A quick, healthy, and delicious way to prepare inexpensive fish fillets! Tuscan Fish with Cannelini Beans, Tomatoes, and Spinach packs lots of bold flavor in a one-dish meal...
Vices are sometimes only virtues carried to excess.~~Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Healthy Sustainable Fish
'Tis the season of excess, and many of us are feeling the after-effects of overspending and overeating... maybe even over drinking 😉 After all, "vices are sometimes only virtues carried to excess." Charles Dickens was a very wise man! In other words, many of us enjoyed too much of a good thing, and now it is time to forge ahead with healthier eating, more consistent exercise, and a budget.
Eating more fish can be a great way of addressing both your budget and dietary concerns. Purchasing fish need not be a "budget buster." Many inexpensive options are now available. Living in landlocked New Mexico, we don't have access to fresh fish options. However, flash-frozen varieties are readily available.
I have found membership warehouse chains such as Costco and Sam's Club to be excellent sources of inexpensive, good-quality flash frozen fish. I purchase tilapia, catfish, and flounder on a regular basis.
While I do splurge on tuna and sea bass occasionally (for a price 🙂 ), my weekly meal planning relies heavily on these affordable fish species. In addition to affordability and health considerations, I prefer sustainable and environmentally sound choices. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch is an excellent resource for making well-informed selections when purchasing fish.
The site includes a search engine for an extensive listing of fish species and fisheries with recommendations based on how well the fishery is managed, method of catch/farming, location, subspecies, market names, etc. 2017 update: My "go to" frozen fish choice is barramundi.
This recipe comes together very quickly, making it a great choice for weeknights. If you've been following my blog, you know I am a firm believer in a "well-stocked pantry," and I always have several types of canned beans on hand, including cannelini. I consider my freezer to be part of my "pantry," and I keep the fish fillets on hand as well.
I can complete this dish in 30 focused minutes! "Focused" is a qualifier when I cook as I fight a losing battle with ADD at times, and, I love a glass of wine while I cook 😉 .
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
I am never without good quality petite diced tomatoes. I buy the large tub of organic fresh baby spinach at Sam's Club on a weekly basis. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a week. The balance of the ingredient list is always in my pantry, so I am "off to the races."
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic, divided
- ½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, (to taste)
- 2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 15 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
- 2 15 ounce cans cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
- 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
- salt and pepper
- 1 ½ pounds firm white fish (4 fillets) patted dry and seasoned with salt (see notes) and pepper
- fresh parsley and lemon to garnish
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Mis en place - Gathering your ingredients and equipment before beginning allows you to cook more efficiently, and makes less mess. A large sauté pan and a deeper covered skillet or dutch oven should get the job done.
- Prepare the tomatoes and beans - Sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil, add the crushed red pepper and rosemary (if using,) and stir until onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes in their juice, and the beans. Cover the pan and let the mixture simmer while you prepare the fish.
- Prepare the fish - To a sauté pan on medium-high heat, add the olive oil and the remaining garlic. Add the seasoned fish fillets to the pan. Watch the fish carefully as over-cooked fish is not tasty. Lift the edge of the fish fillets, and when they are golden brown, carefully turn the fillets. When fish is cooked, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm until the beans, tomatoes, spinach mixture is ready to serve.
- Finish the dish - After turning the fillets, add spinach to the pot with the beans and tomatoes, and give it a good stir. Return the lid to the pot for an additional 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.
- To serve - In a shallow bowl or plate with an edge (it's saucy), plate the beans mixture. Top with a fish portion, and garnish with lemon wedge and fresh herbs as desired.
🥘 About This Dish
- It's quick. This healthy fish recipe can be on your table in 30 minutes!
- It's Gluten free.
- It's relatively low carb (beans are fiber-rich and okay on a low carb diet).
- It's healthy and well-balanced with 488 calories, 49 g protein, 50 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat.
- What kind of fish is best? I have used tilapia, barramundi, snapper, sheepshead, and farm-raised catfish successfully. Any firm, mild white fish will work.
- Quick thaw by placing frozen fillets in a deep bowl filled with water.
- Substitute young greens for quick cooking or kale or chard by simmering until tender.
- Choose your cookware wisely. You will need a large saute pan for the fish to allow for turning. The spinach takes up a lot of space in a pan/pot prior to wilting. A dutch oven works well.
- Prefer using dried cannelini? Cook them ahead and freeze in 2 cup portions.
- Pre-minced garlic in a jar is a great time saver!