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  • Whole black peppercorns
  • Tilapia
  • Salt
  • Baby spinach
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Spanish onion
  • Olive oil cooking spray

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The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch gives U.S. Tilapia from Recirculating Aquaculture Systems a rating of "best choice" for your health and the environment.

September 20, 2016  |  Issue #627

Peppered Tilapia with Caramelized Onions and Wilted Spinach

peppered tilapia

A Something Different Recipe
Developed by Dana Jacobi

Tilapia is a healthy and affordable choice for your dinner table. Not only is it low in fat and calories, this fish is also a good source of protein, vitamin B12 and selenium. This one-skillet recipe, seasoned simply with salt and fresh peppercorns, uses only 2 other ingredients. Serve on a bed of wilted spinach and dress with sweet, caramelized onions for a great weeknight dinner with minimal clean up.

Makes 4 servings.
Per Serving: 239 calories, 13 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 8 g carbohydrate, 25 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 408 mg sodium.


  • 4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 lb. tilapia, 4 fillets
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 10 oz. baby spinach
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large Spanish onion, very thinly sliced
  • Olive oil cooking spray


Put peppercorns in re-sealable plastic bag. Lay bag on cutting board and using mallet or rolling pin pound peppercorns until coarsely crushed.

Sprinkle both sides of fillets lightly with salt. Sprinkle and press crushed peppercorns on both sides of fillets. Set aside.

In large bowl, toss spinach with 1 tablespoon oil until leaves glisten.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and cook until leaves collapse, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Transfer spinach to large plate, cover to keep warm and set aside. Wipe out pan and set aside.

Using same bowl, toss onions with 1 tablespoon oil.

Return skillet to medium-high heat and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add onions to plate with spinach.

Wipe out skillet and coat with cooking spray. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add fillets and cook until browned and crusty on bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Using wide spatula, turn fish and cook until white in center at thickest part and flakes easily with fork, 3 to 4 minutes.

To serve, arrange spinach in bed on each of four dinner plates. Place fish on top and arrange onions over fish.

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