This healthy, delicious meal features coriander-crusted tilapia paired with brown rice that’s infused with vegetables like leeks, carrots and spinach.
Ah, the tweens. That period of time where life is still so … free … yet the young people feel as though the burdens of the world sit upon their shoulders.
Take, for instance, the dinner table. Do these young people have to sit and pore over recipes and shopping lists, keeping the costs of buying food down to stick within a budget? Do they regularly handle razor sharp knives, whisks, peelers and other instruments in order to transform purchases into ingredients? Do they have to then slave over a hot stove or peer into a searing oven in order to turn the vegetables, meats and starches into dinners for the family night after night?
No. They. Don’t.
And yet, when a healthy, gorgeous, delicious plate of tilapia, rice and vegetables is set before the tween that lives in my house, one would think that she’s being forced to undergo a form of torture that is listed as one of those banned by the Geneva Convention. Such is life in my home these days.
There are a few points that make this dish pretty ideal for a weeknight. First, it’s fast; 20 minutes from start to finish if one can cut up carrots and leeks pretty quickly. Second, it uses one pot. For me, easy clean-up is as important as quick prep when considering a meal ‘fast.’ Third, it’s healthy. We don’t always eat as well as we should, but we’re really trying and this is the kind of dish that helps us do that. Finally, it’s the whole meal; protein, grains and vegetables.
Pulling this ideal dish together is simple enough. The blurb along with the recipes explains that patting the tilapia fillets dry before covering with the coriander rub will help to keep it from sticking. I dried my fish, it didn’t stick, so I’d have to say pat away. Also, be liberal with the coriander coating. It has a very light, subtle flavor and will not overwhelm the fillet, I promise.
Fish goes in the hot pan, cooks, flips, cooks a bit more, and is then removed to a plate.
More oil is added to the skillet, then the carrots join it and are sautéed until they hit that just tender stage. Leeks go in as well and three minutes later the vegetables are tender. Add wine and lemon juice, bring to a boil. My liquid was reduced to half almost immediately so I didn’t bother waiting a minute but added the rice, broth and salt right away.
Once the rice was cooked through and the liquid was just about absorbed, I added the spinach, stirred it until it was wilted and served up the food to my husband and unhappy, tortured daughter.
Along with the three points of prep that make this dish so ideal, we can add a fourth; that it’s delicious. Doug and I really enjoyed the meal. The tilapia was perfectly cooked; crisp on the outside while flaky and tender inside. The rice and vegetable mixture is pretty freakin’ awesome as well. I loved it and Doug, who’s not a big spinach fan, thought it was tasty too. He especially liked the bit of bite that the lemon juice and wine gave the rice.
Sophie? Sad to say, she didn’t take a bite, have the heavens open up, hear angels sing and discover the joys of fish and spinach. She pouted, complained and whined about every bite, and let us know in no uncertain terms that didn’t like the meal. But she did eat it. Poor thing.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
Not a thing.
Tilapia fillets: $5.99
Ground coriander: $3.99
Brown rice: $2.00
Vegetable broth: $1.50
Coriander-Crusted Tilapia with Brown Rice and Vegetables Recipe
- 4 6-oz. tilapia fillets
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 6 small carrots, chopped
- 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup instant brown rice
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 3 cups loosely packed baby spinach
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Pat tilapia dry with paper towels. Combine coriander, pepper, and ¾ teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl. Season tilapia all over with the mixture.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add tilapia and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook until just opaque, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add carrots and cook, stirring often, until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add wine and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add rice, broth, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 1 minute.
- Serve tilapia with brown rice, vegetables, and lemon wedges.