Take your taste buds on a Mexican vacation with this Baked Tilapia “a la Veracruzana”. This simple meal is delicious, easy, and healthy. Veracruz style means it is prepared with tomatoes, tangy olives, and capers. These world flavors will make you feel like you’re dining beachside in Mexico!

veracruz style baked tilapia over thin pasta on a black scalloped plate 

Dinner can be ready in less than 30 minutes with this ideal weeknight dish. This easy and healthy recipe makes a great family meal with minimal clean up. All you have to do is quickly sauté ingredients, top them with fish fillets and bake. Easy peasy!

Veracruz Style Cuisine

After a year of being mostly homebound, I imagine we are all itching to do some world travel. Since it might be a few months before we can hop on a plane, I’ve been leaning hard into globally inspired cuisine. This tasty baked tilapia recipe was inspired by a place I’m yearning to visit, Veracruz, Mexico.

Speaking of globalization, Heroica Veracruz is a perfect example of the melting pot our world has become. First colonized by Spain in 1519, Veracruz draws much of its culinary inspiration from three major sources: the indigenous peoples, the Mediterranean influence of the Spanish colonizers, and Afro-Cuban influence from the slaves who were brought there from Africa and the Caribbean.

If you can just begin to imagine the delicious food that has come about from that particular mixture of cultures, you’ve just barely begun to touch the tip of the iceberg! Veracruz food has some of the most vibrant flavors.

As someone who loves seafood, the coastal city dives deep into this foodie’s heart. With a coastline that stretches 56 miles along the Atlantic, seafood is a huge part of the local cuisine. (Remember this Veracruz Style Fish Stew?)

I can’t wait to travel again and visit Veracruz. Maybe I’ll see you there!

ingredients laid out for tilapia a la veracruzana

Why I Love This Recipe

While I’m all for exciting, global flavors lately, I’m also a busy working mom who needs lots of simple, fast, tasty, and healthy weeknight meals. This Baked Tilapia Veracuz hits all the marks.

This tasty fish recipe can be made in one skillet if made in an oven-safe skillet, meaning clean-up is almost nonexistent.

I also love how few ingredients you need to make a dinner that tastes so bold! Requiring fewer than 10 easy to find ingredients, this baked tilapia is a weeknight dream.

My friends over at Tastefully Simple are helping make my world cuisine dinners perfectly accessible. In this recipe, I used their zesty Cha Cha! Chile Lime Seasoning which combines the brightness of citrus with the heat of chiles all in one super convenient package.

I also use Tastefully Simple’s avocado oil, which is perfect for many applications. Perfectly neutral in taste and with a high smoke point, avocado oil is one you should definitely have in your kitchen arsenal.

hand pouring avocado oil into a skillet

If you’re looking for a yummy, fresh, and bright fish recipe to introduce into your rotation, go grab what you need to make my Baked Tilapia Veracruz – you won’t regret it!

How to make Baked Veracruz-Style Fish (Pescado a la Veracruzana)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, preheat 2 tablespoons avocado oil over medium heat. Cook tomatoes for about 5 to 6 minutes or until softened and skins begin to split. Add garlic; cook and stir about 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in olives and capers.

tomatoes, olives and capers in a skillet

Transfer to a shallow baking dish, if not using an oven-safe skillet.

hand shaking "tastefully simple" cha cha chile lime seasoning blend over fish

Drizzle 1 tablespoon avocado oil over fish and season tilapia with salt, pepper, chile lime seasoning and place on top of vegetables.

Place slices of lemons on top, if using.

square baking dish with fish fillets atop caper/olive tomato mixture and topped with lemon slices

Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish begins to flake when tested with a fork.

Baked Tilapia Veracruz in a white square baking dish on a black and white striped dish towel

Sprinkle with additional chile lime seasoning and fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges and rice or pasta.

veracruz style white fish over pasta with a bottle of tastefully simple seasoning blend

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Veracruz style mean?

In this instance, making something in the tradition of Veracruz, Mexico refers to using Mediterranean flavors like briny capers and olives alongside traditional Mexican ingredients like tomatoes and garlic.

bowls of capers, olives and tomatoes on a grey surface

Which fish can be used for Baked Veracruz-Style Fish?

Almost any delicate, mild white fish can be used in this baked fish dish. I used tilapia but you can also use halibut, cod, catfish, or flounder.

What temp should tilapia be cooked to?

For food safety, tilapia should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.

Should I bake fish covered or uncovered?

Uncovered, please! This will help to prevent the fish from steaming and from overcooking. The exception to the rule would be fish in parchment.

Is baked tilapia healthy?

Yes! Tilapia is an excellent source of protein and nutrients, with only 3 grams of fat per serving. This recipe is also packed with the nutritional benefits of tomatoes and garlic, and is baked, meaning it requires far less added fat.

How do you know when tilapia is done?

As with most fish, tilapia should hit an internal temp of 145 degrees F. Perhaps more easily seen is how well the fish flakes. If you can insert a fork into the flesh and the layers “flake” easily when you twist, the fish is done. If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this helpful video.

baked tilapia veracruz over pasta on a black scalloped plate with a black fork and a black and white patterned napkin

Need more healthy seafood dinner ideas?

Check out these recipes:

If you made this recipe for Baked Tilapia Veracruz, please let me know how it turned out! Comment below or tag me @muybuenocookbook on the gram!

baked tilapia veracruz on a black plate

Baked Tilapia Veracruz

5 (3 ratings)
Take your taste buds on a Mexican vacation with this Baked Tilapia “a la Veracruzana”. This simple meal is delicious, easy, and healthy. Veracruz style means it is prepared with tomatoes, tangy olives, and capers. These world flavors will make you feel like you're dining beachside in Mexico!

Ingredients

  • 4 (4 ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup olives pitted, sliced
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Tastefully Simple Cha Cha! Chile Lime Seasoning
  • lemon slices (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)
  • lemon wedges

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large skillet cook tomatoes in 2 tablespoons Tastefully SimpleÒ Avocado Oil over medium heat about 5 to 6 minutes or until softened and skins begin to split. Add garlic; cook and stir about 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in olives and capers. Transfer to a shallow baking dish.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of avocado oil over fish and season with salt, pepper, chile lime seasoning and place on top of vegetables.
  • Place slices of lemons, if using.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish begins to flake when tested with a fork. 
  • Sprinkle with additional chile lime seasoning and fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges.
  • Serve over pasta or alongside white rice. 

Notes

  • Use code MUYBUENO10 to receive 10% off your online Tastefully Simple purchases between now and April 1, 2021.
  • If you do not have Tastefully Simple Cha Cha! Chile Lime Seasoning, replace with your favorite chile lime seasoning blend.
  • If you do not have Tastefully Simple Avocado Oil, feel free to substitute with olive oil.
  • For a low-carb version, serve over zoodles or cauliflower rice. 
Calories: 137kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 574mg, Potassium: 178mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 428IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 1mg

Photography by Raemi Vermiglio

This post is sponsored by Tastefully Simple. Personal opinions and thoughts are my own.