From sushi to simple sticks covered in bread, fish is one of the most nutrient-packed meats on the market and beloved to many. It can be prepared in all manner of ways but, not all those ways are truly healthy.
Admittedly, covering your fish in bread, cracker, or even chip crumbs can be surprisingly delicious, but it’s not always the most health-conscious choice. Sometimes though, especially if you’re dealing with little ones or adults that have a picky palate, fish sticks and battered fish may appeal. There is however a wealth of different ways you can season fish to make them just as delicious. If you are stumped for ideas, we’re here to help out!
Lemon & Garlic
Lemon and garlic have long been a perfect seasoning for many white fish dishes. Fresh white fish and its beloved, delicate flavor is really brought to the forefront with the lemon-garlic combination in sauces or simply a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of chopped garlic.
Plus, this ultra-simple combo is quick, easy and nearly painless to use for seasoning. It’s quick enough to become a main dish at the last minute or become part of a larger meal as lemon and garlic tend to be a neutral flavor palette.
Some fish that taste wonderful with lemon and garlic:
Quick Lemon & Garlic tips:
- A little bit of lemon zest added along with the lemon juice will really make the citrus flavor pop.
- A sprinkle of fresh parsley adds a beautiful garnish and doesn’t bring any strong flavor influences to disrupt your lemon or garlic. Add a pinch before serving.
You may have heard of Teriyaki chicken, but have you ever considered the seasoning for fish? The slightly sweet, savory sauce or glaze makes a perfect flavor punch to fish. For the healthiest version, you can make your own teriyaki sauce or glaze at home.
Replace sugar with honey or maple syrup for sweetness. On the glycemic index, both honey and maple syrup is much lower. Of course, you can also replace it with your favorite artificial sugar replacement as well.
Switch out the regular soy sauce for reduced-sodium soy sauce for the same flavor, but less salt.
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch + ¼ cup of water.
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon of fresh, chopped ginger
- In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water, set aside.
- Heat a pot over medium-high heat. Add in the 1 cup of water, soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger. Stir.
- Just as it begins to bubble right before boiling, add in your cornstarch mix and stir continuously for 7-10 mins or until it reaches a consistency you desire.
- Take off the heat and let cool if storing.
This Teriyaki sauce will last in the fridge 1-2 weeks.
Recommended fish that pairs well with this is Salmon.
Salsa’s not just for the chip! Many salsas, including homemade, are delicious and healthy. There are all sorts to choose from, spicy, tangy, or sweet. Mango or Peach salsa work exceptionally well paired with fish and when using all fresh, or low-calorie natural ingredients is definitely a low-calorie alternative.
Easy Mango Salsa
- 1 ripe mango, diced
- 1 red pepper, finely chopped
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 tablespoon cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl and serve over fish of choice. For better flavor, allow the salsa to sit in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight, covered.
Fish that taste amazing with mango salsa are Halibut and Mahi Mahi.
For a piece of fish with a mild to spicy kick, blackening seasoning, which is easily available via a grocery store or favorite market, is a very flavor-packed seasoning. You don’t need to blacken the fish if you don’t want to, but for the full experience, you can add a bit of low-fat oil and sear on high heat after coating it with the below spice mix.
If you’re watching your sodium or wanting a salt free blackened spice:
- 1 ½ tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground black peppers
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Mix the above in a clean, airtight container to keep and store in a cool, dark place.
For a sweet yet tangy taste, honey mustard is the perfect choice for seasoning up a dish. Honey, as it’s lower on the glycemic index than sugar, is a better choice. Of course, any sweetener replacement you enjoy could work here as well.
You can make a honey mustard baste or sauce with as much mustard spice as you like by changing the types of mustard used, such as Dijon, whole mustard, spicy brown and so on.
Honey Mustard Sauce:
- ½ cup whole grain mustard
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup of honey
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, oil, honey, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour the sauce over fish.
Recommended fish: Salmon, Sea Bass, Haddock, Cod, or Tilapia.
Baking the fish in the mustard sauce is a great way to have all flavors seep and mingle.
Making your own Healthy Fish Seasoning: Tips and Tricks
These aren’t all the healthy ways you can season your fish of course. There are hundreds of ways to make fish appealing to all sorts of picky eaters. When it comes to healthier seasoning, a great tip is to look for salt-free or low sodium, low sugar spices and of course, feel free to try a DIY experiment!
- Spicy – Spicy fish rubs are super simple to keep healthful. Start with a ground black or ground white pepper base, as pepper has roughly 7 calories per entire teaspoon. Chili powder is a sweet undertone that can contribute to the heat of the pepper. Crushed red pepper, red pepper flakes or cayenne will give it a real spice-kick for those that love that tingly mouth feeling.
- Citrus – Rubbing fish with citrus; lime, lemon, grapefruit or orange is always a fresh, zingy flavor that contrasts well with any side dish. Using a touch of any citrus fruits zest (or peel) will heighten that bright citrus flavor.
- Herbs – Herb rubs are beautifully paired with light tasting fish. This allows your herb combination to stand out. Fresh herbs are ideal, but dry ones can produce a great taste too. Parsley is always a perfect base to start with. Other herbs that work are dill, cilantro, thyme, oregano, and mint!
There is a whole world of delectable, delicious, savory, sweet, and spicy options to healthily season your fish any way you like. We hope you enjoy your next fish dish!