Clean Eating: Mexican Salad with Pan-Seared Whitefish

This past weekend was incredibly busy, as has been the past month (hence, no recent posts — but I continue to post at Instagram and Facebook, if you follow me there) and healthy meals have been a challenge.

This summer, I have been trying to lean toward more Mediterranean meals when I can, and part of that has been including two seafood meals per week. The heat has been so constant, and we were exhausted, so for dinner we needed something quick and fast — but light and tasty, too.

Luckily, I had everything on hand to make an impromptu meal we enjoyed so much that I’m going to share it here. It may seem like a lot of steps, but you can put together in about about 45 min (less, if you prep ahead of time). It’s also very flexible — take out or put in whatever appeals to you. I used ingredients I already had in the fridge or the cupboard.

First the picture — isn’t this pretty?


NOTE: You can use any fish in this recipe, but for a lighter meal, I like white fish – however, though the frozen Orange Roughy I bought at Wegmans had a “Sustainably Caught” seal on the package, I found out later that Roughy is actually one of the fish that is highest in Mercury, and not sustainable at all. So maybe not such a great choice. I wish I had checked ahead of time. You can check online here for best choices regarding sustainablity and mercury levels.

So, on to the meal! I will walk through the process I used, but there will be an ingredient list at the bottom of the post for easier shopping.


Two to four  4-6 oz servings of your chosen fish. Make sure they are thoroughly thawed if not fresh), pat them dry and season with a light dust of chili powder (I used mild), and lightly salt and pepper. You want to dust each side, but not douse them.

Set fish aside in the refrigerator while you make the salad.

THE SALAD (serves 4  healthy servings, but also fine for 2 really hungry people! 🙂

  • 1 head of very fresh Red Leaf Lettuce, soaked and washed (Leaf lettuce can have a lot of grit/dirt around the base and on the leaves). Whatever lettuce you use, chop it into 1-2 inch pieces. You can also use Romaine or Iceberg, but you need a sturdy lettuce (i.e., not Boston, Bibb, etc).
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (if frozen, thaw and pat dry on a paper towel). Put a bit of olive oil in a pan, warm it up and put in the corn with a light dusting of Cayenne pepper, or any chili pepper you prefer. Toast the kernels until they get some brown edges and are a slightly darker color, but not until they are dried out. Take them out of the pan and set aside on a plate (you can cool them in the fridge, which is what I did).
  • 1 can of Goya Black Bean Soup — I emptied the can in a strainer and rinsed well (you don’t want the soup, but the beans are very nicely seasoned).
  • 1 bag of nacho corn chips (not Doritos, etc ) — I used Trader Joe’s White Corn Nacho Chips.

Add other items (chopped, not sliced):

  • Roasted Red Peppers (I used two large peppers from a jar I bought at Costco)
  • 1-2 ripe but not mushy Avocados
  • 1/2  Red Onion (You could also use a sauteed sweet yellow onion, cooled)
  • 6-8″ Zucchini or other summer squash cut to a 1/2″ dice
  • Halved (very ripe) grape or cherry tomatoes

Mix the above, and anything else you’d like to include (olives, mango, hot peppers, etc) for the salad.  I wouldn’t recommend any cheese on this salad, with the fish, but that’s up to you. We don’t eat much cheese, but in my opinion, this salad didn’t need it.


Whisk together:

  • 1/4 cup Olive or Grapeseed Oil
  • 2 tbs White Wine Vinegar
  • Juice from 2 limes (try to use fresh)
  • 1 tbs honey
  • salt, pepper, and cumin to taste

Take a handful or two of the nacho chips and use your hands to crunch them into slightly smaller pieces, but not too small.  Set aside.


Prep a pan over medium-high heat with a pat of butter and olive oil (I prefer cast iron; you could also use the grill — nonstick is generally not preferred for searing).

When the pan is hot and the butter is melted, put your fillets in and let the first side cook until it shows a nice sear — 3-4 minutes, for the fish I used (something like flounder or a thin cut might be less).

Flip and sear the second side, then check for doneness —  fish is safely cooked at around 145F degrees – though remember the temperature will continue to rise a bit as you let it rest, so 140 is a safe bet.

When done, take the fillets out of the pan and place on a plate to the side — let them rest for a minute while you finish the salad by adding the crushed chips and toss it all with the dressing. Put the salad on the side of the fish, and serve!

A bowl of extra chips on the table will be welcome, and if you really want to up this a notch, you could serve in a homemade tortilla bowl and put the fish on top. 🙂


  • 2-4 pieces of White fish 4-6 oz
  • 1 head Red Leaf, Romaine or Iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1-2 Avocados — ripe but not mushy
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 Goya Black Bean Soup
  • One 6-8″ Zucchini or summer squash
  • 6-12 Cherry or Grape tomatoes
  • 2 limes
  • Olive or Grapeseed Oil
  • Honey
  • White Wine Vingear
  • Cumin, Cayenne, Chili Powder, Salt, Pepper
  • Butter


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