Easy healthy dinner tonight – crispy walnut tilapia

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Enjoy the same crispiness of fried fish with a fresh, healthy twist by baking tilapia coated in crushed walnuts and whole wheat bread crumbs. This recipe only takes 20-25 minutes to make from start to finish, so it’s perfect for an easy weekday dinner.

Walnuts add crunch, flavor and extra nutrients to this tilapia recipe. Walnuts are one of AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer due to their high levels of polyphenols, which are phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties. In addition to their cancer-protective properties, walnuts are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and other important nutrients including copper and manganese.

Tilapia is also the perfect fish to serve coated and baked due to it’s mild flavor and flaky texture. Tilapia is rich in protein while being lower in calories than most other fish due to it’s lower fat content (compared to fattier fish, such as salmon).

This recipe can be made with fresh or frozen (and thawed) tilapia. Because this recipe is so simple with a relatively short list of ingredients, I like to keep frozen tilapia and walnuts on hand so I can easily make this dish any night without taking a trip to the grocery store.

If you have them, fresh herbs such as basil, parsley or thyme can also add nice color and flavor to this recipe.

I served this recipe with a simple heirloom tomato and basil salad and orzo pasta. It would also pair well with roasted red potatoes and any green vegetable to add some color to your plate.

What summer sides would you pair this dish with?

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
Zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
2/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 lb tilapia

1. Preheat oven to 425 and coat baking dish with 1 tsp olive oil.
2. Beat egg in mixing bowl and add lemon zest, remaining olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
3. Mix walnuts and bread crumbs in a large bowl.
4. Dip fish into egg mixture. Then dredge in crumb-nut mixture, coating both sides well. Place breaded fillets on prepared cooking dish.
5. Bake for 17 minutes (or until inside of filet appears opaque) and serve.
Makes 4 servings

Per Serving: 253 Calories:  11 g Fat (2 g Saturated Fat), 27 g Protein, 11 g Carbohydrate, 2 g Fiber, 148mg Sodium

Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is the Manager of Nutrition and Wellness at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her on Twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.




2 thoughts on “Easy healthy dinner tonight – crispy walnut tilapia”

    1. Hi Susanne,
      According to the USDA National Nutrient Database though, any changes in nutritional value are minimal. There is some research showing that roasting of almonds actually helps preserve phenolic compounds but I couldn’t find any information on how toasting might affect walnuts’ phytochemical compounds.. But, if toasting walnuts helps you enjoy your snack more, that is important!

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