Fish Tacos

fish tacos

This recipe was created by Dr. Joseph McPhee, a bariatric surgeon at the Healthy Weight Management Center at Lancaster General Health.

Several years ago I began my search for the best fish taco recipe. I tried a number of versions but none met my expectations. Something was missing. Then I attended an annual surgical meeting in San Diego where I experienced the best fish tacos ever in a city that arguably perfected the dish.

Fish tacos are commonly made with soft tortillas, battered or breaded white fish and cabbage. I discovered it was the sauce that made the key difference. So I focused on perfecting my own special sauces to bring new tastes and textures to the traditional fish taco.

The first sauce, chipotle sauce, adds some spice and rich flavor to complement the fish. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce come in a small can, about 7 ounces, for a bit of “heat” and pleasant smoky flavor. Coupled with lime juice and fresh cilantro, it really captures the essence of a good fish taco sauce. Adding Greek yogurt helps mellow the spice, but keep in mind I want this sauce to really stand out.

The second sauce incorporates a great super food, the avocado, and is similar to guacamole, which is easy to make and mild to the taste. A Mexican staple, avocados are high in antioxidants, or carotenoids, found in colorful vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes. Avocados are high in fat, but monounsaturated fat, a "good" fat that helps lower bad cholesterol, as long as you eat them in moderation. And their anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to help conditions such as arthritis.

For the protein source, I chose tilapia. I have also used flounder and cod. While any bread crumbs work well with this dish, I find seasoned wheat bread crumbs give the fish a nice crunch.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs. tilapia filets cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten well
  • 1 cup seasoned wheat bread crumbs*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup coleslaw without the dressing**
  • 1 cup 2% shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 8 medium wheat tortillas for serving

*If you can’t find seasoned wheat bread crumbs, add ¼ teaspoon of each of the following seasonings to one cup of bread crumbs: dried parsley flakes, garlic powder, onion powder and dried oregano (or Italian seasoning).

**Prepared coleslaw can be purchased by the bag in the salad section of your grocery store, or make your own by thinly slicing some cabbage and carrots.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Dip the tilapia filets in the egg and then coat with the bread crumbs.
  2. Add the olive oil to a large skillet and sauté filets over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until they are nicely crisp and browned.
  3. To make the Chipotle Sauce, blend together the Greek yogurt, chipotle, corn, cilantro, and lime juice in a food processor until it becomes a sauce consistency.
  4. For the Avocado Sauce, slice avocados in half, remove the pit and scoop out the soft green flesh. Using a potato press or large spoon, mash the avocado with the lime juice, salsa, salt and black pepper.
  5. To serve, spread 2 tablespoons Chipotle Sauce and 2 tablespoons Avocado Sauce over a wheat tortilla, then layer some coleslaw, 2 tablespoons of cheese, some chopped tomatoes and top with the fish. Serve with extra Avocado sauce if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional Information for 1 Fish Taco 
Per one taco (does not include sauces – see nutritional information below): 375 calories; 12.2g total fat (4.1g saturated fat, 0.8g polyunsaturated fat, 2.9g monounsaturated fat); 732mg sodium; 70.2mg cholesterol; 32.4g carbohydrate; 3.8g fiber; 2.9g sugars; 33g protein; 390mg potassium.

Two Sauce Options

Top your fish taco with one of the delicious sauces below:

Chipotle Sauce

Makes 1 cup

  • ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo sauce (chipotles come in small can)
  • ½ cup of cooked corn
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Nutritional Information for Chipotle Sauce 
Per two tablespoons: 17 calories; 0.1g total fat (0.0g saturated fat, 0.0g polyunsaturated fat, 0.0g monounsaturated fat); 29.2mg sodium; 0.6mg cholesterol; 2.8g carbohydrate; 0.2g fiber; 0.6g sugars; 1.7g protein; 58.9mg potassium.

Avocado Sauce

Makes 3 cups

  • 4 medium sized avocados
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Nutritional Information for Avocado Sauce
Per two tablespoons: 75 calories; 6.7g total fat (0.9g saturated fat, 0.8g polyunsaturated fat, 4.2g monounsaturated fat); 111mg sodium; 0.0mg cholesterol; 4.4g carbohydrate; 3.1g fiber; 0.2g sugars; 1.0g protein; 238.8mg potassium.

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

author name

Joseph R. McPhee, MD

Joseph R. McPhee, MD, is a physician specializing in bariatric surgery with Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery.

Education: A graduate of New York University and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. McPhee completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School and his residency at North Shore University Hospital.

Call: 717-544-2935

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.

 

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