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What is colorful, delicious, and healthy? Fish Taco Bowl with Mango Salsa is all that in a spicy bowl garnished with a creamy cilantro-lime crema — just add chips and a squeeze of lime!

The spicy good tilapia in this recipe can be grilled or baked in just 15 minutes, plus using a few convenient ingredients saves some on the prep time, too!

a fish taco bowl garnished with mango salsa and crema with a side of blue tortilla chips and a slice of lime.

Clearly, “healthy” is not typically thought of when looking for delicious AND satisfying recipes. In fact, they could be considered oxymorons.

Not so with this Fish Taco Bowl with Mango Salsa! This recipe is a bowl full of delicious, satisfying, and healthy fish tacos!

Low carb options have been the rave for a while, so my daughter came up with the idea of adding fish to the fast-food bowl idea — and this fun-to-eat fish taco bowl was born. 

Honestly, using a flaky good fish is so much tastier than even the bowls from Chipotle and Moe’s — and bowls are less messy than a traditional taco.

In my opinion, you can never have enough fresh salsa choices — so add Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde) or fresh Cherry Tomato Salsa to your options.

ingredients for fish taco bowls on a table.

Key ingredients & substitutions for Spicy Fish Taco Bowls 

With several components to this spicy fish recipe, you will love each and every colorful scrumptious bite! Get started here:

  • Tilapia filets — White flaky fish keeps the fresh bowl nice and light. I use tilapia, but swap for any of your favorite fish like catfish, Striped Bass, or Red Snapper.

Baja fish rub

  • Chili powder — For the base of this rub, use paprika if you’re out of chili powder.
  • Cumin — The flavor of cumin adds that earthy Latin flare. Try ½ teaspoon of taco seasoning or ½ teaspoon of curry powder as a substitute. 
  • Cayenne pepper — Red pepper flakes, hot paprika, or hot sauce give you that little touch of heat needed.
  • Cinnamon — The surprise ingredient, you gotta have that cinnamon spice!

Mango salsa

  • Bell pepper — Any color, red, yellow, and/or orange, adds beautiful color. 
  • Red onion – White onion is the best alternative or if you don’t eat onions, use onion powder for the flavor. 
  • Jalapeno pepper— After all, it is spicy fish! If jalapenos aren’t your thing, fresh chili peppers, banana peppers, or poblano make great swaps. 
  • Mangos — Look for fresh mango already peeled and cubed in the supermarket, and then dice it into smaller pieces for the salsa.
  • Cilantro — I realize some people have an aversion to cilantro. So if you want to swap or if you’re out of cilantro, use parsley, mint, or basil.
  • Garlic — Garlic powder or minced garlic still brings out that garlicky flavor.
  • Lime juice — Citrus juice keeps it all fresh and crispy! Lemon juice and orange juice are both great alternatives. 

Cilantro lime crema

  • Green onion — Chives are the best substitute for green onions. 
  • Cilantro — Parsley, mint, and basil will work here as well. 
  • Mayonnaise — If you’re a Miracle Whip person, use that. Or I like olive oil mayo for a gluten-free healthier option. 
  • Sour cream — Greek yogurt or cottage cheese are both excellent substitutions. 
  • Lime — You’ll use the zest and juice! In a pinch, use lemon or orange, if limes are not available. 

Cabbage slaw

For a different texture, substitute the cabbage slaw with cauliflower rice or cilantro lime rice. 

  • Cabbage — I love the color the purple cabbage gives. For a quick prep time, pick up a package of shredded cabbage or cole slaw. 
  • Olive oil — Olive oil has the best flavor, but there are lots of options to change out: grapeseed oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, and sunflower oil, just to name a few. 
  • Red wine vinegar — Vinegar keeps the slaw fresh and adds that tang! Use white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or apple cedar vinegar if you don’t have red wine vinegar on hand. 

How to make Fish Taco Bowl with Mango Salsa Recipe

STEP 1 | Prep the slaw

Start by washing and cleaning the cabbage to remove any dirt and wilted or rotten outer leaves. Then shred the cabbage and toss it with olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Season the cabbage slaw with salt and pepper to taste, cover, and set it aside for now.

adding lime zest to a bowl of crema for fish taco bowls.

STEP 2 | Blend the crema

Chop your onions and cilantro, press the garlic, and zest the lime. Then take a small bowl and combine all the ingredients listed for the crema.

Mix it well until it’s nice and creamy, and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve. 

ingredients for mango salsa diced in a glass bowl to serve with fish tacos.

STEP 3 | Chop salsa veggies

Yes, there is plenty of chopping in this recipe! Next are your mango and salsa veggies. Chop up all the salsa ingredients and toss them in a bowl.

Add the fresh lime juice and salt then stir until the ingredients are happily blended well. 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and move the salsa to the refrigerator until it is time to serve your meal. This allows the salsa ingredients time to blend nicely.

tip

  • Time Savers: Don’t forget, you can look for fresh mango that’s been peeled and cut into chunks or spears in the supermarket produce section and dice it into smaller pieces. And you can always use pre-shredded cabbage.

seasonings on a plate; tilapia sprinkled with seasonings laying on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

STEP 4 | Ready the fish

Rinse the tilapia fillets and then pat them dry with paper towels.

