For a well-rounded meal that keeps you full, try these 16 tasty side dishes for tilapia. From mac & cheese to lemon rice, the options are endless.
Tilapia is a tasty and nutritious fish. But while it may be healthy, it isn’t very filling.
Luckily, with its mild flavor and texture, you can serve all kinds of delicious sides with it.
Whether it’s a simple cup of rice, healthy roasted vegetables, or crispy baked fries, you will never run out of choices.
Bake it, pan-fry or grill it, or even throw it in the coals. (Check out my post “how long to bake tilapia at 350” if you’re unsure.)
Either way, these 16 scrumptious side dishes for tilapia will elevate your meal to a whole new level.
1. Jasmine Rice
Because tilapia is rich in protein, you’ll want to pair it with carbs for a fuller meal.
When it comes to carbs that go well with tilapia, jasmine rice fits the bill. It has a heavenly floral aroma that will make any dish super appetizing.
The floral and nutty flavor goes perfectly with savory tilapia, as well.
If you want rice with a stronger flavor profile, cilantro lime rice is the way to go.
It has a nice zestiness that enhances the flavor of the fish, and the kick of lime juice plays well with the buttery tilapia.
You only need three ingredients to make this totally delightful side. It’s so easy, too!
Step one: boil rice. Step two, mix in cilantro and lime juice. That’s it!
With a corn casserole, you’ll give your delicate tilapia a sweet and crunchy contrast.
It doesn’t matter if you use fresh, canned, or frozen corn – it will taste amazing no matter what.
Along with some bell pepper and a breadcrumb crust, this side dish is phenomenal.
Elevate your simple dinner with a fancy Italian side dish!
Risotto is filling and also has a stunning combination of creamy, nutty, and cheesy flavors that go well with tilapia.
You could make any kind (mushroom, parmesan, butternut squash) since the fish is so mild, but I like this basic recipe best.
5. Mac & Cheese
Everything tastes better with mac and cheese. And since tilapia is kind of plain, it’s a good idea to pair it with a bold side dish.
Mac and cheese is so rich and creamy, it will give your meal the burst of flavor that it needs.
Plus, it’s family-friendly and kid-approved!
If you’re making fried, battered tilapia, this one’s a no-brainer. There’s a reason fish and chips is a thing, after all – they’re delicious together!
These baked fries are a cinch to make. Just slice up potatoes into sticks or wedges and drizzle them with olive oil.
Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and your favorite seasonings. Then pop them in the oven and wait until they’re golden.
If you want something fancier than fries, roasted potatoes go just as well with tilapia.
Not only do they taste delicious, but they’re also easy to make.
All you need to do is toss some baby potatoes onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle the spuds with parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, then bake. That’s it!
If you’re in a rush, you can speed up the cooking process by microwaving the potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes before you bake them.
This neat little trick will cut your cooking time in half!
8. Lemon Rice
Okay, so by now it’s obvious that I’m obsessed with rice.
Some people think rice is bland and boring, but to me, it’s addictive, especially when served with the perfect entrée.
No matter how you cook your tilapia, it will always taste good with rice.
If you want even more flavorful rice than the first two I’ve recommended, here’s a dish that will not disappoint.
Flavor your rice with lemon, roasted peanuts, ginger, and green chilis! You can even use basmati rice and add your favorite Indian spices for an Asian twist!
If you have zucchini lying around, I suggest you turn it into fantastic fritters.
They’re incredibly easy to make, and they taste so good with fried tilapia!
Just combine shredded and drained zucchini with flour, egg, parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper to make the batter.
Then scoop and fry until golden brown.
Not a fan of zucchini? Try these corn fritters instead!
10. Brussels Sprouts
For some, Brussels sprouts are tiny cabbage balls that must be avoided at all costs.
Over the years, they’ve gotten a reputation for having a bitter flavor.
They’re so good for you, though! And if you cook them the right way, they’re fantastic.
Believe me, growing up I hated them too, but once I learned how to cook them properly, I changed my mind.
Now, I love pairing them with baked tilapia for a healthy meal.
The key to creamy and nutty Brussels sprouts is to roast them in the oven only for 20 to 40 minutes.
The cooking time depends on how crunchy or tender you want them.
Don’t go over or under that prescribed roasting period, or else you’ll end up with sulfur-tasting sprouts!
Pasta salad is a wonderful Italian invention that I can’t get enough of because it combines two of my favorite side dishes!
For my grilled tilapia, I love making a broccoli and tortellini salad because the textures of the vegetable, pasta, and fish contrast each other very well.
To make this pasta salad, just combine blanched broccoli, tortellini, red onions, raisins, sunflower seeds, and bacon bits.
You could even use stuffed tortellini if you wanted to add an extra flavor boost.
For the dressing, combine mayo, sugar, and vinegar for a simple yet delicious vinaigrette.
There are a myriad of ways to prepare cauliflower, but for me, roasting is hands down the best (and easiest, if I may add).
You just pop it in the oven, and it’s all set!
When you roast this cruciferous veggie, you transform it into a sweet and nutty dish that pairs beautifully with tilapia.
You can even kick it up a notch by topping it with parmesan cheese! It’s a simple addition, but the added flavor makes the dish even more sublime.
If you want a fresh approach to roasting cauliflower, try the Middle Eastern method that’s just as easy and delish.
For this version, you need not cut the cauliflower before roasting. Yup, just pop the whole thing in the oven!
But before you do, coat it in tahini dressing with garlic. Then sprinkle it with your favorite herbs and seasonings, such as parsley and sesame seeds. Beautiful.
Steamed broccoli is already delicious with just some salt and pepper, but try mixing things up with some soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and red pepper.
If you’re a fan of sweet and salty flavor combos, you’ll love this!
Here’s another suggestion: stir in some chopped cashews for a creamy and nutty contrast.
It adds another layer of flavor and texture that goes well with broccoli. Together with baked tilapia? It’s the perfect combination.
As for healthy sides, asparagus always makes it to the top of my list.
Some people often pass on this veggie because, first of all, it’s expensive.
Second, they’re not fans of its slightly bitter flavor.
I can’t do anything about problem number one. But as for the bitterness, that’s easily fixable.
Just roast these nutritious spears in the oven and it will kill that off-putting flavor in an instant.
If you want to give it extra crunch and flavor, coat it in panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. It’s so good, especially with grilled tilapia!
Coleslaw has a delicate balance of creaminess and tanginess. I love serving it with tilapia not only because of its flavor but also its temperature.
The combination of freshly fried tilapia and chilled coleslaw creates such a glorious contrast that my taste buds can’t resist!
And, the best part? It’s super quick and easy to make.
Just toss shredded cabbage and carrots in a mayo dressing in a bowl and chill it in a fridge for a few hours.
Why not throw in some broccoli in there as well? Aside from the added crunch, it will also give your coleslaw a nice pop of color.
And hey, if you have leftovers, you could always make the slaw and fish into tacos!
This creamy delight will level up your dinner.
Potatoes are delicious no matter how you cook them, but when you slice them thinly and top them with a rich and cheesy sauce, they become even more magnificent.
Here’s how to make au gratin potatoes – cut potatoes into ¼ inch-thick slices. Layer them in a pan and top with onion slices.
To make the sauce, combine melted butter, flour, and a pinch of salt in a pan over medium heat. Add milk and stir to form a roux.
Mix in shredded cheese and stir until the cheese melts.
Pour the mixture over the potatoes and onions. Cover the pan with foil, and bake for 1 ½ hours at 400 degrees. Yum!
For this recipe, I use cheddar cheese, but feel free to experiment with other cheeses, too.
More Delicious Side Dishes To Try
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