Fish Taco Rice Bowls

As you age, replacing some of the cholesterol- and saturated-fat-heavy red meat in your diet with healthier protein options such as fish, poultry, beans/legumes, nuts, low-fat dairy products and whole grains is a smart move. Reducing your intake of these meats (especially in the form of processed or cured meats such as hot dogs, sausages, bacon, and cold cuts) can be beneficial to your waistline. More importantly, however, it can lengthen your lifespan by lowering your risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

While there’s no need to go completely vegan, the key is to think about red meat as something to be consumed in moderation, rather than as part of your regular diet. Keep in mind that a serving is 3 ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards. Try to scale back the amount you eat gradually rather than all at once, especially if you’re used to having it on a daily basis. Or, try to use small amounts of beef, pork, or lamb as flavor enhancers rather than constituting the bulk of the meal itself. For example, use small amounts of ground, diced or shredded red meat to add to a skillet meal, pasta, casserole or soup with lots of additional vegetables and grains. Or, think about adding thinly sliced steak or roasted meats to a sandwich or quesadilla that also includes roasted vegetables and cheese for flavor and bulk. 

Fish taco rice bowls

Don’t be afraid of replacing the red meat outright for some meals, either. Making this change doesn’t have to mean swapping out your favorite steak for a bland piece of tofu or overcooked fish. Incorporating more of these healthier protein choices can actually open up the door to a vast array of new flavors and textures that you might have otherwise overlooked. In fact, you might be surprised by how much you like these alternatives.

To help get you started, try the following recipe for fish taco rice bowls. Inspired by Baja-style fish tacos but transformed into a filling rice bowl format using whole grain brown rice, this complete meal for two comes together quickly. The spiced cubes of fish are sautéed rather than fried, and supplemented with canned black beans for extra protein. Several fresh and flavorful fixings top it off: a crunchy limey slaw that can be made with bagged cole slaw mix (found in the salad aisle of the supermarket) if you prefer not to julienne the cabbage yourself, prepared salsa, creamy cubes of fresh avocado, and some extra lime wedges for additional zing at the table.

Fish Taco Rice Bowls

Use your favorite homemade or store-bought (preferably refrigerated rather than jarred) salsa to top this taco bowl.

Ingredients

Chip and salsa

1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 tsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

2 cups julienned cabbage or bagged coleslaw mix 

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

3/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

8 oz. firm white-fleshed fish, such as halibut, cod, or rockfish, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 cups cooked brown rice

1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup prepared salsa

1/2 avocado, cubed

Chopped cilantro, for sprinkling (optional)

Lime wedges, for serving

Cooking Instructions

Senior woman prepping fish

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, sugar, oregano and 1/4 tsp. of the salt. Add the cabbage and onion and toss to combine. Set aside.

2. Place the fish on a plate. In a small bowl, combine the paprika, cumin and 1/2 tsp. of the salt. Sprinkle evenly over the fish.

3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook until opaque and firm to the touch, about 5 minutes. 

4. Divide the rice between 2 bowls. Top each with half of the fish, slaw, salsa, avocado and beans.

5. Sprinkle each taco bowl with cilantro, if desired, and serve with lime wedges alongside.

Serves 2.

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