want to invite friends over for dinner and impress them with your culinary skills.
All the best,