If you’re wondering what to serve with your tilapia, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I list 39 of the most popular side dishes for tilapia.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best side dishes to serve with tilapia are cilantro lime slaw, mashed cauliflower, mushroom risotto, baked potato wedges, and pasta puttanesca. You can also serve pineapple avocado salsa, corn maque choux, sauteed spinach, jalapeno cheddar hush puppies, tabbouleh, and Chinese-style green beans.
Ready? Let’s jump right.
Spicy cilantro lime slaw
Ditch your usual coleslaw recipe and give this Tex-Mex version a try.
Instead of the typical sweet and tangy dressing, this version has a fiery, tart kick – an excellent flavor combo to liven up your bland tilapia.
The recipe calls for one chili pepper, but if you want to up the spice level, you can add more or choose a hotter pepper (habanero’s my favorite)!
Why we love this recipe: it’s lighter and healthier than your usual slaw.
Since tilapia is a mildly-flavored fish, a punchy and boldly-flavored pasta puttanesca is an excellent accompaniment.
It’s a vibrant tomato-based pasta dish brimming with briny, umami flavors and a hint of heat, thanks to the olives, capers, anchovies, and red pepper flakes.
Psst… you can also use anchovy paste instead of filets.
Why we love this recipe: it still tastes fantastic the next day.
Grilled asparagus and zucchini salad
Planning on grilling your tilapia filets?
Make some space to grill a couple of asparagus spears and zucchini, then whip up this side salad!
The veggies get infused with a delicious smoky flavor and are then dressed with a bright and citrusy lemon and basil vinaigrette – sounds divine, right?
No fresh basil? Swap it for whatever herbs you have on hand, as long as it’s fresh.
Why we love this recipe: it’s ideal for summer cookouts.
Spicy pineapple avocado salsa
Add some tropical flair to your tilapia with this pineapple avocado salsa.
It adds a fruity bite to your fish, which helps bring out the natural sweetness of the tilapia.
The recipe recommends fresh pineapple, but drained canned pineapple works, too. Or you can go for mango if you’re not a pineapple fan.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a quick and easy way to jazz up any grilled or fried protein.
Creamy mashed cauliflower
Love mashed potatoes but trying to cut back on carbs?
Whip up a batch of mashed cauliflower instead.
You’ll get the same fluffy texture, but it’s lighter and more nutritious.
Worried about watery mash? Fear not – this recipe roasts the florets instead of steaming or boiling them to avoid this.
Prop your tilapia on a bed of this mash for the ultimate keto-friendly meal.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a low-effort healthy side dish.
Cajun oven-baked potato wedges
Go full English and serve your fried tilapia with a side of these baked potato wedges.
They’re golden and lightly crisp on the outside, with soft, fluffy interiors.
These treats are superb even with just a dash of salt, but a sprinkling of Cajun seasoning gives them a spicy bite that’s perfect with your mild tilapia.
Why we love this recipe: the oven does most of the work.
This classic Italian risotto is my go-to starchy dish for an elegant and satisfying meal.
It’s super rich and creamy, with tons of earthy flavors, thanks to the sauteed mushrooms and parmesan cheese.
Pro-tip: don’t rinse your rice – the starch is key to achieving the signature luscious consistency.
Why we love this recipe: it’s restaurant-quality.
Sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and caramelized onions
Think spinach is boring? You won’t once you try this recipe.
The caramelized onions add a delicious sweetness to offset the spinach’s bitterness.
The caramelizing part of the recipe takes a bit of time – so you can skip it if and just sautee them if you need.
And the creamy parmesan sauce is optional but adds a bit of decadence to this healthy side.
Why we love this recipe: you can pretty much add in any vegetables you want.
Sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and caramelized onions
Make it quick
Lemony sauteed spinach
Make it decadent
Jalapeno cheddar hush puppies
Hush puppies are a traditional Southern side for fried fish.
And I especially like this jalapeno cheddar version – the peppers and cheese make sure every bit is interesting.
Plus, the buttermilk and cream cheese make sure these treats have super soft and creamy insides.
Why we love this recipe: they’re way better than what you can buy at the store.
Baked spaghetti squash and cheese
Spaghetti squash is the ultimate pasta alternative (except for maybe zoodles).
It won’t taste exactly like pasta, but it develops an almost al dente texture when roasted and shredded.
And you won’t notice the difference too much once these faux noodles are smothered with a gooey, cheesy sauce – yum!
Why we love this recipe: it’s low-carb comfort food.
If you want to keep your tilapia meal light but hearty, this tabbouleh salad is the way to go.
The combination of fresh parsley, tomatoes, and onions with olive oil and lemon juice gives a refreshing flavor that’s great for summer.
The bright green color of the herbs will look amazing on the plate too.
Why we love this recipe: it involves zero cooking – just tons of chopping.
Corn maque choux
Maque choux is a classic Cajun dish that looks unassuming but packs a flavorful punch.
It involves corn kernels, chopped bell peppers, and jalapenos sauteed in bacon grease (yes bacon grease) and seasoned with a Cajun spice blend.
A splash of heavy cream is added at the end to round out the whole dish.
Pro-tip: for a lighter version, use chicken broth instead.
Why we love this recipe: everything tastes better with bacon.
Chinese-style green beans
Complete your healthy tilapia meal with a side of these Chinese-style green beans.
The green beans are air fried in this recipe, so you don’t need a ton of oil to crisp them up.
But what makes these green beans stand out is its simple soy garlic sauce – it really elevates your dish.
Why we love this recipe: each serving only has 92 calories.
What seasoning goes with tilapia?
Tilapia has a mild flavor, making it highly versatile. It can handle bold, fiery flavors from seasonings like Creole, lemon pepper, gochujang, and Montreal steak seasoning. It also pairs nicely with herby flavors like Italian seasoning and garlic parmesan.
What To Serve With Tilapia
- 1 portion tilapia
- Prepare your tilapia according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: spicy cilantro lime slaw, pasta puttanesca, grilled asparagus and zucchini salad, spicy pineapple avocado salsa, creamy mashed cauliflower, cajun oven-baked potato wedges, mushroom risotto, sauteed spinach with onions, jalapeno cheddar hush puppies, baked spaghetti squash and cheese, tabbouleh, corn maque choux, and chinese-style green beans.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!