8 Easy, Healthy Seafood Dinners That Take 25 Minutes or Less from Start to Finish
80-90% of Americans aren’t eating enough seafood, according to a recent study led by Agricultural Research Service nutritionist Lisa Jahns. A staple of the Mediterranean diet, seafood is an excellent protein source that’s also filled with omega-3 fatty acids, as well as essential vitamins and minerals that can be hard to get elsewhere, including B12, selenium, and zinc.
Read next: 12 Delicious Ways to Turn Frozen Shrimp Into Dinner
But although it’s seriously good for you, seafood can also feel pretty intimidating to cook. That’s why we love each and every one of these recipes, which are unbelievably easy, healthy, and quick, making them great starting points for anyone new to the territory. They’re also flavorful, fast dinner options for seasoned seafood home cooks who are looking to find healthful ways to get more fish and shellfish into their diet during the workweek.
1. Spicy Fish Taco Bowls
This spicy fish taco bowl recipe is a great entry-level seafood recipe for anyone who’s a little intimidated by this category of cooking. It’s a simple preparation and because you gently shred the fish before you plate it over the other ingredients, so it seriously does not matter if the filets break apart in the pan, which really takes the pressure off. This recipe is also super easy to shop for since it can be made with any white fish you can find in the store, including cod, halibut, and pollock. These are very mildly flavored and their meat soaks up spices really well, so this recipe is also a great way to win over anyone who’s not into super fishy flavors and thinks they maybe don’t care for seafood at all.
2. Keto Zoodles with White Clam Sauce
We love a traditional linguine with clam sauce, but it’s a dish that’s heavy in refined carbs, so it’s not a great fit for anyone on a keto diet (or anyone who’s just trying to limit their refined carb intake). But in the summertime when zucchini are plentiful, we love making this delicious variation on the theme: keto zoodles with white clam sauce. This recipe is incredibly flavorful, but lighter and more summery than a traditional pasta with clam sauce. This recipe is delicious as-is, but if you wanted to slash the butter content in half, it would honestly taste just as good — there’s a ton of flavor coming from the garlic, white wine, lemon, and the clams themselves, so you really don’t need that much.
We definitely recommend getting fresh clams instead of canned. You only need about ½ pound of clams per person, and you can often get a pound of littlenecks for between $5-7, so this is a really affordable seafood and it’s one of those instances where the fresh version tastes so much better than canned.
3. Easy Air Fryer Tuna Steaks
We love how incredibly fast this air fryer tuna steak recipe is: it takes just about one minute to prep, marinates for 20, and then cooks in five, making it an absolutely ideal weeknight dinner. We love serving this with a side of leftover quinoa or wild rice and a quick sheet pan of roasted asparagus.
4. Blackened Tilapia
We love how simple, flavorful, and fast this blackened tilapia recipe is — the whole thing comes together in just fifteen minutes, and that’s including the optional avocado-tomato topping (which we super recommend — the bright acid of the tomatoes and the cool creaminess of the avocados perfectly balances the smoky, lightly spicy flavor of the tilapia). We’d also recommend serving with fresh corn on the cob, jicama slaw, or kale salad.
5. Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice
Shrimp fried rice is one of our favorite takeout orders, but it’s not exactly the healthiest meal we love. However, this shrimp fried cauliflower rice is a fantastic alternative that absolutely belongs in the heavy meal rotation. By using heart-healthy avocado oil and vitamin K-packed cauliflower in lieu of traditional rice, this version lets us enjoy all the comforting flavors of fried rice on a much more regular basis.
6. Homemade Tuna Poke Bowl
A poke bowl is so great in the summertime: it’s everything we love about sushi combined with the best parts of a summer salad. While the cost of fresh tuna is pretty high, it’s still always going to be cheaper to make your own than buy it at a restaurant, so although this homemade tuna poke bowl doesn’t exactly count as a budget meal, it’s definitely a super healthy option that’s less pricey than it could be.
7. Portuguese Style Sardine Pasta
Portugal is known for its remarkable sardines and world-class canning processes that render this canned fish tastier than you ever knew canned fish could be. We definitely recommend getting your hands on some Portuguese canned sardines for this particular dish. If you’re trying to avoid gluten or just want to avoid refined flour, consider chickpea pasta, which has a delightful texture and is actually much healthier than you might think. This recipe is super quick, tasty, and packed with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
8. Snow Crab Legs with Vinegar Dipping Sauce
Snow crab legs cost about ⅕ as much as king crab legs, and in our opinion, they’re just as delicious and easier to crack. They also make for a really fun, celebratory dinner. This recipe takes a Filipino approach, and as recipe author Vanjo Merano notes, you can absolutely use apple cider vinegar for the dipping sauce, but if you want an authentic Filipino dipping sauce, consider picking up a bottle of Date Puti Cane Vinegar to make a classic vinegar dipping sauce. Alternatively, you can toss in to steam with some baby new potatoes, corn, and sliced red onion with Old Bay for a Maryland-style crab boil.
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