Easy Fish Tacos with Slaw

These easy fish tacos with slaw take tender chunks of cod tossed in Cajun seasoning, and lay them on a bed of cabbage mixed with homemade fish taco sauce. They are light, fresh, and provide long lasting energy with very little work.

Easy Fish Tacos with Cod chunks and purple and green slaw

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What are fish tacos?

At their simplest, fish tacos are any type of seafood served in a tortilla. But what really makes fish tacos so special are the additional ingredients that pair so well with that seafood. Think a tangy cabbage slaw, a creamy spicy sauce, fresh avocado, and squirts of lemon or lime juice.

Are fish tacos Mexican?

When my mom hears the words fish tacos, she gets grossed out. But that’s because she imagines fish as the replacement for beef in American style tacos. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Fish tacos belong in their own category, and are definitely Mexican.

A little food history

Fish tacos originated in Baja California. This is not a city in California of the United States. Baja California is a Mexican state that actually borders the US state of California.

There is some debate as to whether they were first made popular in the city of Ensenada or San Felipe. But there’s no question as to the start of their popularity in the US, thanks to Ralph Rubio, the Fish Taco King.

While the typical Baja fish tacos have battered and fried fish in them, I went for a quick and easy version that has healthier broiled cod.

Fish tacos on a plate with red and green slaw and lemon wedge

Are fish tacos healthy for you?

While the term “healthy” is relative, fish tacos can definitely be a part of a healthy diet. By using seasoned and broiled cod instead of a battered and fried fish, you get all the health benefits of seafood without the added carbs and fat.

These are also a great way to get a serving of vegetables thanks to the fish taco slaw.

What’s healthier, soft or hard taco?

If you’re concerned about healthy eating you may be wondering, what’s healthier, soft or hard taco shells?

A soft corn tortilla is the healthiest option for fish tacos. Flour tortillas tend to have a lot more calories, carbs, and sodium than corn tortillas.

Hard taco shells have more calories and fat than soft corn OR flour tortillas thanks to the frying method used to crisp them up.

If you really want a hard taco shell, try spraying soft corn tortillas with a bit of cooking oil, and hanging them over the oven racks to crisp up in the oven. This will get you that crunch with a lot less oil.

Can you lose weight eating tacos?

Back when I taught cooking classes regularly, I had someone tell me she couldn’t lose weight because she loves tacos too much. So she was absolutely delighted when I told her that you CAN lose weight eating tacos.

This recipe is a great option because the tacos are high in protein but not too high in carbs. You can cut the carbs even more by using just one corn tortilla instead of two.

As with everything, moderation is key. You may want to use a little less mayonnaise in your dressing, or skip it all together to toss the cabbage in a spicy vinaigrette instead of the creamy fish taco sauce.

Overhead photo of 2 fish tacos on a plate with avocado, lemons, and cilantro on the table

How to make easy fish tacos

The first key to making easy fish tacos is gathering your ingredients. You will need:

  • 8-16 soft corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 pounds fish
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 1 sliced avocado
  • 8 lemon wedges
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Ingredient options

Cajun seasoning: I really like using Tony’s Original Creole seasoning. I’ve been cooking fish in this spicy mix for 20 years and absolutely love it. But you can use your favorite cajun mix, or your own seasoning.

Mayonnaise: Make sure you use a good mayonnaise. I have tried swapping with a low fat mayonnaise before, or even a 0 fat Greek yogurt, but it just doesn’t taste right. The fish taco sauce is an important part of the meal and it’s better to use less of a good mayonnaise than ruin it with a fake one.

Adobo sauce: I like to get a jar of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. That way I can keep the jar in the fridge and just use it as I need it. If you can’t find it in a jar, the can is fine. Just transfer what you don’t use to a jar or airtight container and keep in the fridge.

Cilantro: If you’re a cilantro hater, you can totally skip it. Try using chopped Italian parsley instead!

What kind of fish is best for fish tacos?

