Fish taco bowls with cilantro-lime rice, quick-pickled cabbage, zesty black beans, and queso fresco. A weeknight-friendly meal that is infinitely riffable and sure to become a family favorite. This is a Baja riff on the Korean rice dish bibimbap, in which an assortment of toppings shine over a bed of rice. In this case, cilantro-lime rice lies the foundation for a colorful, zesty mix of veggies, beans, and spiced fish.
I went with grouper for this recipe, but any white flaky fish will do (think snapper, sea bass, mahi-mahi, cod). Grouper works great in fish taco situations because the meaty fillets can stand up to high heat cooking, and the mild flavor takes to bold marinades well.
You can either sear the fillets in a piping hot cast iron skillet, or take it out to the grill and let open fire work its smoky magic.
The pickled cabbage is a zingy, crunchy contrast to the other bowl fixings, and the beautiful magenta hue creates a crown jewel effect on the bowl. Feel free to toss in any extra vegetables you have laying around to the quick pickle—radishes, sliced carrots, chiles, or peppers all work great.
Beyond the total fiesta of textures and flavors this bowl offers, it’s brimming with quality protein, fiber, and antioxidants, including vitamin C and a slew of phytonutrients. To bump up the fiber and nutrients even more, swap the white basmati rice for brown rice or any other whole grain.Think of this bowl as the desk lunch that begins as dinner. Or the Monday night marvel that begins as quick Sunday meal prep. Point being, it holds up well when made a day or two ahead and can make weekday meals feel a lot more exciting.
I think we should just start petitioning to have some form of a taco every day. Research shows it’s linked to increased levels of serotonin and dopamine levels, plus enhanced productivity and mental clarity. Just don’t quote me on that.A jumble of textures and flavors, this bowl delivers all fronts. Now let’s add a fresh spin to taco night!
- ⅔ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 lb. grouper, cut into 3-4 fillets (sub with halibut, cod, mahi-mahi, or snapper)
- 1 cup dry basmati rice, rinsed
- 3 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 1 tsp. lime zest, plus 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 (15-ounce) can lower-sodium black beans
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 4 Tbsp. queso fresco (optional)
- Combine vinegar, ½ cup water, sugar, and ¾ tsp. of the salt in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer. Pour vinegar mixture over cabbage in a heatproof bowl or jar. Let cool at room temperature 30 minutes.
- Place 1 Tbsp. of the oil, paprika, cayenne, and ½ tsp. of the salt in a shallow bowl or plate; stir well. Add grouper fillets; toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Combine rice, 2 cups water, and ½ tsp. of the salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro, lime zest, and 1 Tbsp. of the lime juice.
- Partially drain black beans. Place in a cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in cumin and remaining 1 Tbsp. lime juice; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until heated through. Set aside and wipe pan clean.
- Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Add grouper; cook 3 to 4 minutes, flip, and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until cooked through. Flake into large pieces.
- To assemble bowls, divide rice and beans evenly into each of 4 bowls. Top with grouper pieces. Drain cabbage and top each bowl evenly with pickled cabbage. Sprinkle queso fresco evenly overtop; garnish with extra cilantro and lime wedges, if desired.