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Fish Taco Bowls

Fish Taco Bowl from

It’s probably not entirely kosher for a vegetable gardener to admit this, but, if given my druthers, I’d skip over spring harvest cooking entirely and plunge head-long into summer crops.

Oh, I {muah!} spring goodies, like radishes and kale and broccoli and crispy romaine, to be sure, but once gardening starts in earnest and seeds get planted and the sheer wide-eyed wonder of being outdoors for more than 5 minutes at a time without your skin cracking off finally wears away, my impatience for my true loves — tomatoes tomatoes tomatoes cucumbers peppers green onions garlic carrots herbs herbs herbs — gets sorely tested.

In the kitchen, too. My inner flavor palate jumps right over asparagus and rhubarb and artichokes and lands firmly planted in summer staples, knife in one hand, fork in the other, napkin tucked in at the neck. For me, summer dishes could last half of the year, April to October, and I’d be one happy vegetable-noshing camper.

So, by the time April rolls around, anything that reminds me of summer — even if it’s slightly out of season — puts a happy little hop-skip in this cook’s step.

And nothing else says “summer” to me quite like fish tacos.

Fish Taco Bowl from

For me, fish tacos and summer — okay, even April — go hand in hand. It’s great party food. Ever set up a fish taco bar next to the grill? Holy moly, do people go nuts for fish tacos with all the fixin’s. They are — or can be — light and healthy, there’s something for everyone (especially if you sneak a little chicken and tofu into the rotation to cover seafood allergies and vegetarians), and they go great with frosty cocktails and ice-cold beer.

But fish tacos are also great on non-party days: meet the fish taco bowl.

I don’t know about you, but I love food in a bowl. It’s so much more fun to dig in with your fork, awaiting the surprise combination of yummies that come out skewered thereto, than to scoop and poke at individual morsels sliding around on a flat plate. (Peas! I hate peas on a plate. Who invented peas on a plate? I hope they’ve been condemned to an eternity of eating peas and other tiny rolly foods with a stubby, two-tined fork from the flattest, flat table there ever was, mounted on the tiniest of slants, just to keep the whole spectacle interesting. (Mean girl much, SoupAddict?)

Fish Taco Bowl from

Food in a bowl is kind of like eating a salad, which is awesome: you stab your fork into the green unknown and get a giddy little rush over pulling back an olive, a dice of bell pepper, a sliver of basil, and two cubes of Havarti, all at once, instead of just a forkful of bitter lettuce ribs that you [read, me] were too lazy to cut off, even though you [i.e., moi] knew that forkfuls of bitter ribs were seriously going to be standing between you [yo] and those cubes of Havarti.

And so, the fish taco bowl. Lay out a spread of your favorite fish taco fixin’s, line your bowl with angel-hair-chopped green cabbage, cilantro-herbed brown rice, plus a good sprinkling of tortilla strips, then pile everything on. Fresh pico de gallo, avocado cubes, perky purple cabbage, lots of green onions, a big squeeze of lime, and marinated, oven-baked salmon. Mmm, yummers, that’s my kind of fish taco bowl. You likey black beans and corn salsa and guacamole and spicy shrimp instead? You go, girl/guy!

And try — just try — to not weirdly enjoy eating your favorite fish taco out of a bowl.

Have you ever tried my fish taco sauce? It is, by far, the most popular (and the most pinned) recipe on this site. It’s been years and years and years since I first made it, and I have yet to find anything I like better. It’s one of those things that has an unlikely combination of ingredients — capers and chili powder, anyone? — but totally works. It’s completely different from tartar sauce, so if you’re just not sure if you can make it through one. more. fish. friday with the same old same old, give this sauce a try.

I had another fish taco bowl again just yesterday, and it made me so happy. Summer can’t be far away now, right?

Karen xo


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Fish Taco Bowls

Makes about two bowls. This recipe is super easy to scale up and down - no need to be exact with your measurements! Salmon tip: personally, I cannot stand salmon skin. Since the salmon will be chopped or shredded anyway, there's a simple trick for separating the skin from the flesh: bake the salmon on a sheet of ungreased foil. The skin will stick to the foil, and you can easily scrape the flesh away while leaving the skin behind (then you ball up the foil and throw it away, easy peasy).
Author: Karen Gibson


for the salmon and marinade

  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 big pinch lime zest a few grates across the fruit
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika pimenton
  • 1 big pinch ground cumin
  • 1 big pinch kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • 12 to 16 ounces salmon filets

for the pico de gallo

  • 2 Roma tomatoes or about a dozen cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 white or sweet onion finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno or serrano pepper
  • 1 clove garlic very finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • kosher salt
  • 1 half of a fresh lime

for the fish taco bowls

  • 2 heaping cups thinly chopped green cabbage
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cups tortilla strips or two big cupped palmfuls of tortilla chips
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 heaping cup thinly chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 avocado pit removed, peeled, and cubed
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 fresh lime
  • 1 recipe fish taco sauce or your favorite fish taco topping


for the salmon and marinade

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (do not grease or spray the foil).
  • Mix the sugar, zests, and spices in a small bowl. Use your fingers to break up any clumps. Coat the salmon tops and sides with a light layer of olive oil. Rub the spice mix over the tops and sides of the salmon. Place the salmon on the foil, and bake until the salmon is cooked through (20 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filet). Use a fork to flake the salmon from the skin (the skin will stick to the foil - that's okay, leave it). Set aside.

for the pico de gallo

  • Gently toss the vegetables, cilantro, and salt in a bowl. Let rest for 20 minutes. Carefully drain away any excess liquid that accumulates on the bottom of the bowl. Squeeze the half of the lime over the vegetables, and stir. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. Set aside.


  • Line two large salad bowls with 1 cup each green cabbage and brown rice. Spread a layer of tortilla strips over the top. Add 1/2 of the pico de gallo, avocado cubes, red cabbage, green onions, and salmon to each of the bowls. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top, followed by a big squeeze of lime, and a big dollop of fish taco sauce. Serve extra sauce on the side.
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.
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Julie @ Texan New Yorker

Monday 14th of April 2014

I love this idea! And yes, fish tacos with an icy cold cocktail in the summer is extremely hard to beat.

I can completely empathize with wanting out-of-season fruits and vegetables. And for me, it sometimes goes beyond the produce and extends to whole dishes and styles of cooking. Like in January, when I should be taking full advantage of my slow cooker and making chili and stew, I'll suddenly be craving grilled fish. And then in July, when the grill is completely available, I suddenly want pumpkin soup, or something. Oh well... :)


Monday 14th of April 2014

What a fantastic idea! I love this and thank you for sharing. Cheers! Rocquie