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Simple. Fast. Delicious. This is the beauty of the fish taco. Whether it’s taco Tuesday or any other average day of the week, if you’re looking to throw down a gourmet looking and tasting meal in 30 minutes or less, this is your dish. Add in that it has great health benefits for Multiple Sclerosis and we are completely sold.

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Pan Seared Fish Tacos
Pan Seared Fish Tacos

Why We Love the Pan Seared Fish Taco

We love the fish taco because it’s simple and tasty. That easy. It’s a basic build – start with a fresh pan-seared, pan fried or air fried, filet of fish wrapped in a warm tortilla. Top that with a cilantro slaw and finish it off with la crema. The heat off the spice of the fish meets the citrus from the sauce and the crisp sweetness of the slaw and you’re in flavor heaven. Squeeze on some lime, maybe dabble on some pico… Is your stomach rumbling yet?

What Ingredients Are You Going to Need?

The ingredients list for the fish taco is simple as well. Tilapia fillets and and tortillas are the foundation. For the fish itself you’ll need some salt, pepper, chipotle spice, and a little olive oil. You’ll also need a sautee pan. We love the Ninja Foodie Never Stick Sautee Pan, as it heats incredibly easy, is consistent in its cooking, and the fillets do not stick to the pan and char.

Ingredients for Pan Seared Fish Tacos
Ingredients for Pan Seared Fish Tacos

If you’re home making the slaw the ingredients list is a little longer. Get yourself some purple cabbage, shredded carrots, cilantro, red onion, mayo, lime juice, jalapenos, sugar, and a little salt. Beauty is, you can easily pick up a base slaw mix at the store and add in the rest of the ingredients if you don’t feel like chopping everything up. Once you’ve got your ingredients ready, it’s a simple mix and refrigerate for 30 minutes so the flavors can all marinate.

The Chipotle Lime Crema requires sour cream, lime juice, chipotle power and some lime zest. you can again substitute yogurt for the sour cream. It will change the flavor just a little bit, but it will definitely do the trick.

Making Your Pan Seared Fish Tacos

All right, let’s get cooking! We’re going to take you through making the actual fish here, then give some quick directions for the Cilantro Slaw and the Lime Crema. If you’re in a hurry or just wanting to start with the fish, you can definitely pick up a pre-made slaw and Crema at the store, so stick with your comfort level and time frame.

Pan seared fish tacos are really about flavoring and pan searing the fish. The great thing is, making the fish is incredibly simple.

Start by patting your fish fillets dry with a paper towel. This keeps the fish from releasing moisture as it cooks and allows for a nice flaky texture to your fish when finished.

Blend your salt, pepper, and chipotle spice so it is evenly mixed. This is where you’re going to get your heat, so add the chipotle spice lightly if you don’t want as much heat, adding more to taste if you want a little more spice on your tongue.

Lightly brush olive oil on both sides of your tilapia filets. Generously sprinkle the spice mix on each side of the fillets so that it is evenly distributed across the fish.

Flavoring Tilapia Fillets
Flavoring Tilapia Fillets

Heat your skillet to medium high. We love to cook on the Duxtop Portable Induction Burner as it creates an even temperature as allows us to easily control the heat on the pan.

Place the tilapia filets in the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Flip over and cook the second side for another 2-3 minutes. The spices on the fish will brown up and the fish should cook through. It will be light and flaky and can easily break apart when fully cooked.

Pan Fried Tilapia Fillets
Pan Seared Tilapia Fillets

Place tortillas on your plate. If you have tortilla holders, this is a great place to use them!

Plating Pan Seared Fish Tacos
Plating Pan Seared Fish Tacos

Break the fish into large chunks and put onto the tortillas. Layer on the Cilantro Slaw and drizzle on the Crema, and you are finished! That incredibly quick!

You can definitely dress your pan seared fish tacos up with some sliced avocado, lime wedges, Cotija cheese, Sriracha sauce… There are a lot of fun options that can help make these your own!

Cilantro Slaw and Crema

We’re going to go over these components fairly quickly, as they come together relatively easily. You can also purchase pre-made versions at the store if you don’t have the time or energy to make i fresh. We do love the fresh version, so if you have the time, check out these quick tips along with the links to the full recipes.

The Cilantro Slaw is a mixture of shredded cabbage, grated carrots, sliced red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and mayo. Making this slaw means slicing the cabbage and onions, grating the carrots, and dicing the cilantro and jalapenos, then mixing it all together with the mayo, lime juice, sugar, and salt. That’s it!

The Crema is also a very quick fix. Mix your sour cream, lime juice, chipotle spice, and lime juice together. It’s honestly that easy.

Check out the links for the quantities, and we also have it listed below for you!

Quick Tips and Questions

Do you have to use tilapia? Simple answer- no. We love the tilapia because it’s a mild, flaky white fish that allows the other flavors in the dish to shine. It also has nice health benefits that directly impact MS, which we’ll talk a little more about below.

If you don’t have tilapia or aren’t in love with it, you can definitely substitute cod, sea bass, grouper, or mahi mahi. Keep in mind you’re looking for a flaky, white fish filet. If you take a drastic move to something like a salmon, it is definitely going to change the flavor profile of the taco. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but do know a stronger fish is going to take over the flavor.

