Blackened Tilapia with a Pineapple Salsa

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Pan-seared Blackened Tilapia with delicious and simple pineapple salsa.

This Blackened Tilapia is quick and easy to whip together, packed with good-for-you ingredients and nutrients, and has such a great fresh flavor. 

Overhead image of Blackened Tilapia on a plate with pineapple salsa, rice, and black beans.

Because we can’t get enough of this pineapple chicken, we’re revisiting the components from that meal with Blackened Tilapia. While the salsa is pretty much the same, we’re switching up the base and blackening some fish instead of marinating chicken.

As I’ve been working to reduce food waste as much as possible, we’re adding the “leftover” ingredients from the salsa to the rice base. So we’ll use the red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and lime juice in the rice base AND in the salsa. Score!

Image of the pineapple salsa with cilantro leaves for this Blackened Tilapia recipe.

Overhead image of the black beans, red onions, and rice being mixed together for the base.

Time-saving tips for Blackened Tilapia

When it’s a busy weeknight, I’m all about shortcuts in the kitchen! Beyond the seasoning blend, here are a few other shortcuts for Blackened Tilapia:

  • Pineapple: If your grocery store sells pre-cored pineapple with the skin removed and you’re in a big hurry — grab it! They’re rarely too much more expensive when in season and the pre-cored/skinned pineapples are usually perfectly ripe. (If you’ll be coring it yourself, here’s a great guide to cutting one). Alternatively, a pineapple corer/slicer will also save time and is great to have if you eat a lot of pineapple!
  • Make rice ahead of time: If you want to save time, make a big batch of rice at the beginning of the week and use it in recipes throughout the week. You can also use leftover rice in chicken stir fry, coconut curry chicken, and mango chicken.
  • Juicer: Blackened Tilapia requires quite a bit of fresh lime juice, so invest in a good juicer or citrus reamer. You don’t need anything special or crazy expensive; this one is pretty cheap and a great investment if you juice a lot of citrus. 

Image of Blackened Tilapia, pineapple salsa, and rice base with a bite out of it.

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Blackened Tilapia

5 from 3 votes
Pan seared Blackened Tilapia with delicious and simple pineapple-cilantro salsa.
Print Recipe

Blackened Tilapia

5 from 3 votes
Pan seared Blackened Tilapia with delicious and simple pineapple-cilantro salsa.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword blackened tilapia
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 2 -4 servings
Calories 925kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons finely diced jalapeño pepper separated (~1 large jalapeno)
  • 1 medium red onion, divided dice one half to get 1/2 cup and then thinly slice the other half to get 3/4 cup
  • 1 bunch cilantro separated
  • 3 juicy limes separated
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice + water to cook in
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil separated
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeño pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans drained and rinsed
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 3 cups (~18 ounces) diced pineapple
  • 1 pound (~3 fillets) tilapia
  • Cuban-inspired mojo seasoning (I use Simple Truth Organic)

Instructions

  • PREP: We're going to use a lot of these ingredients for the rice and then again for the salsa! Dice a jalapeño to get 3 tablespoons. Halve a red onion. Cut half of that half into thin strips to get about 3/4 cup. Finely dice the other half to get 1/2 cup. Finely dice cilantro to get 3/4 cup (for salsa; measure 3/4 cup loosely and then finely dice) and 2-3 tablespoons (for rice). Zest and juice limes to get 4 tablespoons juice and 1 teaspoon zest. Cut the remaining lime into wedges to serve alongside plates.
  • BLACK BEAN RICE: In a small pot, cook rice according to package directions. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large nonstick pan (the same one you’ll use for the fish later on), and heat to medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add 1 tablespoon diced jalapeño and the thinly sliced red onion (3/4 cup). Saute, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic and stir for about 30 more seconds. Add in black beans and stir until warmed through,, 2-3 more minutes. Remove from heat and then add black bean mixture to the cooked rice. Add the juice of 1 lime (2 tablespoons lime juice) and 2-3 (or to taste) tablespoons diced cilantro. Season rice mixture to taste with salt and pepper (I use about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Toss and taste for seasoning; adjust according to personal preference. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
  • PINEAPPLE SALSA: (SEE NOTE 1) Zest and juice 1 lime to get 2 tablespoons juice and 1 teaspoon zest (avoid the white pith). Add to a bowl along with the 3/4 cup diced cilantro, remaining 2 tablespoons diced jalapeño, remaining 1/2 cup diced red onion, and diced pineapple. Add salt and pepper to taste (I add about 1/4 teaspoon salt and a generous pinch of pepper). Stir until combined and set aside.
  • TILAPIA: Heat 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in the large NONSTICK pan (the same one used for the beans/jalapeno) over medium-high heat. Pat tilapia dry with a paper towel, season all over with 1-2 teaspoons mojo spice mix (to taste preference, we use about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons), 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired, and then gently rub seasoning on all sides of the fish. When oil is shimmering, add tilapia. Fry (working in batches as needed) until browned on the bottom, 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook until spices are blackened and fish is cooked through (opaque and flakes easily with a fork) about 3-5 more minutes. Remove fish from the heat. Season if needed with additional salt.
  • TO SERVE: Divide the rice evenly between plates and add tilapia right on top. Generously spoon pineapple salsa on top of everything. Serve with fresh lime wedges (drizzle lime on right before serving) and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: You will likely have more pineapple salsa than needed to top the fish, but we like a lot on top! Or, you can finish off the extra salsa with chips. You can halve the pineapple salsa recipe, but I like it as written, so I don't waste the rest of the veggies.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 925kcal | Carbohydrates: 129g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 132mg | Potassium: 1372mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 880IU | Vitamin C: 220mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 3mg

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    OMG!! I made this for dinner. It was amazing!!! I added corn to the beans and red bell pepper to the pineapple salsa, it was beautiful and delicious! ???? oh and supper quick!

  2. 5 stars
    I don’t like fish but decided I’d try a fis recipe once a week to try new food. I LOVED this! I’ll definitely be making it again!

  3. 5 stars
    I’d give 6 stars if i could. This was wonderful! We licked the platter clean! This will
    be my go-to tilapia recipe from here on. Thanks for such a fresh and easy recipe that uses staple ingredients! And no grilling! 🙂

  4. Hey Chelsea,
    I’ve discovered Tilapia and we love it, only the frozen Parmesan crusted we’ve been buying has so much salt!
    Your recipe is even higher in salt. How can I reduce the salt in this? Would I just add 1 tsp. of mojo and add no other salt?
    Thanks!

    1. Hey Catherine! Yes, feel free to reduce the salt in this to personal preference. If you’re concerned from the nutrition label, I do think the sodium amount in the nutrition facts are off a bit; the calorie counter I use counts black beans before being rinsed off which drastically increases sodium count. If you rinse the black beans, you’ll reduce the sodium by a lot

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