Quick and Healthy – Grilled Red Snapper Tacos

These fish tacos come together in 15 minutes or less, including prep time! They’re a perfect candidate for weeknight dinners, or whenever you don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen. Tender flaky fish is lightly seasoned, grilled to perfection and wrapped up with fresh veggies and smoky salsa. It’s a meal that will take your taste buds to a beach side Mexican cafe, even when the rest of you is stuck in the middle of winter.

We served up these tacos with some Spanish rice and heaps of homemade salsa. The meal came together so quickly and painlessly that I didn’t even have time to snack on pantry goodies while it was cooking. Not that I usually do that…(I do.)

Are you one of the many people who is intimidated by making fish at home? If you are, stop it! A nice fillet of fish will cook up so easily, painlessly, and quickly, that if you try it yourself – you’ll never buy an overcooked piece of salmon from a restaurant again. Fresh fish should never smell “fishy” or off-putting, and if you wash your pan right away neither will your kitchen. I can’t guarantee what will happen if you leave it in the sink overnight though (not that I do that either.)

Why is it that mid-range restaurants can rarely serve up a decent piece of fish? It’s either expensive and great, mid-range and awful, or low-end, deep fried in fat and terrible for you (okay…the fried fish is delicious.)  Admittedly, I’m quite picky, but it’s a simple process people: Don’t smother it in oil, don’t cook it to smithereens, and I’ll eat it. Love the fishies, respect the fishies. This rant is directed at a Japanese “fusion” place we tried out last week, and they really did know how to muck up otherwise nice pieces of fish. Stop it with the mayo already, sheesh.

Look how pretty those fillets are. They don’t need any mayo, do they? No butter either. They’re awesome naked. You will be too, if you eat more healthy grilled fish. See what I did there? It’s late, and I’m creepy.

Recipe serves 2 with a serving size of 3 small tacos each


For the Fish:

  • 8 ounces fresh red snapper fillets or other mild fish (preferably wild, fresh caught)
  • 1 tablespoon high smoke point oil, such as peanut
  • Sprinkle of salt, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper
For the Tacos:
  • 6 small yellow corn tortillas (I used Mission extra thin)
  • 3/4 cup red cabbage (finely chopped)
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish (chopped)
  • 1 Juicy lemon or lime
  • Salsa (Make your own homemade if you have the time! Recipe here)


  • Preheat a grill pan (or non-stick skillet) to medium heat
  • Season fish while pan is heating
  • Brush the pan with the peanut oil
  • Gently place the fish on the grill pan, and grill for 2 minutes on the first side
  • Gently turn and cook for 1 minute on the second side
      • My fillets were quite thin, about 1/4 inch. If yours are more on the thick side you may need to increase the cooking time by 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side
  • Remove fish from pan, and tent with foil to keep warm while you prepare the toppings
  • Cover tortillas with a damp paper towel, and gently heat in the microwave. 30 seconds, turn and cook for an additional 30 seconds
  • Assemble tacos, with a fresh squeeze of lemon on the fish and enjoy. You made taco magic.

Look at those beauties. They’re fresh, and even if they weren’t “healthy food” I would still want to eat them. That’s always the goal with healthy food. You should want to eat it cause it’s yummy, not just virtuous.

I bought a new plate! Isn’t it cute? I have a problem with cute plates. I can almost always justify buying one. None of my plates match.

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21 thoughts on “Quick and Healthy – Grilled Red Snapper Tacos

  1. I love fish tacos–and like the color your seasoning blend brings to the fish! Or maybe it’s that lovely plate bringing the color out… 🙂

  2. That spread of food looks wonderful and your spice mix sounds even better. I shall have to try and find myself some snapper, or at least an alternative and make some fish tacos myself.

    • Thank you! I often find that the simplest flavors are the most successful with fish, and I really enjoyed the smoked paprika based blend. Fish tacos are very high on my list of “favorite foods.” I love snapper because I can easily find a locally caught fish, but this is equally good with halibut, orange roughy, etc.

  3. I love snapper, and tacos, so no surprise that these get rave reviews from me. I used the Chipotle Chili Powder from World Spice Merchants here in Seattle (http://www.worldspice.com/blends/chili-powder-chipotle) and the heat and smoky flavor was just right! I’ve yet to have a spice disappoint from that place, though… With enough of that chili powder, I think I’d eat cardboard tacos! These came together really quickly, but tasted like hours of work. Would it be wrong to make these two days in a row? I didn’t think so.

    • So glad you liked them! The chipotle powder is a favorite of mine as well (also from world market.) I go through it really quickly, and almost always have a spare around. Fish tacos 2 days in a row? Sounds great to me!

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  5. These Red Snapper tacos look delicious! And it’s great that you are supporting local fisherman.

    As you continue to post healthy, nutritious seafood recipes, I have a question about your future posts. Would you consider mentioning an innovative fresh seafood program that allows consumers to track where their fish has been, and see the unique stories of their fishermen?

    A year ago, a group of innovative Gulf fishermen started showing exactly who caught their fish and where, with an online pinpoint map system and real bios of the actual fishermen (background on their boats, too). The system they created helps consumers, chefs, and retail buyers identify responsibly managed, safety-inspected, wild Gulf seafood that’s trackable to its source.

    We set up a demo for you at http://www.myGulfWild.com/track-your-fish. Are you interested in knowing more?

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