Our weekly menus this summer have been all about two things: tacos and salads. To be completely honest, tacos are on the menu mainly to legitimize my constant craving for chips and guacamole. Salads are there to balance out all the chips and guac.  As such, I’m always on the lookout for new taco combos. We already have a fish taco recipe we enjoy, but there’s no such thing as too many tacos. The combination of the fresh tortillas (please make fresh tortillas!), smoky fish, crunchy cabbage slaw and crumbly cheese is spot on. So good in fact, these actually deserve to take center stage – even next to chips and guac.


For the fish:

  • 6 dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1-1½ lbs. white fish fillets, such as tilapia or halibut
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

For the cabbage slaw: 

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and diced
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. low fat greek yogurt (or mayonnaise)
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice

To serve: 

  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Cotija or queso fresco cheese, crumbled
  • Lime wedges


  • 01

    Heat a dry skillet over high heat. Once fully heated, add the chiles to the skillet and toast about 10 seconds on each side, just until they start to puff. Fill with enough water to cover the chiles and bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the chiles soak until soft, about 20 minutes.

  • 02

    Drain the softened chiles and combine in a blender or food processor with the garlic, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, ginger, lime juice and olive oil. Blend until a smooth paste forms. Season with salt to taste.  Place the fish in a shallow dish in a single layer, season lightly with salt and cover the fish on both sides with the chile paste. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

  • 03

    While the fish is marinating, combine the cabbage with the salt and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Drain the excess liquid, then toss with the serrano, cumin, cilantro, yogurt and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate.

  • 04

    Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Gently shake any excess marinade off of the fish, then add to the pan in a single layer and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature measures 135˚ F for halibut or 145˚ F for tilapia on an instant read thermometer. Flake the fish into bite-sized pieces with a fork. Serve in tortillas and top with the cabbage slaw, cotija, and a squeeze of lime juice.


  • This looks really good, a wonderful summer dish! I love tacos!

  • This looks really good, a wonderful summer dish! I love tacos!

  • saba

    I don’t usually like fish but this looks sooo good!!! I love grilled anything

  • saba

    I don’t usually like fish but this looks sooo good!!! I love grilled anything

  • Ashley

    This was one of the first recipes I made from Homesick Texan, they are so delicious!

  • Erika

    Can these marinate longer than 2 hours or will the acidity from the lime juice mess with the fish?

  • Looks delish and I love fish tacos — In Florida I love fish reuben — you can do it with a taco shell too.

  • annieseats

    I think you could probably stretch it a bit longer, but I wouldn’t go all day long or anything like that.

  • I can be down with a diet that consists solely of tacos and salad. Sounds pretty well balanced (and uber delicious) to me.

  • Sarah Nowland

    How spicy are these? Do your kids handle them okay? They look delicious!!

  • annieseats

    They are really not spicy at all. The chiles add more of a smoky taste, but not much heat. We all ate them and there were no complaints as I recall.

  • Sarah Nowland

    Thank you! We ended up trying them last night and they were DELICIOUS! You’re right, not spicy at all. We loved the flavors!

  • Lindsay

    Hi Annie, where did you find the dried guajillo chiles? I’ve not heard of them before (and I thought I’d really stepped out of my box in the last two years with using new-to-me ingredients!). Do you think they could be found at Whole Foods, or are they more of a specialty market/online item?

  • Annie

    Yes, Whole Foods has them!