While beef tacos are arguably one of the most popular Mexican dishes, fish tacos are a great alternative. Maybe you’re not in the mood for something so heavy for dinner, or maybe you just feel like having seafood for a change. And whether you prefer them grilled or fried, fish tacos taste amazing.
Since it’s a seafood dish, you may wonder what sides are appropriate to serve with fish tacos. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this list. The good news is that the sides that go well with beef and chicken Mexican dishes are also perfectly fine with seafood.
However, some people may choose a side depending on how the fish is prepared. For example, if you’re making grilled fish tacos, consider a lighter side such as soup. If you’re making fried fish tacos, you may want to pair it with a heavier side like beans. Personally, we think that all sides are good sides, so have fun trying them out!
The traditional way of making refried beans requires you to cook them for 1-2 hours, but let’s face it, many of us don’t have that luxury. These days you can use a slow cooker or Instant Pot to speed up the process. This particular recipe gives you both the traditional method and the Instant Pot method.
To achieve that creamy, silky texture, refried beans often contain lard or butter. Nothing wrong with that but if you want a healthier alternative, try this black bean recipe. And while this is a cooktop method, you can speed things up by using canned black beans.
When serving, consider adding a bit of black beans on top of the fish tacos for variety!
Charro beans have a chunkier, thicker consistency compared with refried and black beans. They have a smoky, spicy flavor thanks to the bits of bacon and chorizo mixed in.
Charro beans are very customizable. Don’t eat meat? Just omit the bacon and chorizo and add more veggies. Don’t have a lot of time? Use canned pinto beans!
What separates fish tacos from standard tacos is the slaw topping. In terms of texture, the crunchy, tangy slaw goes well with the soft tortilla and flaky fish.
Fish taco slaw is also super quick and easy to prepare since you can buy pre-shredded slaw mix and cabbage at the store.
According to the recipe, this flavorful side dish has more of a Tex-Mex spin to it thanks to the addition of corn, beans, and taco seasoning. It also goes well with grilled chicken, pork chops, and steak.
TIP: For a healthier alternative in making slaws, use greek yogurt instead of mayo.
Speaking of alternatives, if you don’t care for creamy slaws at all, then try this recipe. This sweet, tangy mango slaw goes particularly well with grilled fish tacos, perfect for a summer backyard dinner. In fact, it also pairs nicely with any grilled meat such as chicken, fish, or steak.
This soup is very quick to prepare, as long as you have pre-shredded chicken (which you can do yourself the night before, or purchase from the grocery store). The tortilla strips are made by baking instead of frying, which allows you to focus solely on the soup while it’s in the oven.
This vegetarian soup uses fideo, a very thin noodle similar to angel hair pasta. Therefore, if you can’t find fideo in your grocery store then angel hair is a fine replacement. Because this is a lighter soup, it’s great to pair with grilled fish tacos.
TIP: the recipe suggests lightly pan-frying the pasta before boiling it to bring out a nuttier, richer flavor to the soup.
Another pasta-based Mexican soup is sopa de conchitas. Conchitas means “small shell”, referring to the pasta shape (concha is the regular-sized shell pasta). It’s also a broth-based soup like the sopa de fideo.
Toppings suggestions for this soup include sour cream/crema, thin slices of avocado, some queso fresco, or simply a squeeze of lime.
Albóndigas is a Mexican broth-based soup with meatballs and veggies. Regardless of the chunky meatballs in this soup, albóndigas is a relatively light but healthy side and a good accompaniment to fish tacos.
Although albóndigas is made with potatoes and carrots, you can really use whatever vegetables you wish, such as zucchini or corn.
CHIPS AND DIPS
You can’t go wrong with having tortilla chips with dip as a side!
If you want to make your own tortilla chips but want to cut down on the oil, try this recipe. You’ll get the same crunchy, crispy texture without all that grease. And it takes less than 20 minutes!
Baking your tortilla chips also allows you to prepare other things at the same time, such as the accompanying dip. But which of the three recipes below will you choose?
Pico de gallo is insanely easy to make and only has five ingredients: tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice. Just chop everything up, squeeze lime juice and add salt and pepper, then mix.
For best results, cover it and put in the fridge for a day to allow the juices to blend together.
If you prefer a smoother dip, then how about some salsa? And forget the store bought stuff. It takes minutes to prepare, so why not make it yourself? Just rough chop your veggies, toss them in a blender along with your spices, then pulse until you’re satisfied with the texture.
We can’t have a section on chips and dip without guac! Whether you prefer them chunky or smooth, guacamole is the perfect partner for your chips and fish tacos. In fact, spoon a bit on top of the fish for a creamy, tangy bite!
TIP: This particular recipe strongly suggests to only use freshly squeezed lime juice, as the bottled stuff won’t work.
Mexican rice is a staple in any Mexican restaurant. It’s not surprising since it pairs so well with just about all Mexican dishes. Note that this recipe uses chicken stock as a healthier alternative to chicken bullion, which is more commonly used.
TIP: According to the recipe, to prevent the grains from sticking together, do not overmix the rice. Instead, when the rice is done, gently fluff it out with a fork.
Cilantro lime rice is a great side for fish tacos because it has a more subtle flavor and isn’t overpowering.
Choosing the right kind of rice will help avoid broken grains or stickiness. This recipe recommended using Basmati over long grain rice, as it was found that long grain rice tends to be wetter and mushier.
And I'll leave you with one of my favorite salsa recipes.
What To Serve With Fish Tacos (15 Perfect Sides)
- 4 Tomatillos
- 1 small-medium poblano pepper
- 1 jalapeno (to taste)
- 2 large cloves garlic (peeled)
- 1.5 tablespoon fresh lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
- ½ cup packed cilantro (large stems removed)
- ⅓ cup finely diced white onion (approximately ¼ large onion)
- Salt to taste (optional)
- Remove husks from tomatillos and cut lengthwise.
- Cut poblano away from core and into roughly four flat strips.
- Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place tomatillos cut-side down on hot skillet, and add poblano strips, whole jalapeno, and garlic to skillet. Allow to cook undisturbed until the tomatillos soften slightly and a nice char develops. Using tongs, flip ingredients over and allow all sides to develop some char. When complete, move skillet away from heat and allow it to cool down while you prepare remaining ingredients (onion, cilantro, lime juice).
- Remove jalapeno from skillet, chop in half, and add to food processor. Set aside remaining half (to add additional heat to taste)
- Add tomatillos and poblano to food processor.
- Pulse until mixture has a fine texture, but not totally smooth.
- Add lime juice and cilantro, and processor until cilantro is incorporated.
- Taste and add additional jalapeno for spiciness, additional lime juice, and/or salt.
- In serving or storage dish, combine poblano mixture from food processor with diced onion and mix with a spoon until onion is distributed throughout.
- yields about 3 cups of salsa
- remove jalapeno to make mild salsa, replace jalapeno with serrano pepper to make hotter salsa
- zero weight watchers points