This Spicy Tilapia recipe with Pasta is made with just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients and can be on the table in just 30 minutes. Need we say more? An easy dinner recipe that makes weeknight cooking easy (and delicious) is always a win!
Weeknight dinners are always rushed. Anyone else feel my pain?
I'm always looking for an easy meal that is tasty, comes together quickly and the whole family will eat on busy weeknights. That's why I love this Spicy Tilapia with Pasta. It's my go-to when time is tight, and I want something delicious and healthy for dinner.
This Spicy Tilapia with Pasta is so flavorful even non-fish eaters devour it. Plus tilapia is a great source of protein and a delicious way to incorporate more fish into your diet. Make an arugula salad to serve with it and dinner is done.
Why you'll love this Spicy Tilapia recipe
✔︎ It's affordable! Tilapia is readily available at the grocery store (fresh and frozen) and won't break the bank making this a fabulous option for a weeknight meal.
✔︎ It's fast! From prep to table in just 30 minutes, this spicy tilapia is a great weeknight meal choice that comes together quickly and is packed with flavor.
✔︎ It's easy to customize. Don't stress if you have a non-fish eater as this pasta tastes great without the fish, too. Want to add even more color and nutrition? Stir in a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach leaves when you add the fish.
You only need a handful of ingredients for this spicy fish recipe.
Tilapia: Fresh or frozen tilapia fillets can be used for this recipe.
Crushed red pepper: It is essential for this recipe (it wouldn't be spicy tilapia without it!). Start with ½ teaspoon and add more based on how spicy you like your food.
Tomatoes: This recipe uses both diced tomatoes and San Marzano tomatoes. The San Marzano tomatoes add great flavor to this dish and are worth the few extra dollars.
White wine: The white wine adds depth to the flavor of the sauce. If you avoid alcohol or don't have any on hand, you can substitute chicken broth in its place.
Basil: Fresh is best but dried basil can be used in a pinch. It won't have the same punch of flavor but will still be delicious.
This fish dish is ready to eat in less than 30 minutes.
1. Place fish in a glass bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper and toss to coat. Refrigerate while making sauce.
2. Heat olive oil in large dutch oven and add shallots, garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook until shallots are softened.
3. Add wine and reduce the liquid by half.
5. Add tilapia chunks and cook for 3-5 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Toss with cooked pasta, garnish with remaining basil and serve.
4. Add tomatoes, water, and half of basil to pan. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until sauce is reduced and slightly thick.
Yes! Fish is an excellent source of lean protein. Although tilapia has fewer omega-3s than salmon, it has more heart-healthy nutrients than ground beef, chicken, steak and pork, making it a great choice for healthy eating.
An easy fix for tilapia that smells fishy is to soak it in milk for 20 minutes and then rinse it before seasoning. The casein in milk will bind to the fishy smell and when rinsed takes the fishy smell and taste away.
Tilapia is considered done when it reaches a temperature of 145°F. Cooking it in the hot sauce speeds up the process which is why it only takes 3-5 minutes to cook through.
Expert Tips for the best Spicy Tilapia
✘ I love the frozen tilapia filets from Costco and keep them on hand just for this recipe. Fresh tilapia also works great!
✘ Use tilapia that is firm, smells fresh, and springs back when pressed on. If you don't have any tilapia, use a firm white fish in its place. Cod, halibut, or Mahi Mahi are great choices.
✘ Splurge and buy the San Marzano tomatoes. The rich tomato flavor they add to the dish is worth it. When a recipe has a short ingredient list, use the best possible.
✘ Bucatini pasta is my favorite noodle to use with this dish. Bucatini is a thick spaghetti noodle with a hole in it that holds the sauce really well. Don't have any on hand? You can easily use linguine or spaghetti noodles.
More Great Recipes
Quick and easy dinner recipes are always a hit! Try these Baja Fish Tacos or some of our other weeknight favorites.
Did you make this recipe? We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please rate the recipe and leave a comment below. Your feedback helps us and your fellow readers!
Spicy Tilapia Recipe
- 1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into small chunks
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
- ½-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
- 1 shallot, diced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup water
- 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 28 ounces canned San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil, divided
- 10 ounces bucatini pasta, cooked al dente
- Salt to taste
- Place the tilapia, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and ¼-½ teaspoon red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate while making the sauce.1 pound tilapia fillets,, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil,, ½-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes,, 2 teaspoons minced garlic,
- In a large dutch oven, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped shallot, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and ¼-½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on the amount of spice you want) and cook, stirring, until the shallot and garlic soften.2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil,, 2 teaspoons minced garlic,, ½-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes,, 1 shallot,
- Add the wine and simmer for about 3 minutes (or until liquid is reduced by half)½ cup dry white wine
- Next, add the diced tomatoes, crushed San Marzano tomatoes, ¼ cup basil and ½ cup water. Stir until combined and bring mixture to a boil. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.½ cup water, 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes, 28 ounces canned San Marzano tomatoes,, ½ cup chopped fresh basil,
- Add the tilapia to the dutch oven with the tomato sauce and simmer, stirring gently, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt.Salt to taste
- Add the cooked pasta and ¼ cup basil to pan and toss to coat. Divide among bowls and top with more basil. Serve with additional crushed red pepper, if desired.10 ounces bucatini pasta,, ½ cup chopped fresh basil,
- You can use fresh or frozen tilapia in this recipe. Choose fish that is firm, smells fresh, and springs back when pressed on. If you don't have any tilapia, use a firm white fish in its place. Cod, halibut, or mahi mahi are great choices.
- Does your tilapia smell "fishy"? An easy fix for tilapia that smells fishy is to soak it in milk for 20 minutes and then rinse it before seasoning. The casein in milk will bind to the fishy smell and when rinsed takes the fishy smell and taste away.
- Crushed red pepper is essential for this recipe. Start with ½ teaspoon and add more based on how spicy you like your food.
- San Marzano tomatoes add great flavor to this dish and are worth the few extra dollars.
- White wine adds depth to the flavor of the sauce. If you avoid alcohol or don't have any on hand, you can substitute chicken broth in its place.
- Fresh basil is best but dried basil can be used in a pinch. It won't have the same punch of flavor but will still be delicious.
- Bucatini pasta is my favorite noodle to use with this dish. Bucatini is a thick spaghetti noodle with a hole in it that holds the sauce really well. Don't have any on hand? You can easily use linguine or spaghetti noodles.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.
Rate the Recipe, Leave a Comment or Share a Tip!