Flavoring Fish Tacos
Flavoring Fish Tacos

Secrets to cooking tilapia: Tilapia is easy to sautee and only requires about three to five minutes on each side to cook, depending on the thickness of the filet. If you haven’t worked with tilapia before, check out this quick guide from Seafood Nutrition Partnership. When fully cooked it will temp at 145 degrees and have a solid white appearance rather than the translucent appearance when not cooked. It will also flake easily. Keep an eye on it, as overcooking will make it tough, but you don’t want it undercooked.

Quick tip – if you want to cut down on the fats in cooking oil, use an air fryer instead of pan frying the fish. Each air fryer is a little different, so pay attention to the settings necessary for yours to thoroughly cook the fish filets and make sure they temp at 145 degrees.

Prep order: Because the fish cooks within about ten minutes, go ahead and make the slaw and crema first. That way you can cook your fish while your slaw is marinating.

Keeping Tortillas Soft: You can warm up your tortillas a couple of ways. If you are using the stove top, warm up a non-stick skillet to medium, then place the tortillas so they can individually receive the heat. Flip them after about 30-45 seconds on each side.

In the microwave, stack the tortillas, cover with a towel, and warm up for about 30-60 seconds, depending on how many tortillas you have. You are just going for warming the tortillas – you don’t want to cook them or they won’t be as pliable.

Health Benefits for Multiple Sclerosis

Cooking with and for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) does not mean you can’t have flavorful, fantastic dishes. The pan seared fish taco is a great example.

Tilapia is rich with Vitamin B12, which is a key vitamin in maintaining the nervous system. While there may be differing opinions on if a Vitamin B12 deficiency is directly linked to MS, it is known that B12 deficiency leads to fatigue, depression, and memory loss, all of which are symptoms of MS. Overall, getting B12 into an MS diet is important, so we love the tilapia as a fish selection for this dish.

Tilapia is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, higher in this content than many other proteins. In addition, it is stocked with Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Phosphorous, all of which are great for bone strength, another important factor in maintaining MS.

The reasons to love this recipe for MS don’t end with tilapia. Cabbage is a member of the Bassica family of vegetables, which makes it kin to cauliflower, kale, and broccoli. We love the health benefits of all of these vegetables for MS, and cabbage doesn’t disappoint. Packed with B6 and Folate, cabbage also helps maintaining normal functioning of the nervous system.

It is also stocked with fiber (great for digestion) and antioxidants (great for protecting against free radicals).

This isn’t where the health benefits of this dish end, but these are some of our favorite highlights. So, if you’re looking for healthy and delicious to cook for MS, other autoimmune disorders with similar symptoms, or just healthy eating in general, these fish tacos absolutely deliver.

Enjoy!

Please visit our Resources page if you are interested in finding some of the tools and gadgets Dre uses to make cooking accessible while combatting MS.

Fish tacos with pico de gallo
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Pan Seared Fish Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Lime Crema – Simple and Delicious!

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 20 min Cook Time 10 min Total Time 30 mins Servings: 4 Best Season: Summer

Description

Simple. Fast. Delicious. This is the beauty of the fish taco. Whether it's taco Tuesday or any other average day of the week, if you're looking to throw down a gourmet looking and tasting meal in 30 minutes or less, this is your dish.

Ingredients

Cilantro Slaw

Chipotle Lime Crema

Preparation

Fish Tacos

  1. Pat fish filets dry to remove excess liquid. This will allow fish to keep a firm texture.

  2. Mix chipotle powder, salt, and pepper then generously sprinkle over both sides of fish filets to flavor.

    Flavoring Tilapia Filets
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.

  4. When the pan is hot, add olive oil and cook tilapia 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown.

    Pan Frying Tilapia Filets
    You can air fry the fish filets if you want to cut out the cooking oil. Follow the heating directions for your particular air fryer and make sure the fish temp at 145 degrees.
  5. Heat tortillas in a dry skillet or in the microwave.

  6. Remove fish from heat, cut into 1 inch slices.

  7. Assemble tacos with fish, slaw, pico de gallo and or crema.

    Pan Seared Fish Tacos
  8. Serve with lime slices and/or avocado

Cilantro Slaw

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together mayo, lime juice and sugar.

    Plain Yogurt is a great substitute for the mayo if you do not want to use mayo.
  2. Add cabbage, carrots, cilantro, jalapenos, and onions. Mix well. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt to taste.

    Stirring Cilantro Slaw
    If you do not want to or have the time to prep the slaw base, you can use a store bought base. You will need to prep the cilantro, jalapenos, and possibly onions, as those are not typical ingredients in store bought slaws.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    Finished Cilantro Slaw

Chipotle Lime Crema

  1. In a bowl, mix/blend all of the ingredients. Taste, then add whatever flavors you want to bring out more sweet or spice!

    Chipotle Lime Crema

Note

  • Tilapia, cod, mahi-mahi, salmon, shrimp, or other fish will work. A white fish will tend to allow the flavors of the slaw, spices and crema to be more predominant.
Keywords: Pan Seared Fish Tacos, Fish Tacos
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