Saturday , 20 January 2018

Spinach Stuffed Parmesan Tilapia


Blah!  It’s such a gray day up in Cincinnati.  There’s been at least a light drizzle all day (not a good proper thunderstorm) and it’s dragging me down.

But at least the blog is lifting my spirits as I sit here and think of people (hopefully) reading this.

So let’s talk food.  I feel like my fish meal creativity is seriously lacking.  I need inspiration darnit!  Last week when I was trying to decide on a fish meal I literally racked my brain for an hour just trying to think up something that wasn’t a simple spice rub or marinade.  I wanted to get at least a little bit “fancy” since I was off and had the time.

I used to work at a BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse (to those readers that know what that place is – they’re all over the country) and one of the highest selling items, at least at the one I worked at, was the Parmesan Chicken.

Aha!  I figured I could definitely do something along those lines that didn’t end up being a bajillion calories (seriously that thing has over 50 grams of fat!) plus I wanted to adapt it to use fish.

And can I just say – it turned out pretty darn tasty!  I was definitely patting myself on the back after taking my first bite.  

Spinach Stuffed Parmesan Tilapia

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 2

Spinach Stuffed Parmesan Tilapia


    For the Fish
  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat panko
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • For the Spinach Stuffing
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, small diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • ½ Tbsp fat free cream cheese
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (could use more if you wanted)
  • 1 tsp basil (or italian seasoning)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • For the Lemon Butter Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp white wine (I like to use Sauvignon Blanc for cooking)
  • ½ - 1 Tbsp lemon juice (depending on how much of a lemon taste you want)
  • 2 Tbsp fat free half and half or heavy cream substitute (I used the heavy cream substitute)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet or pan with parchment paper.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Saute onion for 3 – 4 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant. Add spinach (you may have to do two batches) and completely wilt down. You want most of the liquid released from the spinach to evaporate off. Season with crushed red pepper, basil, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese until it’s coated all of the filling.
  3. In one shallow pan place beaten egg. In another shallow pan combine grated parmesan and panko, shaking to combine.
  4. Season both sides of fish with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Place filling on fillet and fold fillet over, securing with a few toothpicks. Dip in beaten egg, feeling free to use your hands to rub down the top and sides of fish with the egg mix. Move to breading mixture. Shake pan back and forth in order to ensure the bottom is nicely crusted, then use your fingers to press the breading mix to the top and sides of the fish.
  5. Place in baking sheet, spray the top with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes, until fish is flaky and cooked through.
  6. While fish is baking, combine cornstarch, chicken stock, white wine and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisking to get out any lumps. Add in butter and cook until sauce has thickened and combined. Whisk in heavy cream substitute and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Remove fish from oven and cut in half to make 2 portions. Drizzle sauce over fish.

And it’s so good!  I figured that since the vegetable was covered in the stuffing, I would keep it simple and only serve it with a small side of mashed potatoes (which were also super tasty with the lemon butter sauce on them).

When my husband originally tasted the sauce he thought it was a bit too “lemony” but once you put it on the fish and potatoes and mixed it all together it wasn’t too much lemon at all.  In fact, the sauce is what tied the whole dish together.

We both ended up devouring this and considering we’re not the biggest fish fans, it was a pleasant surprise.  Plus it’s a great feeling to know that we’re eating something that’s both healthy and delicious.

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One comment

  1. Sounds like your inspiration turned out great! Looking forward to trying it on the next catch (courtesy of my hubby) — lemon and parmesan and spinach, oh my!

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