On those days when you have to get dinner on the table within 20 minutes of getting home from work, turn to this gem of a dish. Bursting with flavor, it uses only two ingredients and one pan…

It can be hard to stick with your program of mindful eating when you’ve had a hard day at work, then had to run errands on the way home, and when you finally arrive at the house and can take your shoes off, everyone’s cranky and hungry. But this dinner is full of flavor and will ease the pain — it takes about 15 minutes to get onto the table, start to end, and won’t disrupt your healthy eating habits.

The fish provides the protein component of the dish, as well as beneficial omega-3 fats. Because of the zesty salsa in the dish, you can use any locally available, sustainably caught wild white fish. No need to buy an expensive variety! 

Eating wild caught fish or organic chicken can be part of a plant-based diet. When eating fish, it’s important that you choose wild caught fish, for much the same reasons as you’d choose organic chicken or grass-fed beef. There’s a big difference between wild caught fish and farmed fish!

Many farmed fish are fed genetically modified corn and soy, which reduces the levels of protein and omega-3 fats. Like factory farmed animals, all farmed fish live in cramped conditions, where disease spreads easily among the population. The fish farmers use concentrated antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals to fight the diseases and parasites common to fish farms.

When buying fish, be sure to pick the freshest fillets. (The fresher the fish, the less fishy it will  smell. When the fishmonger hands you your purchase, don’t be afraid to give it the sniff test right through the wrapping paper). Ask the fishmonger for a bag of ice to help keep the fish cool until you can get it home. When home, wrap the fish well and keep it on the lowest shelf in the fridge. 

Use the fish within a day or so. If you plan to use frozen fish, thaw it in the fridge. Leave to note to remind yourself to take it from the freezer and put it in the fridge the night before you plan to use it. Try not to refreeze fish that’s been frozen once already. The multiple thawings will take a toll on its quality but if you must, use the refrozen fish in a forgiving dish like this one. However, if you thawed the fish on the counter or in hot water, you shouldn’t eat it at all. The USDA cautions against eating any fish  thawed in these ways. Bacteria breeds at temperatures between 40 F and 140 F (celsius equivalents). Food thawed on the counter or in hot water will have been in this range for much too long for safety.

Despite concerns about the level of mercury in some fish, you can choose from lower risk fish. Lower risk fish that work well in this recipe are cod, flounder, pollock, tilapia, and scallops. Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. For more information, see this handy wallet card from the National Resources Defense Council.

And don’t feel constrained in your choice of salsa! I usually use a spicy fresh tomato salsa, but I’ve also used mango salsa in this dish. There are many flavors to enjoy, so use whatever appeals to you. If you make your own salsa, you can swap out the tomatoes with pineapple, peaches, or tomatillos, and you can rev up the crunch by adding bell peppers, fresh corn kernels, or radishes. Even with store-bought salsa, you should feel free to experiment and to tweak the salsa by adding salt, vinegar, lime juice, and bottled hot sauce to get the perfect balance that will get your taste buds dancing.

Recipe Image


  • 12 oz white fish (wild caught cod, flounder, tilapia, etc)
  • 16 oz your favorite salsa


  1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.
  2. Pour half the salsa into a skillet or frying pan.
  3. Place the fish on top.
  4. Pour remaining salsa over the fish.
  5. Bring the salsa to a boil, then reduce to a high simmer and cover for about 10 minutes or until the fish easily flakes into chunks and is white all through.
  6. Leave the salsa liquid in the pan and remove the fish and the salsa chunks to a warm plate and keep warm in the oven.
  7. Return the salsa liquid to a boil and reduce until it thickens up quite a bit. You want it to be more of a sauce than a watery liquid. Pour over the fish and serve.


As long as the fish is fresh, you can buy whichever wild caught white fish is on sale. If you want to spice up the dish a bit, sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper over the fish before topping it with salsa. You can serve this dish over pasta or rice but for a lower calorie option, serve it with your favorite green vegetables topped with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.



This recipe is very forgiving; use whichever wild caught white fish appeals to you.

For an extra kick, use a spicy salsa or add finely chopped jalapeño peppers between the fish and the salsa before cooking.

To extend the meal, especially if you’re about to be active, serve the fish on top of some cooked penne or elbow noodles.

What’s good about this recipe

Wild caught fish is a good source of omega 3 fats, which our bodies need.

The tomato salsa provides lycopene, an important antioxidant.

This recipe provides you with vitamin A, vitamin C, and a good amount of protein in a fat free, low calorie, low carbohydrate dinner.



Image shows nutrition label for this recipe for fiesta fish dinner, as described on CALMERme.com

Nutrition label for fiesta fish dinner

To read more posts like this, please sign-up on the sidebar of this page. If you don’t get a confirmation email, please let me know at kathie@calmerme.com. You can feel confident that we won’t pass along your contact information, nor will we inundate you with marketing messages — the only mail we will send will be to notify you of a new post.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email