Craving for a fish dinner? Learn this delicious but simple baked fish recipe and reap the benefits of its nutritious ingredients.
In this article:
This Healthy yet Satisfying Baked Fish Meal Comes Together in Minutes
Why Bake Fish In Foil?
Baking fish in parchment paper or tin foil is known in France as poisson en papillote (fish in a parcel). It is a very simple and healthy way to cook fish, and is also very flavorful since the fish and vegetables cook together in their own seasoned juices. Cleanup is easy too! Any type of white fish fillets (like cod, halibut, or sea bass) will work. I used tilapia fillets in this recipe.
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves, washed
- 1 pound tilapia fillets, about 1-inch thickness (rinsed & dried)
- 1 medium shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 20 cherry tomatoes, washed
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 medium lemon, halved
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges and chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Lay out two sheets of aluminum foil (each about 12 inches long) on a large baking sheet. Parchment paper works, too.
- Place a large handful of baby spinach leaves in the middle of each piece of foil.
- Lay half of the fish fillets on each bed of spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lay half of the shallot slices on each of the fillets, followed by the cherry tomatoes and the sprigs of thyme
- Fold the sides of the foil inwards.
- Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of the lemon on each packet.
- Mix 1/4 cup wine and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl, then split the mixture by drizzling half into each packet.
- Fold in the top and bottom of the foil and pinch them closed, creating neat sealed packages.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the fish is opaque. Carefully open the packets – they will be hot!
- Garnish with lemon wedges and chopped fresh parsley.
- Serve over a bed of cooked rice or quinoa, juices and all. You can also add a side of green beans or roasted sweet potatoes.
Yield: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 266 Calories; 12 grams fat: 7 grams carbohydrates; 32 grams protein.
Key Ingredient Benefits
Cooking fish with the right ingredients makes your meal a completely nutritious one. Here are the health benefits of this baked white fish recipe.
Lemon/Lime: These citrus fruits contain citrus bioflavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and are active in improving the function of the immune system. They also have antimicrobial properties and are a good source of a number of nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, and folate. The fruits’ bioflavonoids may also function as anti-inflammatories and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Olive Oil: This type of oil contains numerous antioxidant polyphenols in addition to monounsaturated oleic acid. Both help support fat metabolism and cardiovascular health. Studies suggest a healthy combo of olive oil and fish oil (omega 3s) can work together in maintaining a pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory balance.
Shallots: These small, round vegetables are related to the onion. Shallots resemble garlic in that their structure is composed of cloves and they also have a bold flavor and strong smell. Like onion and garlic cloves, they contain flavonoids; a type of antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables that help protect the body and may reduce the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Plus, one tablespoon of chopped shallot is high in potassium, vitamin A, and folate.
Spinach: A super leafy green, spinach is among the world’s healthiest vegetables. Rich in vitamins (good source of vitamin K), and minerals, it is also concentrated in health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.
Thyme: A delicate looking herb with a penetrating fragrance, thyme is a wonderful addition to fish, egg, and vegetable dishes. Thyme is packed with flavonoids that have antioxidant capacity. It is also a good source of manganese and vitamin K, which allow for antioxidant protection. This herb has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Tilapia: This lean, versatile white fish has a mild flavor and moderately firm texture that lends itself to a variety of low-fat seasonings and cooking techniques. It is a good source of low-calorie, low-fat protein and is rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a good source of the flavonoid antioxidant, lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene may offer protection from skin damage and skin cancer. Another flavonoid abundant in tomatoes is Zeaxanthin, which may help prevent age-related macular disease (ARMD). This fruit, which is often thought of as a vegetable, is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.
White Wine: The nutritional content of white wine, aside from its antioxidant properties, includes phosphorus, potassium, and fluoride. When used in cooking, the alcoholic content is negligible; however, the flavor benefits are great.
When considering your optimal health, planning and cooking healthier meals centered on powerhouse ingredients and complementing your diet with the right supplements should be one of your top strategies. Consider adding this baked fish recipe to your meal plan this week!
Do you have your own healthy white fish recipes? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 25, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Michelle Nowickihas a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.