In food, as in life, sometimes you don’t get it right the first time. These Fish Taco Salad Bowls took a few times to get just right, but trust me when I tell you they were worth the wait!
I remember the first time I heard about fish tacos. I was in college (I know, I know, I was late to the fish taco game) and the Mr. was telling me about one of his favorite foods, the crunchy fish tacos at Del Taco. At the mention of a fish taco, I’m pretty sure my nose curled up in disgust. A fish…taco? I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea. We didn’t have Del Taco in Ohio, and I wasn’t particularly adventurous in my pre-college days so the whole fish taco thing was completely foreign to me.
It was probably another year before I actually tried one. The Mr. and I were out on a date at a fun little Mexican restaurant, and he convinced me to try a bite of his beloved fish tacos. It was love at first bite. I probably ended up eating more of his tacos than my own meal. The combination of crispy fish, crunchy cabbage, and spicy creamy dressing was addicting. From that night on, I was sold.
I’ve had these Fish Taco Salad Bowls on the brain for awhile now. I wanted to recreate my favorite tacos, but in a form that was healthy enough to enjoy every night of the week. It took me a few tries to get this just right. The first time was good, but the Mr. and I both agreed it was missing something. I originally tried this with a cilantro lime vinaigrette, but the dressing just wasn’t enough to pull the salad together. The Mr. and I both decided a creamier dressing was in order.
The second time around, I amped up the flavor of the fish and whipped up a quick creamy dressing featuring the sweet heat of Sriracha, tangy lime, and cilantro. The dressing made all the difference. This salad went from good to AH-mazing with just that simple swap.
To call this salad LOADED would be an understatement. I made these when the garden was overflowing with produce, so I threw just about everything in there- cabbage, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, tomato, and avocado. The second time around I also added a sprinkle of queso fresco and a few crunchy tortilla strips. You can feel free to mix it up with your own favorites, or set out bowls of toppings and let everyone create their own ultimate fish taco salad.
A quick note about the fish. Fish is, after all, kind of the star of this dish. I used mahi mahi fillets for this, but any firm white fish would be great. I like to let the fish marinate for 15 minutes or so while I chop and prep the other ingredients, but it’s not completely necessary. Lately, I’ve started broiling fish, and I love this method for getting a nice browned exterior and keeping the interior nice and flaky. The fish is perfectly done in about 8 minutes, which means you can have these big ol’ salad bowls on your table in less than 30 minutes. That’s what I call winning the weeknight.
P.S. If you make this recipe (which I really, really hope you do!), just note the dressing won’t look like these photos. The dressing in the picture is the original lime vinaigrette. I photographed these before changing the dressing, so what you see is the lime vinaigrette in all it’s green glory.
For the salad:
For the dressing:
For the fish:
For the salad:
For the dressing: