When shopping for fresh fish fillets do you ever wonder why tilapia always seems to be available at the market? Tilapia is one of the most commonly farm raised fish in the world. That shouldn’t scare you off because there are tilapia farms that produce their fish responsibly and sustainably. Just look for “sustainably raised” or “sustainably sourced” on the package label or the display case tag. This is a great tasting and affordable fish that should not be overlooked.
Tilapia is a broad term for a variety of freshwater fish species. These fish are native to the rivers of Northern Africa, specifically the Nile River region. They were introduced to much of the rest of the world, notably Asia, as an easy and economical fish to produce commercially. Tilapia really don’t much mind being in crowded environments, making them suitable to thrive in farms.
When you see Tilapia in the market it is generally filleted with the skin removed and most bones pulled out. I actually don’t think I have ever seen a whole tilapia in the fish monger’s display case. My best recommendation for buying tilapia is to purchase fresh fillets at the fish counter where you can smell them and see them clearly. There should be no fishy odor and the sturdy flesh should glisten a little. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can smell the fish and get a closer look.
The Nutritional Goodness of Tilapia
We have been hearing a lot lately about getting enough high quality protein in our diets. Protein supports muscle and organ health. Fish is one of best sources of clean protein. A 3.5 ounce portion of tilapia boasts of 26 grams of protein at a mere 128 calories. The same portion size has zero carbohydrates and only 3 grams of fat.
Tilapia is rich in vitamins and minerals. Here are the stats for a 3.5 ounce portion:
- Selenium: 78% RDA (Recommended Daily Amount)
- Vitamin B12: 31% RDA
- Niacin: 24% RDA
- Phosphorus: 20% RDA
- Potassium: 20% RDA
The Flavor and Texture of Tilapia
Tilapia is very mild in flavor. This fish can stand to be well seasoned and used in a variety of different cuisines. If you want the fish be the star of the dish with little embellishment, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice will do the trick.
Grilling on a George Foreman Grill is a fabulous way to cook tilapia. The grill will help to add a little more flavor when the flesh grabs some of those grill marks. When cooked, the flesh is white and flaky. The recipe here is fairly basic, allowing for the fish itself to be centerpiece of the plate. The use of paprika in this recipe will help to bring that smoky flavor to the fish and will add a touch of color.
Easy Grilled Tilapia
- 1 lb fresh tilapia fillets, cut into 4 ounce portions
- 1-1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1-1/2 tsps smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
- Lemon wedges for serving
Total time:9 min – Prep time:5 min – Cook time:4 min – Serves:4 people
1. Preheat the Foreman grill to high with the top closed.
2. In a small bowl, combine the EVOO with the garlic. Brush the tilapia fillets on one side with 1/2 of the EVOO and garlic. Season with 1/2 the paprika, salt, and pepper. Flip the fish over and repeat.
3. Place the fillets on the grill and close the top. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until the flesh is opaque and flakes with a fork. Check the fish at 3 minutes. If you have a digital thermometer, you are looking for an internal temperature of 145°F.
4. Serve the whole fillet portions with lemon wedges and your favorite side dishes.
What to Serve with Grilled Tilapia
So as not to upstage the fish itself, I recommend sticking with simple fresh ingredient side dishes that aren’t overly seasoned. Grilled asparagus and a tomato salad come to mind. You can make both right before you grill the fish.
- 1 lb fresh asparagus spears, rinsed and dried
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Lemon zest for serving
Total time: 15 min – Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 5 min – Serves: 4 people
1. Preheat the Foreman grill to high with the top closed.
2. Cut the tough, woody ends off of the spears. You can test where to cut by snapping an end off with your hands. The stalks will naturally break where the tough meets the tender portion of the stalk. Place the asparagus on a large platter. Drizzle the EVOO over the spears and season with the garlic, salt, and pepper. Roll the spears with your hands to coat them evenly.
3. Grill the asparagus in 2 batches with the top closed for approximately 5 minutes until grill marks appear and the asparagus is slightly tender but still crisp.
4. Zest part of a lemon over the top of the grilled asparagus and serve warm or at room temperature.
Tomato & Corn Salad
- 1 pint of red grape tomatoes
- 2 cups frozen corn that has thawed
- 2 scallions
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 TBS red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup basil leaves
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Total time: 10 min + 30 minutes to chill – Serves: 4 people
1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters. Slice the scallions thinly, white and green parts. Combine the tomatoes, corn, and scallions in a serving bowl. Add the EVOO and vinegar and toss to coat.
2. Chiffonade the basil leaves by stacking them, rolling them tightly, and slicing thinly. Add the basil, salt, and pepper to the salad and toss once more.
3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
How do you grill flounder (preferrably rolled in cornmeal) on the george foreman grill? If cornmeal is not recommended, please send me a recipe for the flounder. thank you.
This recipe was delicious!! All I did was wash the tilapia seasoned it with paprika,seasoning salt, garlic powder, accent, and pepper and i put it on the grill for like 20 mins it was the bomb.com I made some fresh spinach on the stove and popped a bag of white rice steamables in the mic and I smashed!!!
I would not recommend using corn meal or flour on the foreman grill. Not even Crisco but I’ve seen others recommend Crisco. I tried that with chicken. I had to ash it out over again 3 times and was still removing it with paper towels.
I have done breaded chicken on my Forman. I put tinfoil on both top and bottom, no clean up problems. As a matter of fact I use the tinfoil all the time. My Forman is around 20 years old and the finish has started to come off on the ridges . This has helped me to extend the life of my Forman.
my george foreman grill only says 1,2,3,4,5 on the dial. A book did not come with it. How do I know what number to cook on????? It is just trial and error?
If you can assume that 1 is low, 5 is high, then 3 would be medium and 4 would be medium high, right? Unless it’s the other way around.
Can I grill frozen tilapia from Gorton’s on my George Foreman? If so, how long?
Omg!!! I have been using a GF Grill for decades and never thought to cook fish in it! It’s amazing! Sooo good!!! I used Old Bay seasoning instead of garlic