Spicy Grilled Fish with Citrus Slaw

Spicy Grilled Fish tastes even better when you pair it with fresh citrus slaw! Served on its own or on a tortilla, you’ll love this easy healthy meal.

Spicy Grilled Fish with Citrus Slaw: a delicious and healthy dinner that puts color on your plate! #fish #healthy #dinner www.shugarysweets.com

Fish seems to be one of those divisive foods. Some can’t get enough of it, others won’t touch it with a 6 foot pole. If you’re in the latter category, I have a fish recipe that just might change your mind!

Grilled Fish

Cooked correctly, fish is one of my favorite proteins. It’s healthy, easy to prepare, and I love how well it absorbs the flavors of all kinds of marinades and seasonings.

There’s no better way to enjoy fish than when it’s grilled! Use an outdoor grill or a grill pan on the stove, brush the fish with a spicy citrus marinade and cook it to flaky perfection. With grilling you can control the heat and the cook time more easily, resulting in perfect flaky fish every time.

We love our grilled fish best paired with this easy citrus slaw. The coolness from the citrus salad combined with the spicy fish is a perfect match.

Serve the fish on a plate and top it with a generous amount of the salad for a light meal. You can also put this fish and slaw on a tortilla, I know my kids love to eat everything on a tortilla!

Spicy Grilled Fish with Citrus Slaw: a delicious and healthy dinner that puts color on your plate! #fish #healthy #dinner www.shugarysweets.com

What Fish to Use

Tilapia is my preferred fish to use in this recipe because my kids love it! I choose 4 oz tilapia fillets–they’re the ideal size for grilling.

You can try other types of fish like salmon or tuna too, just adjust your cooking times based on the thickness of the fillets.

Citrus Salad

The ingredients list for the citrus slaw I make with our grilled fish looks lengthy, but it’s super easy to assemble and really MAKES the meal. Don’t skip it!

With crunchy cabbage, red onion, peppers, basil and cilantro the slaw is a total explosion of flavor! Jalapenos make it spicy and the fresh orange juice ties everything together.

And, can I just say one more thing about the citrus salad? If you have some of this leftover, please save it. It’s delicious on a sandwich. Or a burger. Or just with a fork!

Step by Step

STEP 1. Assemble the slaw

Toss all the citrus slaw ingredients together in a large salad bowl. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

STEP 2. Season the fish

Mix chili powder, garlic salt, salt, cumin and cayenne in a small bowl. Add lime juice and mix thoroughly. Brush the seasoning on both sides of the fish filets.

STEP 3. Grill

Grill the seasoned fish fillets for 5 minutes on each side, or until the fish is flaky at the touch of a fork. Be careful not to overcook.

Serve immediately on a plate with a heaping portion of citrus slaw on top of each filet!

Serving Ideas

See that broccoli in the background? I know your wondering how to make that too, right? It’s actually adapted from my Roasted Broccoli recipe. I just only used broccoli and I kept the parmesan cheese off. Roasted veggies made the meal complete.

This spicy grilled fish is awesome in tacos, in rice bowls or tossed into a dinner salad, too! If making tacos, be sure to warm the tortillas first for best taste.

Store leftover grilled fish in the refrigerator and enjoy within a day. Leftovers taste good cold in a salad or wrap for lunch.

Speaking of fish tacos, after you make this grilled fish, you need to try Fish Tacos with Avocado Sauce. Not only is the fish tasty, but I dream about this avocado sauce. It’s borderline life changing.

Fish Taco with Avocado Sauce from www.shugarysweets.com
Yield: serves 6

Spicy Grilled Fish with Citrus Slaw

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Easy spicy grilled fish recipe with a homemade citrus cole slaw! Healthy and delicious.


For the Fish:

  • 6 (4oz) tilapia fillets
  • 1 ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

For the Slaw:

  • 1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • ½ small red onion, sliced in thin strips
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large orange, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper


  1. For the Slaw, mix everything in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. For the fish, mix chili powder, garlic salt, salt, cumin and cayenne in a small bowl. Add juice of one lime and mix thoroughly.
  3. Heat grill pan on medium-high heat with olive oil in pan. Brush both sides of fish with seasoning. Grill 5 minutes on each side, or until flakes with a fork.
  4. To serve: lay grilled fish on a plate and top with a heaping serving of citrus slaw. ENJOY.
  5. **you can also warm up flour tortilla and place fish and slaw inside, eat and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on January 9, 2013

Comments & Reviews

  1. Loved this recipe. Followed the directions as stated and hubby was impressed! I don’t think there’s a better way to prepare fish.

  2. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your
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  3. I’ve always wanted to make a citrus slaw and this was a great recipe. Thanks for sharing with us. I added a little lime to your slaw recipe and it was so good. My husband loved this meal too! He’s not a big fan of fish. So double thank you 🙂 I shared your recipe link on my blog so I can could share with family & friends. I will be checking back for more delicious recipes.

    1. Angel, I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe! It’s so good, and I love to hear feedback from others! Thanks for coming back and letting me know 🙂

  4. Your recipes are AMAZING! This slaw is so yummy and healthy I make it by itself, even though the fish its super yummy too! I don’ t normally leave comments, but your recipes have made me a big hit! I made the peppermint cheesecake over the holidays and my husband wants it in other flavors now. You are an amazing chef and I check your blog frequently for more recipes. Thank you for sharing your gift with the rest of us!

    1. So glad you are enjoying my recipes! And thank you so much for the sweet words!
      This slaw is one of my favorites too…I love putting it on a sandwich!
      As for the cheesecake cake, I’m totally with your hubs. I am constantly running ideas through my head for more varieties!

  5. Those look amazing! I love a good spicy fish, and the citrus slaw!!! YUM!

    Your pics are gorgeous, Aimee!

  6. I have never grilled fish before. Your recipe looks very yummy so I may have to give it a try. Stopping by from Tatertots & Jello. 🙂

  7. We (try to) eat tilapia or other fish once a week – and my kiddo loves it! But I’m always looking for different ways to change up my recipes, so this is a perfect one for me to have on hand. Pinning to make next week – thanks so much for sharing this!

  8. These look delicious! I can’t wait to try them! I am co-hosting a new Pinterest Power Party and would love to have you share this or any other projects that you have!



  9. I just tried to make fish tacos last night for my family and they were so no appetizing and they made me sad >_<.

    This citrus slaw might've helped though! You're fish looks so crispy and flaky – this is a healthy recipe I wouldn't mind trying out! Perhaps I'll brave fish in the kitchen again 😉

  10. Tilapia is really the only way I will eat fish. I’m thinking that I would like all that spiciness going on too!!!

  11. This looks super healthy. I would adore that grilled fish and I love a nice spicy kick to my seafood.

  12. Is it strange that I really want this right now… at 8am. This is getting made very very soon!

  13. This is my kind of dinner…I love combining grilled fish and fresh fruit, and while I’ve made lots of salsas to go on fish, I’ve never tried this kind of slaw—sounds wonderful!

  14. I so often find myself making the same old same old recipe I usually do for tilapia. I can’t wait to try this recipe to “spice” things up! 🙂

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