Grilled Tilapia Recipe with Tomato-Avocado Salsa

5 from 4 votes
40 minutes
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This easy grilled tilapia recipe is the perfect summer dinner! Quick-cooking, budget-friendly tilapia is paired with a vibrant Tomato and Avocado Salsa that rocks with flavor. Serve my Mexican Sweet Potato Wedges on the side for a healthy meal everyone will love!

Grilled Tilapia with Tomato - Avocado Salsa with lime wedges on sheet pan.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Tilapia is this country’s favorite farmed fish because it has a mild flavor and is relatively budget-friendly. That mild flavor means it’s also very versatile! It can be safely produced in quantity so that helps to lower the price tag.

This easy grilled tilapia recipe comes together in about 40 minutes and is paired with a tomato and avocado salsa that compliments it perfectly. It’s one of our favorite grilled tilapia recipes.

This grilled tilapia recipe is:

  • Easy!
  • Festive!
  • Ready in under an hour.
  • Super light and healthy, with approximately 200 calories per serving!
  • Simply delicious!

Let’s make it!

Grilled Tilapia with Tomato - Avocado Salsa on round metal plate with white rice garnished with cilantro and a lime wedge.

How to Make Grilled Tilapia with Tomato-Avocado Salsa:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this grilled tilapia recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Grilled Tilapia with Tomato - Avocado Salsa on marble countertop.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Tilapia Fillets: As mentioned above, tilapia is fish that’s farmed all over the world. I will only buy tilapia from Whole Foods because they are open about their source and provide detailed information about how it is raised. I also like that the fillets are small–approximately four ounces each and come in a two-pound bag with individually-wrapped fillets so I can take out exactly what I need. They also thaw quickly.
  • Tomatoes: Any tomato will work, but I prefer plum or Roma tomatoes in a fresh salsa like this one because they’re not as watery as round tomatoes. Cherry or grape tomatoes are too seedy, and it’s labor-intensive to remove them.
  • Jalapenos: Use jalapenos or, for more heat, serrano peppers. The heat in chile peppers is mostly in the seeds and membrane, so remove them if you can’t tolerate anything spicy. Wearing disposable gloves when handling hot peppers is a good idea, and be careful not to touch your eyes or anything else sensitive.
  • Avocado: If you’re not an avocado fan, you can substitute corn, black beans or use all tomatoes.
  • Chili Powder: Chili powder blends ground, dried chiles such as New Mexico, Ancho, or Cascabel and assorted spices like cumin, oregano and paprika. The flavor profile can differ depending on the specific blend.
  • Limes: Fresh lime juice is always best!

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients for this easy tilapia recipe.
  • Combine tomatoes, avocado, jalapeno (or serrano), red onion, garlic, cilantro, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, the juice of one whole lime, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • Cut the other lime in half and squeeze the juice from one half over both sides of the tilapia fillets. Cut the remaining half of the second lime into quarters to serve with the fish.
  • Drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the tilapia fillets.
  • Season the tilapia fillets with salt and black pepper. Rub both sides of the fillets with the chili powder.
Four pieces of seasoned tilapia fillets on white plastic cutting board.
  • Drizzle the remaining olive oil on a grill pan or oil the grates of your outdoor grill with a high-heat oil such as canola. You can also use a cooking spray for your outdoor grill. (Don’t use cooking spray on nonstick surfaces.)
  • Place the tilapia fillets on the hot grill or grill pan and grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side (depending upon thickness).
Four pieces of grilled tilapia on nonstick square grill pan.
  • Plate the grilled tilapia, top with salsa and serve with lime quarters.

Done! A festive, healthy, grilled tilapia recipe you’ll put on repeat!

Four pieces of Grilled Tilapia with Tomato - Avocado Salsa on sheet pan.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • Although seeding tomatoes is an extra step, it’s a step that’s well worth it. The acid in the lime juice will cause the tomatoes to soften up rather quickly, and the seeds will make them even more watery. To deseed tomatoes, cut them into quarters, lay them skin-side down on a cutting board, and scrape with a sharp paring knife to separate the pulp and seeds from the flesh.
  • Rubbing the chili powder onto the tilapia fillets will help distribute it more evenly rather than just sprinkling it on.
  • If using an outdoor grill, oil the grates with a high-heat oil such as canola or corn. You can also use a cooking spray meant for grills. (Don’t use cooking spray on nonstick surfaces like a grill pan.)
One piece of Grilled Tilapia with Tomato - Avocado Salsa.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is tilapia as healthy as salmon?

While tilapia may not have the same level of heart-healthy omega fatty acids as salmon, it has more than chicken, turkey, beef, or pork in terms of quantity per serving. With 23 grams of lean protein and 111 calories in a 3.5-ounce portion, tilapia is a nutritious choice.

What fish can I use in place of tilapia in this grilled tilapia recipe?

Any fish, such as cod, turbot, sole, halibut, sea bass or mahi-mahi, will go well with this tomato and avocado salsa, including salmon. The salsa would even be delicious over seared sea scallops.

How do you know when grilled tilapia is cooked?

An average tilapia fillet will take 6 to 8 minutes to cook or 3 to 4 minutes per side. The fish is fully cooked when it easily flakes apart with a fork. An alternate method is to use a meat thermometer. Tilapia is fully cooked when an instant-read thermometer registers 145 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the fish.

Grilled Tilapia with Tomato - Avocado Salsa on round metal plate with fork having cut some off ready to eat.

Storage:

  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator and use them within 1 to 2 days. Reheated fish is not ideal and tends to be dry, but the salsa helps compensate. Reheat covered in a 325-degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until heated through.

Serve with:

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Grilled Tilapia with Tomato - Avocado Salsa with lime wedges on sheet pan.

Grilled Tilapia Recipe with Tomato – Avocado Salsa

5 from 4 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
This easy grilled tilapia recipe is the perfect summer dinner! Quick-cooking, budget-friendly tilapia is paired with a vibrant Tomato and Avocado Salsa that rocks with flavor.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Fish and Seafood
Cuisine Southwestern / Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 175 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 medium plum tomatoes - seeded and diced
  • 1 medium avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper - or serrano pepper, seeded if desired, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion - diced (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro - chopped (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil - divided
  • 2 medium limes - divided (see note below)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 4 (4 to 6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Instructions
 

  • Combine tomatoes, avocado, jalapeno or serrano, red onion, garlic, cilantro, 2 teaspoons olive oil, the juice of 1 lime and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • Cut the other lime in half and squeeze the juice from one half over both sides of the tilapia fillets. Cut the remaining half of the second lime into quarters to serve with the fish.
  • Drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the tilapia fillets.
  • Season the tilapia fillets with salt and black pepper. Rub both sides of the fillets with the chili powder.
  • Place the tilapia fillets on the hot grill or grill pan and grill 3-4 minutes per side (depending upon thickness).
  • Plate the fish, top with salsa and serve with lime quarters.

Notes

The limes are used in three ways:  One whole lime is juiced for the salsa.  The other lime is halved with the juice of one half drizzled over the uncooked tilapia and the other half is then quartered to serve with the fish.
If using an outdoor grill, oil the grates with a high-heat oil such as canola or corn. You can also use a cooking spray meant for grills. (Don’t use cooking spray on nonstick surfaces like a grill pan.)

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 483mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 928IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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