Tilapia is a light and mild-flavored fish that’s packed with protein. If you’re planning on serving tilapia at the dinner table or to a housefull of guests, you’ll want to pick a side dish to serve with it that makes sense.
Since tilapia is very light, you may want to choose a carb-heavy side dish. Or, if you’re serving guests who prefer healthier picks, you might consider a healthy carb or vegetables.
Whether you’re serving a table of hungry children or hosting a dinner, we think you’ll love this list of 17 side dishes to serve with tilapia.
17 Side Dishes to Serve with Tilapia
1. Jasmine Rice
With protein-heavy tilapia, carb-heavy side dishes such as rice fit the bill. Jasmine rice, in particular, is a complementary choice as its floral and nutty aroma complement the mild-flavored tilapia.
A side of jasmine rice with your tilapia makes for a filling yet wholesome and healthy meal for your dinner guests.
2. Guacamole Quinoa Salad
Guacamole quinoa salad with onion, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, avocados, and black beans on a bed of romaine lettuce and drizzled with olive oil and lime juice is just what your tilapia needs to round out the meal.
With healthy carbohydrate quinoa plus a serving of vegetables and protein-packed black beans, this quinoa salad is nutritious and healthy.
3. Cilantro Lime Rice
When serving rice with tilapia, you need to ensure you pick a recipe that will enhance the flavor of the fish, since it is meek and mild.
Cilantro lime rice brings the complementary flavors of cilantro and lime to add just the zest you need to a tilapia entrée. Cook your rice according to package directions, then add the cilantro and lime juice and serve.
4. Broccolini Pasta with Lemon
Pasta with broccolini, pine nuts, garlic, grated parmesan cheese, and fresh basil with a splash of lemon juice is a perfect match with tilapia.
The flavors of garlic, parmesan cheese and lemon juice enhance the otherwise subdued flavor of the tilapia, and the pasta provides the sustenance the meal needs while the broccolini rounds it out with a vegetable.
You can’t go wrong serving coleslaw alongside tilapia. Coleslaw is a long-standing staple side dish served with seafood entrees, and the same is true with tilapia.
Shredded cabbage and carrots with mayonnaise dressing offer a creamy and crunchy texture that contrasts the tender and flaky meat texture of the fish.
6. Corn Casserole
Contrast the mild flavor of tilapia with a little sweetness in the form of corn casserole. This dish adds some seriously sweet flavor to your tilapia entrée.
Add in chopped bell peppers and breadcrumbs to round out this casserole and add a little sustenance to your meal, as tilapia is very light and will leave you hungry for more without a filling side dish.
7. Honey Oven-Roasted Broccoli with Garlic
Steamed broccoli is nice, but have you tried honey oven-roasted broccoli with garlic? The truth is, steamed broccoli doesn’t provide enough of the flavorful punch your tilapia requires.
With olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and honey, this broccoli side dish enhances the flavor of your entire meal with its sweet and salty kick.
8. Mashed Potatoes
For a savory side dish to complement your tilapia, mashed potatoes are always an excellent choice. Just make sure to add a dollop of sour cream, chives, or any of your favorite toppings and seasonings to enhance the flavor.
With a light fish like tilapia, you may need to serve a savory side if you’re serving hungry guests, and mashed potatoes will help you do just that.
9. Broccoli and Tortellini Salad
Pasta salads are great with tilapia because the pasta provides a much-needed carbohydrate to your meal. But with the addition of broccoli, this dish is filling and healthy.
With a winning combination of tortellini, broccoli, red onion and bacon bits, topped with a creamy vinaigrette dressing, this pasta salad offers up serious flavor to your entire meal.
10. French Fries
Just as with any type of fish, French fries are a big hit when served with tilapia. Whether they’re crinkle-cut, waffle-cut, or long and thin, the salty and crispy French fries bring new flavors and textures to your meal.
If you’re making French fries from scratch, cut your potato slices into the desired shape and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings. Then, pop them into the oven until they’re golden brown, and serve.
11. Oven-Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan
Asparagus is arguably one of the best vegetables to pair with any fish entrée. But with tilapia, you need to cook your asparagus with a kick.
Asparagus transforms into a flavorful side dish when rolled in panko breadcrumbs and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. This crunchy version of asparagus balances out the texture of the tilapia that your meal requires.
12. Au Gratin Potatoes
Add the flavor and texture of creamy cheese to your meal by serving au gratin potatoes alongside your tilapia entrée.
The flavors of rich melted cheese and sweet onions cut through the muted flavor of tilapia and round out your meal with a satiating carbohydrate that will have guests’ mouths drooling.
13. Coconut Creamed Spinach
Get your veggies in while adding a sweet coconut flavor to your tilapia entrée.
Spinach, red onion, and garlic pair up with sweet coconut milk, cayenne pepper and paprika to offer a side dish that is a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy-just the added flavor your tilapia needs.
14. Mashed Cauliflower
For the texture and flavor of mashed potatoes without the calories and heaviness, mashed cauliflower is a healthy yet filling side dish to serve with tilapia.
Serve mashed cauliflower topped with butter or sour cream and chives, or try serving it atop roasted portobello mushroom caps to add a chewy texture to your meal.
15. Roasted Vegetables
If you’re looking for a healthy solution to serve as the side dish to your tilapia entrée, look no further than roasted vegetables.
Just pick your favorite vegetables, chop them up, place on a baking sheet, and top them with olive oil and your favorite seasonings. Then pop them in the oven, and you’re all set.
16. Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan
Cauliflower is completely transformed when roasted in the oven. With the addition of parmesan cheese, this otherwise flavorless veggie becomes a flavor powerhouse.
This is a great dish to make to sneak in vegetables into a child’s meal who is otherwise not a fan of vegetables, and the parmesan cheese enhances the flavor of the tilapia, to boot.
17. Macaroni and Cheese
As tilapia is a mild and low-flavored dish, serving macaroni and cheese alongside it brings a rich and creamy flavor to the meal.
The chewy consistency of macaroni pasta coupled with rich and creamy cheese oozes with flavor and brings the tilapia to life. Try it with the kids and watch as they finish their plates without needing to be asked.
Now that you know the best side dishes to serve with tilapia, it’s time to head to the grocery store and purchase the foods you need to get started on dinner.
From healthy vegetable dishes to creamy macaroni and cheese and flavorful rice, you’ll enjoy pairing old favorites and new recipes with your tilapia entrée.