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 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 25 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.
- Tilapia fillets - any other white fish will work. I like it with halibut but generally opt for tilapia since it is more affordable and my teenage son eats a ton of fish. If you want to use frozen fish, as I sometimes do, then I recommend you use the oven-baked method.
It will a little take longer to cook than fresh, but you can just ignore it while it's baking, so that may be a good option for you. If you have fresh and/or unthawed fish, I think that it is much quicker and easier to use the skillet method. That way, the fish gets a really nice, beautiful golden color on top.
- Tomatoes - fresh is always best, especially from the garden. However, 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.
Plus, It can really be made in about 15 minutes if you use canned Italian-style crushed tomatoes.
- Onion - Any type will work here. I've even tried sweet and loved it.
- Anaheim Chili - You can leave this out if you don't want the heat but they aren't all that hot. The best substitutes are green bell peppers or poblano peppers.
- Green Olives - We are personally not a huge fan of these in our family and usually leave them out so I won't judge if you want to do the same.
- Capers - I often leave these out too, but if you leave out both the green olives and capers, you should think about replacing some of the salty sourness with either some extra lime juice, maybe some anchovies or green peppercorns - or I actually enjoy a few artichoke hearts thrown in.
How to serve
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, I love it with some cauliflower steamed in my Instant Pot *.
If you can eat rice, then it goes well with this. Use white or brown rice, or even quinoa * or cauliflower "rice."Print
Super Easy 30-Minute Fish Veracruz Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Paleo
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.
- 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
- ½ tsp Oregano (chopped)
- 2 Cups Fresh Tomatoes or 1 15 oz. can San Marzano Italian-style crushed tomatoes
- ¼ 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 9x13 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
Made with quinoa yum
Healthy tried this for the first time tonight and really enjoyed it!
This was really great! We had it tonight with some local sea bass filets. Instead of the two cans of crushed tomatoes, we used leftover marina from spaghetti night. We added the other ingredients to this base and it was awesome.
When we make this again, we may add another vegetable, asparagus or brocolini and some baby potatoes halves.
Thanks for the awesome recipe!
I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting!
Added shrimp and scallops. Whole family loved it.
Do you thaw it before putting in the oven?
I don't bother. I buy my frozen fish from Costco and it comes in individually frozen vacuum sealed servings and the directions say not to unthaw it.
These all look so good. Now I know what to make for my sister when she comes over!!
I will have to try this fish recipe. I make another recipe with tomatoes and plums that goes over the plain fish and it is divine. http://bhgfood.tumblr.com/post/60950799128/rosemary-cod-with-plum-tomato-sauce-youll-love I think it would be just fine over tilapia or cod. I have done it with the cod from sam's sealed and frozen. I haven't tried this yet but you might try a couple of drops of rosemary essential oil instead of fresh rosemary. I might try this next time...
Wow... this sounds really yummy and would be very easy to make. Definitely will be trying this...
I like all kinds of fish and this would be a good way to punch it up. Thanks for the recipe
I agree with you..my fish has to be jazzed up to get me to eat it. This recipe looks great! Thanks for sharing.
We are looking to branch out from Salmon all the time. This will be a nice change.
It would be really helpful when I can't use the computer... My battery is completely dead so for the last 5 years my computer is not portable.
my son would love this recipe! we love those veggies, its what i mostly buy at costco.
and the ipad 2 would be helpful for reading my ebooks while at the playground.
I love the iPad 2 because it's more clear. My eyes suck.
This looks really tasty! Thanks for sharing
I'm not much of a cook but I love to eat so easy is my type of recipe. This fish dish looks so good and the fact that it's easy , my family might just eat it. Thanks for sharing.
i am so glad to see this recipe. i have been on a diet and i eat tilapia almost every day. i am running out of ideas for ways to cook it. this dish looks delightful but i think i will leave out the green peppers.
You may be surprised by the taste of the green peppers. They get almost sweet in this recipe. The roasting takes out the strong flavor and the lemon make it "come alive."
i actually like the taste of green peppers but the problem is that they dont like me. i would be paying for it all night if i ate them. thank you, though...:-).
Gotta! In that case, I would recommend Digestive Blend. It's worked wonders for my food allergies.
cool. thanks for the tip. i love essential oils. they do so many awesome things. i am going to enter that giveaway i found on that page. thank you!!
I really love fish and always prefer baking over frying. This recipe really sounds good and I plan to try it soon. Thank you for sharing!
I really enjoy fish and this recipe looks scrumptious to try!
This looks so good, would love to prove 🙂
This looks really good and healthy!
This recipe sounds absolutely delicious and so easy to make. That's perfect for me, I can't stand cooking. I will definitely be trying it out. Thanks for sharing.
That look delicious, I love baked fish.
Oooh this sounds good. I love tilapia. If you're ever in a pinch and can't think of a way to make it taste yummy, throw a small amount of olive oil on the fish, with some lemon pepper or lime and bake it until its done. Simple but very yummy, and my kids love it like that. I'm sure they'd love this too 😀
That's how my husband and son like it - nice and simple. But I like it this way much better. If nothing else, you get your veggies too!
This looks really good. I am always looking for more ways to incorporate fish in our diets. Thanks for the recipe, I will try this one out.
This sounds very yummy! I have been looking for some baked fish recipes too!
This will be good, since I have some canned summer squash. =)