Pan-Seared Tilapia with Grapefruit-Avocado Salsa

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Light, fresh and packed with flavor, Pan-Seared Tilapia with Grapefruit-Avocado Salsa makes a delicious, healthy weeknight meal that the whole family will love.

Light, fresh and packed with flavor, Pan-Seared Tilapia with Grapefruit-Avocado Salsa makes a delicious, healthy weeknight meal that the whole family will love.

I know. I know. Seeing a fish recipe here is a bit surprising, isn’t it.  It’s not something that happens all that often. Well, almost never, actually, but who’s keeping track.

There’s a seafood issue at our house. Sophie, our beloved 10 year-old, has a sweeping dislike of all of it … except shrimp and calamari. Doug, who also likes shrimp, can take or leave calamari and doesn’t care for scallops at all. He enjoys some fish, the kind that can be cut into steaks like swordfish, salmon and tuna. He can take or leave the milder white fish fillets, mostly preferring to leave them.

For me, shrimp, calamari and scallops are heavenly. I’ll devour all three. On the other hand, while I really enjoy tilapia, cod, haddock (I love haddock) and the like, I don’t care for those that Doug favors at all.

See the problem?

The first three are too expensive to eat on a regular basis (and not all that good for you), and when standing at the fish case, we each gravitates to a different kind of fillet while Sophie avoids them altogether.

It’s a quandary.

The Process

Pan-seared tilapia is simple enough. Heat oil in a pan, season the fish, sear the fish in the pan. The biggest thing to remember is to leave the fish alone until the side is cooked and ready to flip. That keeps any sticking to a minimum.

Other than the fact that I hate peeling and segmenting any citrus fruit, the salsa’s just as easy to make. Honestly, if I made this again, I’d be tempted to just buy a jar.  But, since I didn’t do that, peel the grapefruit like an apple, making sure to cut away all the bitter pith, then run the knife along the membranes, separating each segment. When done with one fruit, squeeze any juice into the bowl.

Add the diced avocado, sliced shallot, roasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro and seasoning to the bowl and gently fold everything together.

Fish goes on the plate, salsa goes on the fish and dinner’s served.

The Verdict

How to solve the fish quandary? Cover up the flavors that someone might not enjoy so much with an awesome salsa. Doug loved it and even ate the avocado (he’s not usually a fan). I devoured mine too. It’s light, fresh, packed with tons of flavor and absolutely delicious. The creamy avocado, crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart grapefruit go perfectly with the mild tilapia. It was fantastic.

Here’s the kicker. Sophie, who always has to try a bite of what I make, liked the fish too. She didn’t ask for a whole piece, and her acknowledgement to enjoying it was grudgingly given, but it was there and I’ll take it.

What I’d Do Different Next Time


The Cost

Grapefruit: $1.98
Avocados: $5.00
Shallot: $.87
Pepitas: $2.99
Cilantro: $.89
Tilapia fillets: $11.99

Total: $23.72

Pan-Seared Tilapia with Grapefruit-Avocado Salsa Recipe

Pan-Seared Tilapia with Grapefruit-Avocado Salsa
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Reviewed by:
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • 2 medium red grapefruits
  • 2 medium ripe avocados, diced
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup roasted, salted pepitas
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 4 6-oz. boneless, skinless tilapia fillets
  1. Peel and segment grapefruit over a bowl, reserving juice. Gently combine grapefruit segments, avocados, shallot, pepitas, cilantro, 2 tablespoons reserved grapefruit juice, 2 tablespoons oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Season tilapia with remaining ½ teaspoon pepper and ¾ teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook 2 fillets until golden and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 2 fillets. Serve tilapia with grapefruit salsa.


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