I developed this healthy baked fish Veracruz recipe after I ate halibut Veracruz at a restaurant and loved it. It’s easy to make in just 30 minutes. I have been looking for a healthy fish recipe that tastes good. I haven’t seen very many recipes for Paleo tilapia in the past that I thought I could actually make and that I would want to eat. What is it that’s so intimidating about cooking fish?
I always have a bunch of frozen, individually-wrapped fish fillets in my fridge from Costco because my husband and son like to eat it plain with just some olive oil and lemon and baked in the oven but sorry – there’s no way I’m eating plain, frozen fish with just lemon squeezed over the top. Just not going to happen…
But I like to order fish when we go out so I thought of my favorite restaurant fish dish and tried to copy it. It’s Halibut Veracruz from Los Hermanos restaurant in Provo and Orem, Utah. My husband and I have been going to that restaurant since we first started dating 20 years ago (has it really been that long?). All but one of my children loves this, which is a success in my opinion. It’s become a staple in our house and I hope it will be popular in your house too.
If you want to use frozen fish as I sometimes do, then I recommend you put this in the oven. It will take longer to cook, but you can just ignore it while it’s baking, so that may be a good option for you. Just put it in a 350 F oven until the fish flakes easily with a fork, usually between 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven.
If you have fresh and/or unthawed fish, I think that it is much quicker and easier to just keep cooking it in a frying pan on the stovetop. That way, the fish gets a really nice, beautiful golden color on top. Baked Tilapia cooks so quickly that this dish can really be made in about 15 minutes if you use Italian-style crushed tomatoes. I really like to use Italian style crushed tomatoes (San Marzano) for this dish. They are much more concentrated and rich in flavor. They are not watery at all so you do not need to cook them as long because you don’t need to reduce any liquid.
And then if you want to make it a complete meal and get some more veggies in the dish, I love to add zucchini or summer squash in the dish. When I do that and want to eat Paleo fish, I don’t eat rice with the dish. If you can eat rice, then it goes well with this. Use white or brown rice, or even quinoa or cauliflower “rice.”
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Super Easy 30-Minute Fish Veracruz Recipe
I’m finally not afraid of cooking fish! This fish recipe turns out moist and the sauce hides the fishy flavor and is so easy and you can even use frozen fish.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Paleo
- 2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 6 Tilapia Fillets (or other white fish)
- Real Salt
- 1 Yellow Onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 Anaheim Chili (thinly sliced)
- 3 cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
- 2 Leaves Bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp Oregano (chopped)
- 2 Cups Fresh Tomatoes
- 1/4 Cup Green Olives
- 2 Tbl Capers
- Lime (for serving)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet to medium/high.
- Salt and pepper both sides of the fish, pressing it in lightly with your fingertips.
- Add the fish to the hot pan and let cook until slightly golden brown on the bottom, 3-4 minutes.
- Turn the fish carefully and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side.
- Remove the fish and place carefully on a plate.
- Add the onion and chili to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften.
- Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add in the bay leaves, oregano, crushed tomatoes, green olives, and capers.
- Bring to a simmer and let cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the fish back into the pan and simmer for another 3-4 minutes, until fish is fully cooked. Remove bay leaves.
- Serve with lime wedges for squeezing on top of the fish.
Oven Baked Method
- Preheat the oven at 350 F.
- Put oil in the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan.
- Lay the fish fillets in the pan (I usually use frozen for this method).
- Top with the rest of the ingredients, except the lime.
- Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, usually between 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven.
Keywords: Moist, Easy, Flavorful