Measure and prepare the ingredients for the fish rub. Sprinkle the rub mixture for blackened fish on both sides and lightly rub it in. Place the fillets on a baking sheet lined with parchment and then you are ready for the grill!

tips

  • Fish choices: If you choose a different fish, make sure to choose one that’s fresh and firm, like fresh salmon, tuna, mahi-mahi, snapper, redfish, or grouper. 
  • Grilling: Use a grill pan when grilling outdoors so the fish doesn’t fall through the grates, and use the baking sheet with foil and cooking spray indoors or a stainless steel pan for the stovetop.

STEP 5 | Cook the fish

No matter how you cook your spicy fish fillets, they should come out golden and easily flake with a fork.

Baking: To bake in the oven, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat it with cooking spray. Bake the fish for about 12-15 minutes.

Grilling: If you want to grill instead, heat the grill to medium-high heat. Lightly oil a grill pan and cook the fish for 6-7 minutes on each side. 

Pan Searing: Need to cook the fish on the stove this time? Heat a skillet over medium heat and don’t turn the fish until it easily releases from the pan.

Assemble the Fresh Fish Taco Bowl with Mango Salsa

STEP 1 | Layer

Spoon the shredded purple cabbage slaw into a serving bowl to create a bottom layer. Then place the cooked fish over the slaw for the second layer of the bowl.

a bowl with cabbage slaw topped with a grilled piece of tilapia and a bowl of mango salsa and cilantro lime crema in the background.

STEP 2 | Garnish the top

Finish your delightful creation by topping the fish with your desired amount of freshly made mango salsa and lime crema sauce. Add the tortilla chips on the side if you like, and you have a picture-perfect and tasty seafood dish. 

Serving suggestions

The more, the merrier, right? Add extra toppings and sprinkle the tacos with cheese, which is always a winner. Queso Blanco or Cotija are great choices.

Add a few slices of fresh avocado or perhaps your favorite beans like refried or black beans.

a fish taco bowl on a colorful placemat on a table.

Behind the recipe: Healthy Fish Taco Bowl with Mango Salsa

I’ve always got my eye out for quick, simple, and delicious recipes. During the week, many families are running kids to the ballfield, dance practice, dentist appointments, and squeezing in homework while attempting to cook meals the family won’t grumble about. 

And then there is the beautiful summer weather that beckons us to get outside. During those summer months, we tend to grill a lot and eat dinner on our patio.

This fresh, flavorful, and healthy dish checks all the boxes and has become one of our favorite weeknight meals. I can’t wait for you to try it and fall in love with it, too!

a fork spearing a bite of tilapia in a fish taco bowl.

For another smoky, delicious rub like the one in this recipe, make this easy Citrusy Salmon Rub ahead of time for a quick meal prep later.

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

a fish taco bowl garnished with mango salsa and crema with a side of blue tortilla chips and a slice of lime.

Fish Taco Bowl with Mango Salsa

Baja grilled fish + cool cilantro crema + spicy sweet mango salsa = FISH TACO BOWLS. This meal is healthy and fun to eat, and not messy like eating hand-held fish tacos!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Fish & Seafood
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 439 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 lbs. tilapia filets

Baja Fish Rub

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mango Salsa

  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, and/or orange), diced
  • 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper de-seeded and diced
  • 2 just-ripe mangoes peeled and diced
  • 1 handful cilantro washed, dried, de-stemmed, and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

Cilantro Lime Crema

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove minced

Cabbage Slaw

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

Prep

  • Shred cabbage and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for crema and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Chop all salsa ingredients and combine with lime juice and salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Rinse tilapia filets and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle rub mixture over both sides of fish and lightly rub.
  • Grill or bake fish at 400 degrees (about 12-15 minutes) until it flakes easily with fork. For grilling, heat grill to medium high heat. Cook fish on a lightly oiled grill pan for 6-7 minutes on each side. To bake in oven, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil lightly coated with cooking spray.

Assemble

  • Layer cabbage slaw and fish into serving bowls.
  • Top with desired amount of mango salsa and lime crema. Serve with tortilla chips on the side, if desired.

Notes

  • Mango Salsa and Cilantro Lime Crema from Love and Olive Oil
  • Baja Fish Rub from Weber’s Way to Grill cookbook
  • Fish choices: If you choose a different fish, make sure to choose one that’s fresh and firm, like fresh salmon, tuna, mahi-mahi, snapper, redfish, or grouper. 
  • Grilling: Use a grill pan when grilling outdoors so the fish doesn’t fall through the grates, and use the baking sheet with foil and cooking spray indoors or a stainless steel pan for the stovetop.
  • Time Savers: Don’t forget, you can look for fresh mango that’s been peeled and cut into chunks or spears in the supermarket produce section and dice it into smaller pieces. And you can always use pre-shredded cabbage.
  •  

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 439kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 50gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 1120mgFiber: 8gSugar: 30g
Keyword fish, fish bowl
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

2 Comments

    1. Thanks, Serene! Please let me know what you think once you do give it a try — thanks for sharing, too 🙂

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