Spanish Barramundi With Chard Cannelini and Tomatoes

The Spanish flavors of Spanish Barramundi With Chard Cannelini and Tomatoes – olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika, sherry vinegar, tomatoes, and parsley – come together quickly in this healthy, flavorful fish dish! The crispy, crunch of the fish provides a great textural contrast to the tender vegetables and cannelini beans. 

Spanish Barramundi With Chard Cannelini and Tomatoes on 2 square white plates with forks and linen napkins.
Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.

~~ Voltaire

Tamara Talks (about Voltaire and breading fish)

A pic of the author Tamara.

Voltaire was a very wise man. 🙂 Unfortunately, too many people don’t see eating and drinking in quite the same manner…

My Spanish Barramundi With Chard Cannelini and Tomatoes is a pleasure, and is quick and easy enough for a weeknight supper. I must qualify that statement, though. The breading process is always messy, so if you hate clean up when you’re exhausted from your day, save it for when you have more time and energy!

In creating this dish, I once again relied on my knowledge of flavor profiles. The Spanish flavor profile includes, but is not limited to, olive oil, garlic, onion, smoked paprika, sherry vinegar, parsley, and tomatoes.

This combination is one of my favorites, and Mediterranean cooking is among the world’s healthiest cuisines. I also utilized my well-stocked pantry, so a quick trip to the market for a bunch of beautiful rainbow chard and some grape tomatoes is all I needed to complete the dish!

I keep firm, white barramundi fillets in my freezer (see recipe notes on defrosting fish), cannelini beans, sherry vinegar, shallots, panko, etc. in my well-stocked pantry. A well-stocked pantry is such a help in preparing healthy, quick meals at the end of a long day at the office. If you haven’t downloaded a copy of my customizable pantry checklist, and would like to, click  My Pantry Checklist

How to Make Spanish Barramundi With Chard Cannelini and Tomatoes

So, on to the process of making this delicious dish… Gather your ingredients. If you’ve not defrosted the fish, you will want to get it into a vessel and get that process started first. I usually forget to put my barramundi into the refrigerator in advance, so I need to quick thaw my frozen fish day of!

You will need 2 good-sized sauté pans, and 2 shallow bowls for breading the fish. Prep work is always important, but especially when you want to get it done in a timely manner.

Fish Ingredients

  • barramundi fillets (or similar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp hot or mild smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • several grinds of pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup canola oil for shallow frying

Cannelini and Chard Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shallots or red onion
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 pint tiny tomatoes such as Cherub
  • 1 large bunch swiss chard rinsed well and stem ends trimmed
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup chicken or seafood broth
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Important: When the fish is thawed, pat it dry, and set it aside until time to bread and fry it. In the meantime, prepare the cannelini and chard part of the recipe. It will simmer gently while you pan-fry the fish.

A close up of Spanish barramundi atop chard, cannelini, and tomatoes garnished with fresh parsley on a square white plate.
Chard stems, onion, tomatoes in a saute pan with wooden spoon.

Sauté the tomatoes, chard stems, shallot, crushed red pepper saute in olive oil until tomatoes burst…

Chard leaves, cannelini beans, broth, sherry vinegar added to the saute pan and simmering.

Add to the pan the chard leaves, cannelini, broth, and sherry vinegar…

Barramundi is breaded with panko and spices then shallow fried.

Crispy fish fillets take only a few minutes to shallow-fry, then top the cannelini and chard mixture with a fish fillet and serve!

Tips and FAQ

I can’t get barramundi. What else can I use? I love barramundi because it is a sustainable fishery, and it’s flaky white flesh works well in many of my favorite dishes like healthy Mexican fish and seafood soup. However, I have used Atlantic cod and tilapia as well. Use your favorite mild, firm, flaky white fish!

Can I substitute other vegetables? Yes. Kale works very well in this dish. Cut the ribs away before adding to the pan. Cooking time should be about the same.

Do I have to use canned beans? No. I make large batches of beans in my Instant Pot, and often have them in my freezer cooked and ready to go. Great northerns and navy beans are good substitutions.

What can I pair with Spanish Barramundi?

