Coconut-Cilantro Tilapia & Mango-Cucumber Rice Salad

Tilapia & Rice 2

If you’re willing to do some chopping, these are both easy recipes that taste great.  In fact, they’re so damn delicious that you’ll forget that they’re healthy, too!  The spicy fish was a nice break from chicken and pork, and the rice salad is so fresh and cool – great for a hot afternoon.  It’s a perfect substitute for potato salad or macaroni salad if you’re trying to watch your weight.

Total Time: 45 mins to 1 hour (if do them both at the same time – if you’ve got help chopping, you can get it done quicker!)

Serves: 4

Baked Tilapia with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce:


  • Canola oil spray
  • Four 6-ounce pieces of tilapia fillet
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste.
  • 1/2 cup light, reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon peeled, chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (a mixture of Indian spices that comes in a packet – see a description here)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (if you want some spice, leave the seeds in.  We used three whole cayenne peppers, fresh from Nanny’s garden, and that put a scrumptious bite to it!)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (F).  Spray a 9×13″ baking pan with canola oil spray.  Sprinkle the fish with the salt & pepper and place it in the pan.
  2. Combine the coconut milk, cilantro, ginger, garam masala, garlic, and jalapeno in a blender and pulse until fairly smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture over the fish.
  4. Bake until the fish is just opaque in the center, about 15 minutes.
  5. Garnish with more cilantro and serve with the rice.

Tips: There’s really not anything you can do to mess up this dish, unless you accidentally make it too spicy.  If that’s the case (you can taste your sauce before you pour it on the fish), you can just add some more coconut milk to cool it down.  When we made it last night, we just added some more of the things we like (ginger, cayenne peppers, and a little more coconut milk).   I’m sure this sauce would taste great on chicken, too! 

Mango-Cucumber Rice Salad:


  • salt
  • 1 &1/2 cups of rice
  • 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime (We didn’t have a lime, so we just used 2 tablespoons of bottled lime juice)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chopped mango (I accidentally let our mango get too ripe, so it was a little mushy in the salad – make sure and pick one that’s still kind of firm)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 red jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced (again, we used a whole cayenne pepper, and left the seeds in for some spice)
  • 2 scallions, thinkly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped salted roasted peanuts


  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the rice and cook, stirring until tender, 25-35 minutes (depending on the rice).
  2. Meanwhile, bring a separate saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add the quinoa and cook until tender, about 12 minutes.
  3. Drain the grains and rinse under warm water until cool; shake off the excess water (place in the fridge to cool it on down while you get the rest of the ingredients ready)
  4. Whisk the lime juice and zest, the peanut oil, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a large Bowl.
  5. Add in the rice & quinoa, mango, cucumber, jalapeno, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts and stir to combine.  Season with salt.

Tips: This really is an excellent dish – cool, with the perfect sweet/savory mixture.  It’s best when it’s cold, so let it sit in the fridge for 10 minutes if you can (or, if you don’t want to wait, even throw it in the freezer for 5 minutes or so!)  But, unfortunately, it doesn’t really taste good the next day, so make sure and eat it up while it’s fresh! 

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