BLACKENED FISH TACOS
Well I may have missed #TacoTuesday, but these Blackened Fish Tacos are good any day! Even the hubby (who claims to hate tilapia), raves about these. Think blackened flaky fish served in lightly crisp corn tortillas, with crunchy cabbage, crumbly cotija cheese, and a light avocado crema. Yum! May sound gourmet… but they’re ready in 20 minutes or less 😉
Did you know? It’s best to buy “antibiotic free” tilapia farmed in the U.S., Canada, or Ecuador since they tend to have the least water pollution and disease. “Wild-caught” is often thought to be more nutritious than farmed, but in this case, farmed tilapia is actually lower in PCBs (potential carcinogens) and almost identical in terms of nutrition compared to wild.
The best blackened seasoning
Tilapia is a “plain and boring” fish LOL. Think of it as a blank slate that’s just begging for some flavor! In this dish, I used a combination of smoked paprika, kosher salt, onion powder, dried oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and ground cumin; plus a generous squeeze of lime while cooking for good measure. The result is a flavorful, lightly crisp, flaky fillet with little to no “fishy” flavor! My preferred cooking oil is avocado oil because it’s safe for high heat cooking and rich in healthy monounsaturated fats.
We have made them both with store-bought blackened seasoning and my own mix, and we agree the homemade seasoning is better. These tacos are best made fresh, but if pressed for time, you can prep the fish up to three days in advance and portion taco fixings into three separate containers. Just store the tortillas separately so they don’t get soggy.
Buying the best tilapia
Part of the trick for tilapia that’s actually delicious is buying good quality fillets. I already mentioned why it’s better to buy farmed than wild tilapia. In addition, I always look for fillets labeled “antibiotic free,” meaning they were not exposed to diseased fish.
While tilapia is not particularly high omega-3’s, it is low in mercury (especially compared to mahi-mahi and ahi tuna), high in protein, and low in fat, making it a healthy, affordable choice.
Is tilapia good for you?
I have read a couple studies that say tilapia is inflammatory since it’s higher in omega-6 fats and low in omega-3 fats (“even worse for you than bacon” LOL)… but one four-ounce fillet has only 2 grams of fat, so it’s not going to have a huge impact on your blood lipids.
If you’re serious about lowering inflammatory omega-6 fats in your diet, limit processed foods loaded with vegetable oil, soybean oil and corn oil. That’s your problem – not eating too many fish tacos! That said, if you just hate tilapia, these tacos would also be great with snapper, grouper, flounder, halibut or cod.
The best tortillas
Oh and I found the best corn tortillas (gluten-free) by Casa Valdez for these tacos! Only three ingredients: corn, lime, and salt. Such a breath of fresh air in a tortilla aisle loaded with preservatives, mold inhibitors, and artificial colors! Of course, you can also use flour tortillas. We love them lightly toasted in a nonstick skillet with coconut oil cooking spray!
The best cheese
Cotija cheese is just a crumbly Mexican cheese kind of like feta only more mild. If you can’t find it, use queso fresco, feta or goat cheese! Or even vegan cheese if you’re intolerant to dairy. You could also leave out the cheese, but it’s sooo good.
Here’s the printable recipe for these Blackened Fish Tacos! Please rate or comment below if you try it 🙂
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Blackened Fish Tacos
- 12 oz. tilapia fillets* fresh or thawed
- 2 tsp. avocado oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. blackened seasoning*
- 6 small corn tortillas*
- 1 1/2 cup purple cabbage shredded
- 6 tbsp. fresh cilantro
- 3 oz. coitja cheese or queso fresco* crumbled
- Lime wedges
- 4 oz. (1 medium) avocado pitted and peeled
- 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt can use dairy-free yogurt
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro
- Dash hot sauce optional
- Water as needed to thin sauce
Blackened seasoning (can use store-bought):
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
*See blog post above for substitutions.
- Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Coat fish that has been thawed and patted dry with blackened seasoning. If making your own seasoning, combine spices in a bowl and gently rub over fish.
- Cook fish for 2-3 minutes per side, until flesh flakes easily with a fork.
- Blend together avocado sauce ingredients, adding water as needed to get a pourable consistency.
- Wash and chop cabbage, wash and trim cilantro, wash and slice limes.
- If desired, toast tortillas in a nonstick skillet using cooking spray.
- Assemble tacos with cabbage, fish pieces, cilantro, avocado sauce, queso fresco, and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!
- These tacos are best enjoyed fresh, but the fish and sauce can be prepared up to three days in advance for quicker assembly.
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