Friday, February 1, 2013

Grilled Tilapia With Avocado-Lime Salsa

Fresh, healthy, and delicious!
One of my New Year’s Resolutions—and one that I’m still doing pretty well with—is healthy eating. This means different things to different people. At this very moment I have several friends on a variety of diets that range from gluten-free and paleo to low-carb and (gasp!) no alcohol.
I’m not an extremist. I don’t do well with completely cutting out any one food group or being extremely limited in my dietary choices. After all, variety is the spice of life, right? But I’m always on the lookout for recipes that utilize lean protein sources, fresh ingredients, and healthful spices and flavorings. This delectable dish ticks all the boxes.

I was inspired by this blog post. Since I don’t like salmon, I opted for tilapia. However, just about any firm fish that will stand up to grilling would be fine. I altered the dry rub ingredients a bit to fit the spices I had on hand and my taste preferences. I also cut back on the amount of olive oil used in the salsa and added a dash of apple cider vinegar instead. Finally, I diced some jalapeño and tossed it in the mix for just a little more heat.

Here’s what I came up with.

Grilled Tilapia With Avocado-Lime Salsa
Serves 2-3

2-3 boneless, skinless tilapia fillets
Olive oil spray
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ -1 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground preferred)
1 teaspoon no-salt seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 avocados, peeled and chopped
½ jalapeño pepper, seeded, deveined, and finely diced
½-1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup yellow, orange, or red bell pepper, chopped
2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼-½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Rinse tilapia filets and pat dry. Lightly spray with olive oil.

In a small bowl, combine cumin, paprika, onion powder, black pepper, no-salt seasoning, and chili powder and stir well to combine. Use this dry “rub” to thoroughly coat the fish. Place fillets in the fridge and allow rub to “soak in” for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, in a medium bowl, combine avocados, jalapeño, onion, bell pepper, lime juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and cilantro. Stir to combine and refrigerate salsa until ready to use. (I suggest chilling a minimum of 30 minutes.)

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. If using a grilling basket (recommended), place fish inside prior to grilling. You can also put fillets directly on the grill or on a bed of thinly sliced lemons if you’re worried about them sticking or falling through the grates. Cook fish for about 4-5 minutes on each side. (Fish should flake easily when cooked through.)

Top cooked fillets with Avocado-Lime Salsa and serve immediately. If you like, you can round out the meal by serving the fish on a bed of brown rice or shred it and add it to spinach or field greens using the salsa as a dressing for an amazing salad.

The low-carb salad route.
Fun fact:
Google apple cider vinegar and you’ll find quite the eclectic list of purported health benefits from weight loss and clear skin to heart health and cancer prevention. The most promising studies have focused on people with diabetes. This tasty condiment appears to lower blood sugar when taken on a regular basis. If you’re not inclined to consume it, apple cider vinegar (or any type of vinegar) can be used as a fruit and veggie soak to remove pesticide residue or you can dilute it with water and use it in kitchens and bathrooms to kill germs. Personally, I think regular old apple cider vinegar adds a tasty kick to all sorts of recipes and that’s why I use it.
The reason I have two pictures of this dish prepared two ways is because I fell in LOVE with the way it turned out and I made it twice in one week. The Avocado-Lime Salsa is delicious and versatile. Vegetarian? Forgo the fish and use it as a dip for chips or pita bread.  A fan of low-carb meals? Have the salad version. Don’t like fish? Use it on top of chicken. The possibilities are endless!

This dish is fresh, easy to make, and delicious. Give it a try this weekend and let me know if you feel the same.

Until next time,

P.S. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before in this blog but I’m a HUGE Baltimore Raven’s Fan. The hubs went to high school and college in Maryland and I realized early on in our relationship that if I ever wanted to see him on Sundays, I’d need to A) start watching football and B) jump on the B-more bandwagon. Initially, it wasn’t pretty. The first year I really started watching was 2005 and I believe our record was a dismal 6-10. But I stayed loyal, learned a lot about the game over the years, and now I’m beyond proud to say we are playing in the Super Bowl this weekend.

Which—finally—brings me around to my point. I’d like to say that I’ve pre-tested a bunch of healthy, delicious, game-time snacks…but I haven’t. My kids have been sick all week and they’ve been gracious enough to share it with me. I’ll be lucky if I get my act together to make chips and guac. However, there are a handful of not-necessarily-healthy-but-fun snacks I’ve run across on Pinterest recently. Here are a few that I may attempt this weekend if I feel up to it.

Crescent Sausage Bites (I’m not a huge sausage fan so I may switch out the meat and add a veggie or two.)
Crock Pot Grape Jelly Meatballs
(I may have to swap jelly flavors based on whatever TJs has in the low-sugar organic variety but these have the potential to be amazing.)
Broccoli Bites
(I would tweak this recipe a bit but it looks pretty yummy as is.)

If not, I’ll just be ordering pizza with the rest of America. We’ll see how it goes. May the best Harbaugh brother win. GOOOOOOOO RAVENS!!!!!!!!!


  1. Made this tonight for my family and it was a big hit! Definitely will be making this again. :) Thanks for recipe. :)

    1. I'm not sure why I'm just now seeing your comment. I'm so glad that you and your family enjoyed this recipe. It's one of our favorites as well. :-) Ryann

  2. I'm doing the 21 day fix do you know what containers are used for this recipe?

    1. I had to "Google" the 21-Day Fix to figure out what you meant re: the containers. Since I'm not familiar with the program, I don't want to point you in the wrong direction. But I'm guessing the veggies used in the salsa would go in the veggie one, the avocado would go in the category of healthy fats, and the fish would be the protein. Sorry I can't be of more help! :-) Ryann