We love a dry Spanish rosé with this dish, but they can be hard to find. Any dry, crisp white or rosé should pair well;  sauvignon blanc would be a nice choice. Enjoy the pleasure of this food and drink on your patio on a lovely evening, and remember Voltaire when you do… 😉

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.
Yield: 4 servings

Spanish Barramundi with Chard and Cannelini

Spanish Fish With Chard, Cannelini, and Tomatoes

Spanish flavors - olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika, sherry vinegar, tomatoes, and parsley - come together quickly in this healthy, flavorful fish dish!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


The Chard, Cannelini, & Tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shallots, or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 pint tiny tomatoes, such as Cherub
  • 1 large bunch swiss chard, rinsed well and stem ends trimmed
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper

The Fish

  • 4 fish fillets, patted dry*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp hot or mild smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • several grinds of pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup canola oil, for frying

To Finish

  • chopped parsley


The Chard, Cannelini, & Tomatoes

  1. Add olive oil to a large sauce or saute pan (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Add the shallots or red onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, and tiny tomatoes. Cook stirring occasionally until the tomatoes burst. Be careful to not burn the garlic!
  2. While the tomatoes cook, prep the chard by cutting the stems from the leaves portion. Slice the stems about 1/4" thick, and add to the tomatoes mixture. Continue to stir occasionally while you rough chop the chard leaves.
  3. Add chard leaves to the pan along with cannelini and chicken broth. Stir and replace lid. Lower heat to a gentle simmer.

The Fish

  1. While chard and cannelini simmer, prep the fish.
  2. To one shallow bowl, add the egg and buttermilk. Whisk together vigorously.
  3. To the other shallow bowl, add the Panko, paprika, thyme, garlic and onion powders, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  4. To the saute or fry pan, add the oil for frying (amount depends on the size of your pan and fish fillets). I go with as little as possible. Heat oil to smoking hot to keep the fish from absorbing much of the oil.
  5. Dip a fish fillet in the egg/buttermilk mixture until well-coated. Press both sides into the bread crumbs mixture. Add to the pan. Repeat with remaining fillets.
  6. Thin fillets require only a minute or two per side. When the fish begins to look opaque on the edges and the crumbs are golden brown, turn the fish.
  7. When both sides are golden brown, remove the fish carefully to a platter so as to not ruin the lovely breading.

To Finish

  1. Add the sherry vinegar and salt and pepper to the chard and cannelini mixture. Stir gently to combine. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. This is such an important part of good cooking!
  2. Divide the cannelini, chard, and tomatoes among 4 plates or shallow bowls. Top with a fish fillet.
  3. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Enjoy!


Any firm white fish works well in this recipe - tilapia, swai, flounder, cod, bass, etc.

If you need to thaw the fish quickly, place the fish in a pot of cold water. If fillets are thin, you can just let them sit in the still water. If they're thick, you'll need to run water over them to get them thawed. The best method is overnight in the refrigerator.

Smoked paprika comes in "hot" or "mild." It has a very different flavor than paprika, and is a very important flavor note in this recipe. We love spicy food, so I typically use the "hot" smoked paprika.

Crushed red pepper can be varied to taste or omitted entirely if you don't want the heat.

I did not include first dredging the fish in flour before the egg/buttermilk, and seasoned crumbs. I have not had trouble in the many times I've made this recipe with the breading staying on the fish. However, the breading is key in this recipe, so if you're used to including that step, by all means, do it...

I did not include the frying oil in the nutrition statistics because it's nearly impossible to calculate. If you fry it hot in canola oil, the fish doesn't absorb very much oil. Keep this in mind if you are counting fats and calories.

I included 1/2 of the breading ingredients in the nutrition statistics, due to the fact that about 1/2 remains in the bowls.

Macro Nutrients (MyFitnessPal): 508 calories; 49 g protein; 61 g carbohydrates; 7 g fat. Approximately.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 508Carbohydrates: 61gProtein: 49g

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Spanish Fish With Chard, Cannelini, and Tomatoes - Spanish flavors - olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika, sherry vinegar, tomatoes, and parsley - come together quickly in this healthy, flavorful fish dish!

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  1. Just made this and ate it with family. Good. Only added 1T of sherry vinegar and wished I hadn’t added at all. Still, tasty enough. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Amanda! My family has a “thing” about greens and acidity, so we love the vinegar. Every palate is different, though! I’m glad you enjoyed it in spite of the sherry vinegar. Maybe you can just omit it entirely next time. Have a great week!

    1. You can definitely sub in chicken! My recipe serves 4 for the cannelini, chard, and tomatoes, but I don’t like leftover fish. My husband and I just add chicken breast the next day. You can use the same breading… Thanks Kirsten!

    1. Thanks Kit! Photography is still my biggest challenge as a food blogger, so I appreciate your compliment 🙂 The ingredients in this dish really do make it perfect for spring!