Tilapia is a hugely popular fish because it's a non-oily, white-fleshed fish that is widely available and affordable. Without a strong fishy odor, it's a great option for breading and baking or simply topping it with olive oil and lemon and then baking it. This warm water ocean fish is generally found as a skinless, boneless, fresh or frozen fillet, and because of its mild flavor, it can be seasoned with a variety of spice mixes, from Cajun seasoning to adobo seasoning. Dry heat oven baking is a quick way to prepare tilapia and, with the right ingredients, a healthy cooking method.
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1 pound thawed tilapia fillets (about 3 fillets)
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons dried dill weed or 2 teaspoons of fresh dill, chopped
¾ teaspoon paprika
Directions: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Rinse and pat dry tilapia fillets. On a clean prep surface, sprinkle the juice of one half lemon over the fillets then brush the olive oil on both sides evenly. Mix together the dill weed, paprika, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the amount you prefer over each fillet. Depending on your taste, you can also season the fish with capers and minced garlic or substitute the dill for oregano.
Transfer the fillets to a baking dish or pan that is large enough for the fillets to not touch one another. Bake the fish uncovered for 10-15 minutes, or until the flesh becomes opaque and flakey. Try using a fork on the corner of the fillet to test for flakiness. Slice the remaining half a lemon into wedges to serve with the baked tilapia.
Healthy Tilapia Recipe Ideas
Want to make a meal of it? Try this recipe for Baked Fish With Brown Rice and Veggies. Tilapia also subs nicely for mahi mahi in the recipe for Fish and Veggie Tacos. To get an super boost of omega-3s, try this recipe for Chia Seed-Crusted Fish, for which tilapia would work perfectly. Since it's also a white-fleshed fish, you could use tilapia for this Paleo Macadamia-Crusted Halibut recipe.
Alternative Methods of Cooking Tilapia in the Oven
Broiling fish isn't our preferred method because the fish tends to dry out quickly. Instead, prep the tilapia in the same and bake it at 350 degrees for 10 minutes and then turn on your broiler to finish the fish. Broil for about 3 minutes on each side, flipping the fish so that the broiler can brown the flesh evenly. In order to grill tilapia in the oven, use the same preparation and then place the fish in use an oven-safe or cast-iron grill pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes then turn the fillets 20 degrees to the right to get cross-hatch grill marks. Flip to the other side after another 5 minutes and then place under the broiler for 5 minutes.
Additional writing and reporting by Jackie Lohrey
Check out the video below for advice from a nutritionist on what are healthy food choices when you want to cook fish.