There isn’t necessarily a best fish for making fish tacos. I usually use cod because it is nice and firm. This makes it easy to cut into chunks and cook in a variety of ways.

Feel free to swap the cod for halibut, mah mahi, or flounder. You can even use salmon or shrimp if you don’t want a white fish.

How to make fish tacos in the oven

My favorite way to cook these easy fish tacos with slaw is in the oven, using the broiler. This is a fast way to cook them and gives a really nice texture.

  1. Just chop your fish into one inch chunks and then toss in a bowl with the Cajun seasoning.
  2. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking oil and lay the fish chunks on it in a single layer.
  3. Place on the top rack, 3-5 inches from the broiler, and broil for 3-5 minutes, until opaque and firm.

How to grill fish tacos

If you want to grill the fish, I suggest cooking it whole, or threading the chunks onto a skewer.

  1. Coat the fish with Cajun seasoning.
  2. Oil the grates of your grill.
  3. Place fish on the grill and cook about 3 minutes on each side, until fish is lightly browned and flakes easily.

How to make fish tacos on the stove

If you want to make your fish tacos on the stove, use a cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Don’t go with nonstick because you want to use really high heat to get a nice sear on your fish.

  1. Chop your fish into one inch chunks and toss in a bowl with Cajun seasoning.
  2. Heat a cast iron or stainless skillet on high heat.
  3. Add a tablespoon of avocado oil and heat until almost smoking.
  4. Add the fish to the oil and let sit and cook until the bottom begins to caramelize (3-5 minutes).
  5. Use a thin metal spatula to try and remove the pieces of fish. If they stick they’re not quite ready.
Plate of fish tacos with slaw and avocado

How to make fish taco sauce

Instead of drizzling fish taco sauce onto the tacos, I like to toss it with cabbage and green onions for an easy fish taco slaw.

  1. In a small bowl mix mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, adobo sauce, and salt.
  2. Put shredded cabbages and green onions in a large bowl. Pour the fish taco sauce on and toss to coat.

What to put on fish tacos?

In addition to the slaw, I like to add sliced avocado, a squeeze of lemon, and chopped cilantro. Here are some other options that are great fish taco toppings too:

What to serve with fish tacos

If you need some serving ideas, I love serving the tacos with one of these side dishes, and the BEST mango margarita!

More taco recipes

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Close up photo of fish tacos with text saying Easy Fish Tacos
Yield: 8 tacos

Easy Fish Tacos with Slaw

Plate of fish tacos with slaw and avocado

These easy fish tacos with slaw tender take chunks of cod tossed in Cajun seasoning, and lay them on a bed of cabbage mixed with homemade fish taco sauce. Feel free to swap the cod for halibut, mah mahi, or flounder. You can even use salmon if you don't want a white fish.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 pounds cod fillets
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning

Fish Taco Sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Fish Taco Slaw

  • 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
  • 8 green onions, chopped

Fish Taco Toppings

  • 1 sliced avocado
  • 8 lemon wedges
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat broiler and warm the stack of tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds. I like to place them on a plate and cover with a bowl to help them steam a bit.
  2. Cut cod into one inch chunks and toss with Cajun seasoning in a bowl.
  3. Spray a rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray and spread seasoned cod pieces in a single layer.
  4. Broil in the top rack position (3-4 inches from the broiler) for 3-5 minutes until fish is opaque and firm.
  5. In a small bowl mix mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, adobo sauce, and salt.
  6. Put shredded cabbages and green onions in a large bowl. Pour the fish taco sauce on and toss to coat.
  7. Top your tortilla with the fish taco sauce slaw, avocado slices, and broiled cod.
  8. Squeeze the lemon wedge over everything and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Notes

    You can use 1 or 2 tortillas per taco depending on how well you think they'll hold up. I like to go with two in case one rips, The nutrition estimates are using two tortillas per taco.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 330Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 1097mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 9gSugar: 5gProtein: 25g

Nutrition information is an estimate only.


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