Lemon Pepper Tilapia

Shown above with:  Squash Noodles with Stir-Fried Veggies

I’d like to give a shout out to all the little fishies out there! Thanks for offering up a great way to throw some variety into the meal rotation.  I’m sure you flip for joy over your role in my world.

Cooking fish can be much quicker and simpler to prepare than a boring ol’ chicken breast. Truly! And let’s be honest.  It’s not every day that I am so prepared with a plan before I even head out the door for the day (a.k.a. slow-cooker meals…which clearly takes some pre-planning).  And some days, I’m just pretty beat from the day, and don’t particularly feel like spending too much time cooking up some creation! So in these situations, there’s not much that really beats a quick fix of a fish on top of a huge pile of salad veggies.

The idea of seafood is a bit intimidating initially for some, for certain. But tame it out a little, use the right seasonings, and you’ve got a good potential of bringing those fish-fearing folks over to the sea side.  One thing that I have learned, at least when it comes to white fish such as tilapia and halibut, is that less is more.  And nothing seems to handle this on the seasoning front better than a lemon/pepper version.

One disclaimer I always like to note about fish is – the less “fishy” they smell, the fresher those little flippers are.  So if you’re buying your fish already thawed at the seafood counter, I’d advise using it within 2 days.

1 tbsp coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil, for cooking)
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for coating the fish, pre-seasoning)
3 filet tilapia, approximately 3/4 to 1 lb (for 2 people)
1 lemon
Black pepper, freshly ground


  • Rinse tilapia under cold water, and pat to dry.
  • With a basting brush, lightly coat the fillets on all sides with extra virgin olive oil. 
  • Lightly season both sides of the tilapia with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Slice the lemon into wedges, and squirt with a couple of sprays on each side.

  • Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan, over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil has heated up (but not yet smoking), add the tilapia filets.

  • Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side (around 7 minutes, total).
  • Top it off with another spritz of fresh lemon juice, for added flavor (and squeeze over top the salad veggies, if applicable). 
  • Serve!

See? Sometimes the intro is just way more monstrous than the recipe, itself!

*Note:  This same recipe also works well if you prefer to cook it on a grill.  Simply omit the coconut oil and pan-frying steps.  Put the fish on a square of aluminum foil, and place the foil on a pre-heated grill over medium-high heat.  Cooking time will be similar (if not a minute or 2 more), but you can always test for done-ness once the fish can be flaked easily with a fork.

Tilapia over a veggie-filled salad, sprinkled with fresh cilantro and red cabbage

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