Fish rice bowls are savory and satiating, but won’t ruin your diet.
I love rice bowls, Mexican food, and seafood. In fact, one of my favorite cheat meals is a rice bowl from Chipotle. That’s why I’m excited to share this fish rice bowl, it hits all the same notes as your favorite rice bowl, but with none of the guilt.
Are fish rice bowls good for a Mediterranean Diet?
This Fish Rice Bowl is perfect for the Mediterranean Diet. Fish is high in protein and low in calories, so you can eat even more fish than other proteins. You get 9 whole ounces of cod for 210 calories, and that gives you an impressive 50 grams of protein. For comparison, 9 ounces of beef sirloin is 640 calories.
The Mediterranean diet loosely follows the culturally typical meals served around the Mediterranean. There is typically a focus on fish and healthy fats like olive oil, and less emphasis on red meat. The diet is a good way to both lose weight and manage your cholesterol.
What should I put in a Fish Rice bowl?
I started designing this recipe to closely follow what I’d put in a Chipotle rice bowl and then customized it for fish. For me, that meant starting with white rice and adding a layer of pinto beans, followed by the fish and a side topping of pico de gallo.
From there though I got a little more creative. Since this meal works so well with the Mediterranean diet, I played into that flavor profile by adding fresh basil to the pico. Basil is aromatic and flavorful, and adds a nice underlying flavor to the whole dish.
I also wanted an element that pairs well with fish specifically. Cabbage slaw is light and mild flavored, and paired well with my grilled cod.
Lastly, I love street corn, and already had the grill fired up. So I served a side of Mexican street corn, which added a lovely color and flavor to the meal. In the pictures, I show the whole ear of corn, but if you want to mix it in with the bowl you can cut the corn off the cob so that it’s easily eaten with the rice bowl.
What kind of fish should I use for a Fish Rice Bowl?
I think most types of fish can be used in the recipe, but these are my three favorites:
- Cod: Cod is flavor neutral and very low calorie. It also doesn’t hurt that cod is pretty cost effective and easy to buy.
- Shrimp: Shrimp grill really well and are harder to overcook than other kinds of fish. It’s also easy to scale the number of shrimp you cook for how many servings you need. You could easily apply my Mediterranean diet shrimp directly to this rice bowl.
- Salmon: salmon is higher calorie than cod or shrimp due to the extra healthy fats it has. In my opinion, these healthy fats also make salmon taste the best out of the three.
Besides these three common fish types, any fish you can throw on the grill will probably work here.
Cabbage Slaw - a lot of volume for not a lot of calories
The trick with making cabbage slaw for a Mediterranean diet is to use low fat mayo. Using low fat mayo keeps the meal low calorie and still super tasty. The cabbage itself is super low calorie, so it can add a lot of mass to your meals without impacting how healthy it is.
How to customize a fish rice bowl
Like many “bowl” meals, you can customize it endlessly so that you never eat the same meal twice. With different spices you can make this meal feel Asian, Mexican, or Mediterranean. Here are some suggestions for other ways to make a rice fish bowl:
- Use yellow rice instead of white rice. This recipe is simple and will give the meal a more Mexican feel.
- Use a giardiniera instead of pico de gaio as a topping for a different kind of Mediterranean feel.
- Use sticky rice and a mirin and soy sauce fish marinade for a more asian theme.
Tips for how to grill fish
Grilling fish can be tricky. If you’re not careful, you run the risk of overcooking, undercooking, or making a mess of your fish on the grates. Here are some helpful tips for grilling fish to go in a rice bowl:
- Start with a well heated grill. Putting fish onto a grill that is already at temperature will help sear it create a nice crust.
- Only flip the fish one time. A common folly when grilling fish is that if you touch it too much, the fish will break apart and leave pieces stuck to the grates. Make sure the bottom is good and golden before flipping. You can do this by gently lifting a corner before committing to flip it.
- Follow the grain of the grates when flipping. Scoot your spatula under the fish in the direction that the grates are running. This will keep your spatula and the fish above the grates and help prevent any fish from sticking to the grate when you lift up.
- Use a thermometer to check the fish. Cod is done at 145F. Using a thermometer helps twofold, because it keeps you from overcooking the fish and it keeps you touching the fish too much and breaking it apart.
Fish Rice Bowl
- 1 Grill
- 6 Filets Cod about 36oz
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- salt and pepper
Cabbage Slaw Ingredients
- ½ Head Cabbage About 1lb
- ½ cup Low Fat Mayo
- 3 tbsp lime juice
Other Bowl Ingredients
- 1 cup uncooked rice Basmati or similar
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 large tomato
- 1 small onion or half a large onion
Cabbage Slaw Instructions
- Start by thinly slicing the cabbage into strips no more than a quarter inch wide. Then cross cut the slices so that you end up with individual cabbage strips about 3 inches long and a quarter inch wide. Rinse the chopped cabbage in a colander and shake off any excess water.
- In a bowl, mix the cabbage, mayo, lime juice, and salt. Let it rest in the fridge while preparing the rest of the meal.
- Mix all of the spices except the salt and pepper. Run the fish through the olive oil and then pat the spice rub into both sides of the filets. Then salt and pepper the filets.
- Heat your grill until it's relatively at high heat. Place the fish on the grill and cook until the bottom is golden (2-3 minutes). Then flip and cook 2-3 minutes more or until the fish’s internal temperature reaches 145F.
Pico de Gallo Instructions
- Dice a large tomato and half a large onion (or 1 small onion.)
- Dice up to 4oz fresh basil, then mix it together with the tomato and onion.
- Mix in a pinch of salt and lime juice if desired.
- Prepare 1 cup of uncooked rice in a rice cooker. Heat a can of pinto beans on the stove.
- Serve ⅙ of the rice into a large bowl or plate, and top with a hearty spoon full of pinto beans.
- Lay the fish on top of the pinto beans, then layer the pico de gallo and cabbage slaw around the fish.Serve and enjoy 🙂