Spicy Fish Taco Bowls with Cilantro Lime Slaw Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Spicy Fish Taco Bowls with Cilantro Lime Slaw

35 reviews / 4.9 average

Holy delicious!

These Spicy Fish Taco Bowls with Cilantro Lime Slaw started out as a new, updated take on these wayyyy old Fish Taco Bowls (plus a little bit of inspiration from these Shrimp Tacos and their delicious slaw) but they ended up as so much more.

Like, new favorite meal. Dinner every night. February 2016 food obsession.

You know those times when cooking is just HARD? Lately – like, since two seconds ago when I returned from an epic girls’ weekend trip – cooking has been hard. Not hard like it’s difficult – more hard like I’d rather eat a bowl of Fruity Cheerios with Almond Breeze coconut almond milk (I know, I’m a child, but the combination is srsly mind blowing) or order sushi or just generally be a couch-and-Netflix bum than go through the work of planning recipes, grocery shopping and cooking the food.

I mean, what it really comes down to is the eating. I just want to do the eating part. You know, the part where I load my plate up with light and crispy fish, quinoa, cilantro lime slaw, and avocados and just GO. WILD.

fish taco bowls with cilantro lime slaw on a plate with a fork
quinoa for fish taco bowls
slaw for fish taco bowls and a fork

This recipe is just a simple, updated, re-fresh-ed take on these old Spicy Fish Taco Bowls that I posted 800 years ago. It’s the first dish I made after I got home for our trip, and now I have a new problem: can’t stop won’t stop. This is a “bowl” aka plate aka combination platter that is full of nutrition, color, and flavor. Because we don’t take anything less, right, team? POWER to the BOWL.

We have many good ol’ friends in the lineup:

  • quinoa
  • cilantro lime slaw
  • cod or other white fish, dredged in a spicy flour mixture and pan-fried to light, crispy, flaky goodness
  • pepitas
  • avocado slices
  • lime wedges


First: I like to use cod for fish tacos because it’s a white fish that’s a little firmer and won’t completely fall apart on you, and also because it seems to be easier to find cod that is either wild caught or sustainably raised. I found some frozen cod at our local mainstream grocery store that was wild caught in Iceland. Seems legit, right? Icelandic cod. It’s just too picture perfect.

Secondly: If you are comfortable frying things, you should make these Crispy Fish Tacos with Jalapeño Sauce (which are actually TACO tacos and they are DELICIOUS but could also be converted into bowl form if that’s more your style).

fish taco bowl on a plate with a fork

Thirdly: I am happy for you that you’re going to eat this soon. 🎉 That is all.

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Fish taco bowls with slaw.

Spicy Fish Taco Bowls with Cilantro Lime Slaw


Spicy Fish Taco Bowls with cilantro lime slaw – crispy, fresh, and SO yummy! quinoa, slaw, avocado, and crispy fish!



For the Slaw:

  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • juice of 2 limes
  • ½ cup sour cream, Greek yogurt, or mayo
  • 34 cups shredded purple and green cabbage

For the Fish Taco Bowls:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 lb. cod or other white fish
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons EACH cumin and chili powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (this is what makes it spicy so adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon EACH butter and olive oil
  • avocado, pepitas, cotija cheese, lime wedges, or other extras for serving


  1. SLAW: Pulse the slaw ingredients (in order, starting with oil and ending with lime juice) until chopped/chunky. Add the sour cream and pulse again until just combined (you don’t want it totally smooth green – just like an herb-loaded creamy sauce). Toss the sauce with the cabbage. Let it sit in the fridge while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. QUINOA: Prepare the quinoa according to package directions.
  3. FISH: Pat the cod dry with paper towels and cut into bite-sized pieces. Combine the flour, spices, and salt in a shallow dish. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Dredge each piece of fish in the flour and add to the hot pan, frying for a few minutes on each side. When the fish is golden brown, remove from pan and sprinkle with the salt.
  4. SERVING: Plate each dish with a scoop of quinoa, a few pieces of fish, a scoop of cilantro lime slaw, and avocado or any other extra toppings you like. Serve with lime wedges and additional salt as needed.


You will probably have extra sauce – I just saved that for future slaw and/or to drizzle of the bowls. Nutrition is based off 4 servings using half the sauce amount and half the flour mixture for the fish, since you will still have some left in the bowl when you’re done.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired

Keywords: fish taco bowls, fried fish, fish tacos, fish taco slaw, bowl recipe

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    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Omg!! This recipe is amazing. Made them using shrimp and it was easy to make and had so much flavor. My partner and I topped the tacos with the coleslaw, quinoa, avocado, cheese, and takis. Sooo good! Saved this recipe to have for life. No substitikns were needed, only on the change of protein.

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    YAAAAASSSSSS Lindsay! These look incredible. I could eat fish everyday. Fish + cilantro + cumin (my fave!) + avocado (obviously) = dinner heaven. I might add one some black beans for good measure 🙂 Thanks!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    ohhhmyyygoodnesss fish tacos are my weakness so I’m already obsessing over these bowls! Totally making them this weekend!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yummy! I’ve never had fish tacos before, and don’t eat much fish, but all these flavors!! When I picture the taste in my mind, it’s amazingness! Question: that quinoa pic looks phenomenal! All your photography is stunning, but that picture in particular blew me away. Are you using a new lens? Beautiful no matter what…

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo


    Can I use a blender for the slaw sauce or does it have to be a food processor? Thank you =)

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Love the idea of these fish taco bowls, but today I’m here for something else. Two things actually. First: I’ve stopped getting your emails as soon as you publish. They now come to me almost half a day late. Why? Second: Have you stopped posting your nutrition labels? Didn’t see one for this recipe 🙁

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hey Richa! Not sure what the change is all about with email other than that I’ve been posting a little later (more like 10am) so it’s possible that they’re not published in time to have them send in the morning. Do you want to send Jenna an email about that and she can look at it? [email protected] — and as for the nutrition labels, I didn’t stop! I just was rushing around the morning I published this one and didn’t get a label done. I’ll add one now! 🙂

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am a vegetarian, so I will not be able to enjoy the tastes of this recipe but I liked the photography and the presentation of your recipe very much!!!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Can I just say, I’m so in LOVE with your blog! This recipe looks incredible. I’m sitting here, drooling over these fish taco bowls instead of cleaning. I find myself coming to your blog often for inspiration and improving pictures on my own blog. Thank you!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Like Hannah said above, that photo of the quinoa is incredible! So striking and dramatic. Another drool worthy recipe with equally amazing photos 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I had to scroll up to see that quinoa pic. First time around I didn’t quite process what it was, but knowing it’s quinoa…it’s such a cool pic!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    My hubs is allergic to fish and seafood of any kind.. BUMMER. Espesh because we live in Florida! Do you have a meat swap suggestion? I’m thinking maybe pork chops (cut into bite size pieces) instead of plain ole’ chicken..?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hm, yeah, I think that could work! I might even go meatless – is that something you’re open to? Maybe some spicy roasted cauliflower florets or a big scoop of chipotle black beans in place of the fish or something?

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Lindsay, I TOTALLY know what you mean when you said that sometimes cooking is hard. My goodness, I have those days… Or months, let’s be honest. It gets tough, guuuuurl. Don’t even get me started!
    P.S. I love that you updated this recipe from “800 years ago.” LOLOL. Taco bowls + cilantro lime slaw = heaven. YUM. I mean, pinch of yum. 😉