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The World's Best (Healthy) Fish Tacos Take Just 20 Minutes To Make

Liz Moody
July 22, 2017
Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
By Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
Liz Moody is a food editor, recipe developer and green smoothie enthusiast. She received her creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody is the author of two cookbooks: Healthier Together and Glow Pops and the host of the Healthier Together podcast.
Photo by Eric Wolfinger
July 22, 2017

Melissa Clark is the food genius behind many of the NYTimes recipes, and her cookbook, Dinner: Changing the Game, captures her bold approach to flavor and unfussy approach to home-cooking. Everyone at mbg is obsessed with these no-fry fish tacos, which might be the perfect healthy summer meal.

As much as I’ve always loved ordering fish tacos when I’m out, I never got into the habit of frying up my own at home. I liked the idea of it, but the deep-fried reality was always a little messier than I wanted it to be. Then my friend and longtime recipe tester Sarah Huck convinced me to give the broiler a go. A self-described fish taco "a-fish-ionado" (that Sarah just loves a pun), she promised me that broiling instead of frying was a perfectly delicious option for tacos. Essentially a vehicle for savory pickles, slaws, and condiments, the fish being fried or broiled is less important than the winning combination of flaky, chile-spiced fish wrapped in warm tortillas with crunchy cabbage slaw, garlicky lime crema, and velvety avocado. And that is what you get here, without any of the deep-frying mess.

You can skip the slaw and serve this with plain shredded cabbage and purchased salsa for an even quicker preparation.

World's Best Healthy Fish Tacos

Total time: 25 minutes

Serves 4


  • 2 limes
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • ½ small head red cabbage, thinly sliced (4 cups)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, to taste, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 12 ounces skinless flaky white fish, such as hake or flounder
  • Corn tortillas, for serving
  • Sliced avocado, for serving (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving


  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and garlic. Finely grate the zest of 1 lime into the sour cream (reserve the bald lime). Season to taste with salt. Set this lime garlic sauce aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, scallions, and jalapeño. Squeeze in 2 teaspoons lime juice (from the bald lime) and the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Set this slaw aside.
  3. Arrange an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source, and heat the broiler to high.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the cumin, chili powder, and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt together to combine. Place the fish on a rimmed baking sheet, and rub the spice mixture all over the fish, then coat it lightly with olive oil. Broil, turning the fish over halfway through, until it is just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  5. To serve, flake the fish with a fork. Lightly toast the tortillas over the open flame of a burner or in a large dry skillet over high heat. Fill each tortilla with fish, slaw, and avocado slices if using. Top the filling with the lime garlic sauce and cilantro leaves. Cut the remaining lime into wedges, and serve them alongside.

Want more healthy dinner inspo? These recipes each take less than 10 minutes to make (really!).

Based on excerpts from Dinner: Changing the Game, by Melissa Clark with the permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2017.

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Liz Moody author page.
Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor

Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.