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This 30-minute Tilapia Fish Tacos Recipe with Cabbage Slaw has just the right balance of sweet and spicy flavors, and is perfect topped with a fresh crunchy cabbage slaw!


We all know it’s not polite to stare at people eating, but have you ever stolen a glance?

Truthfully, it’s hard not to notice the way a person eats when they’re sitting next to or across from you.

And it’s interesting, and I think you can tell a lot about someone by the way they make and eat a plate of food!


For example, my mom always places neatly scooped servings of each component (protein, vegetable, etc.) onto her plate so they don’t touch. Then she eats all of one item, bite by bite, before moving on to the next.

My niece takes this one step farther and likes to use a lunch tray to keep her food from touching.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve seen my brother take several beautiful meals (including Thanksgiving dinner) and mash every component together into a messy pile on his plate. The end result looks like baby food, or worse.

I wonder if the way you arrange your plate and eat your food can be used like handwriting to determine your personality? My mom can definitely be meticulous and methodical when it comes to certain things. And my brother is definitely more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of guy. So, maybe?!

Ancho-Garlic Fish Tacos with Citrus-Mint Cabbage Slaw

I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t mind my food touching, but I don’t like it mashed together.

I like mixing up my bites in what I like to think of as the quest for the perfect bite. A bit of veggies combined with a bit of meat or something else. And I’m a condiment kind-of girl, so if there’s a sauce involved (like BBQ), you know I’ll be dipping too.

Tacos are one meal that I’ve always enjoyed because each bite already has a little bit of everything in it and there’s no need for me to work at putting together the perfect bite!

Tilapia Fish Tacos Recipe

Fish tacos are a personal favorite of mine. In this recipe I season the fish with a sweet and spicy ancho-garlic sauce. And then bake the fish (instead of frying) to keep the meal lighter.

The refreshing slaw has both sweet and savory going on, providing tons of flavor along with crunch. These flavorful tacos really hit the spot, and are perfect for family taco night!

Tilapia Fish Tacos Recipe

Cabbage Slaw for Fish Tacos

Crispy, crunchy, flavorful cabbage slaw is the perfect topping for fish tacos!

This slaw has cabbage along with onion and orange for a sweet and savory pairing. The dressing features a touch of tang thanks to red wine vinegar, and a hint of smoky sweet sweetness from maple syrup.

The medley of flavorings going on in this crunchy slaw makes it a wonderful addition to fish fish tacos.

Pro Tip: You can make this slaw up to a day or two in advance and store it covered in the fridge.

How to Prepare Cabbage for Coleslaw

To start, remove and discard the outer leaves of the cabbage head. Cut the head of cabbage in half.

There are two basic ways you can prepare cabbage for coleslaw:

  1. Thinly slice the cabbage into strips with a knife.
  2. Use a box grater to shred the cabbage.

I prefer the first method because I like the texture better. I find that if you slice the cabbage into thin strips, it stays a lot crunchier than if you shred it on a box grater.

Side Dishes to Serve with This Fish Tacos Recipe:


Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment below because I love hearing from you! You can also tag @anediblemosaic on social media. To stay up-to-date FOLLOW ME on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Xoxo, Faith

Tilapia Fish Tacos Recipe with Cabbage Slaw

Prep Time18 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
This 30-minute Tilapia Fish Tacos Recipe with Cabbage Slaw has just the right balance of sweet and spicy flavors, topped with a fresh crunchy cabbage slaw!

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Cabbage Slaw:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium clove garlic crushed using a mortar and pestle or grated on a microplane
  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound cabbage cored and thinly sliced into shreds (about 5 cups sliced)
  • 2 Navel oranges peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium white onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced


  • 12 small corn tortillas about 5 to 6-inches in diameter
  • Fresh minced chives for garnish (optional)
  • Fresh lime wedges for squeezing on top (optional)


For the Fish:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Brush the inside of a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil; arrange the fish in the prepared dish.
  • Whisk together the remaining 11/2 tablespoons olive oil, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon, garlic, ancho chile pepper, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Pour the sauce evenly over the fish.
  • Bake the fish until fully cooked (it will be opaque and flake easily with a fork), about 12 minutes.

For the Slaw:

  • Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (this can be made a day or 2 ahead).

To Char the Tortillas (Optional):

  • While it’s optional, I like to char the tortillas a little bit. I (carefully!) do this by using a pair of tongs to hold a tortilla over my gas burner and rotating it around until it blackens in places. This can also be done by placing the tortillas onto a grill or hot grill pan, or putting them under a hot broiler. No matter what method you use, be very careful and watch them closely!

To Assemble the Tacos:

  • Put some fish onto a charred tortilla and top with some slaw and repeat. I serve 3 tacos per person along with about 1 cup of slaw as a side dish (in addition to the slaw on top of the tacos).


  • If desired, increase the spice level by adding crushed red pepper flakes or topping with your favorite hot sauce.
  • You can make the slaw a day or 2 in advance and store it covered in the fridge.


Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 744mg | Potassium: 871mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 610IU | Vitamin C: 86mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Fish Tacos Recipe, Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw, Tilapia Fish Tacos

Share it with me on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on May 10, 2013. I updated it with more information on June 19, 2020.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale of these items. Thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Pingback: 15 Seafood Tacos
  2. LOVE fish tacos and these look like a wonderful version!

  3. Kiran @ says:

    Definitely not too observant because by the time I reach the table, I’m all way too ready to gobble!!

    Love tacos, especially fish tacos :)

  4. Absolutely love your fish and slaw recipes and shall make both soonest: perhaps as a taco, perhaps just piled on a plate. I am a midliner also: like to take a little of everything on the plate with each mouthful :) !

  5. I just love fish tacos. Lovely slaw to have with them. It just makes you feel all light and healthy after you eat them.

  6. Hooray for tacos! I think they may be my favorite food–especially fish tacos with tasty crunchy slaw. These look so good!

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever paid that much attention to other people, usually because I’m to busy stuffing my face. But I do admit that if there is something I don’t like on my plate I eat it first, to get it over with. Hehe! Your fish tacos look mouthwatering and the recipe is fantastic. Thanks for sharing Faith.

  8. The Squishy Monster says:

    I always feel compelled to do the same but inevitably get asked, “whaat?’ lol…love this recipe!

  9. A tasty slaw! I love the flavors you have used (mint & lime).



  10. Hahah. I’m sort of like you, somewhere in the middle. Sometimes I’ll mix my food a bit, sometimes I’ll eat it completely separated. These look just perfect. A great summer meal

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