Crispy, crunchy and savory baja fish tacos that are also healthy and gluten free? Yes! It IS possible to make lightened up, real food fried tacos that make for a perfect summer meal. In this recipe, we'll show you how it's done, complete with easy-to-make Avocado Crema sauce + Chipotle Coleslaw.
This post is sponsored by Organic Valley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.
I know tacos are great all year round… but isn't there just something extra special about some lightly fried, crispy fish tacos on a warm summer night? Particularly ones that are also healthy, nourishing and won't leave you feeling like you just ate a pound of grease?
Welcome to the wonderful world of organic ghee-fried, cornmeal-crusted, wild-caught fish tacos–complete with avocado crema and all topped with fresh and crunchy chipotle slaw.
It may sound fancy, but you'll be thrilled to know that this recipe actually takes surprisingly little time in the kitchen, even though there are a few steps to get the job done. Don't be scared…
Step 1: Make the chipotle slaw in advance
Step 2: Make the avocado crema sauce in advance
Step 3: Batter + fry the fish (which only takes about 10 minutes)
Walah – dinner, done! Told ya it was easy, right?
HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE BAJA FISH TACOS
Making a light and super crunchy batter is shockingly simple and uses only a few ingredients: an organic, pastured egg, organic cornmeal and seasoning (cayenne, paprika, salt + pepper).
Why cornmeal? Cornmeal is a staple in southern kitchens. It's a real food ingredient that is less processed than flour. Truly, you don't need refined flour to create the crispy texture we're after here.
It's important to ensure you buy organic cornmeal though, since corn is one of the most highly sprayed crops and is super likely to be GMO otherwise.
Once the fish is coated, I opted to fry it in ghee as opposed to oil for its health benefits and oh-so-yummy taste.
Unfamiliar with ghee? We've talked about it a lot on R+R (see this butter coffee post, for example), but if it's still foreign to you, now is the perfect time to broaden your horizons as ghee is a healthy fat that's an essential staple in real food cooking.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GHEE-FRIED FISH TACOS
Essentially, ghee is a shelf-stable clarified butter that's been long simmered to boost it's natural nutrient profile, bringing out even more buttery flavor, removing the lactose (amazing for anyone with intolerances) and increasing its smoke point (read: you can use ghee to fry foods at high heat).
Why do I love ghee? Let me count the ways:
- Ghee is rich in fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E & K. These nutrients play a role in everything from maintaining healthy vision and bones, to keeping our skin glowing, to balancing our hormones and metabolism. Not only is ghee filled with these vitamins, but healthy fats in turn help you better absorb these nutrients from your food as well. For people like me with IBS and Leaky Gut, it's likely that our bodies have a hard time absorbing these vitamins on their own, so adding some ghee into our diet every day is super helpful.
- It's lactose and casein free. If you're sensitive to dairy, it's more than likely that you won't react to ghee, as those elements get removed in the clarifying process.
- Ghee is anti-inflammatory and supports digestion. Ghee is packed with CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which has been shown in some studies to be effective in reducing body fat, preventing cancer formation, alleviating inflammation and even lowering blood pressure. It's also filled with butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that plays a central role in gut health and may help support healthy insulin levels and fighting off inflammation. (source)
- It has a high smoke point (485 degrees F) and doesn't burn as easily as butter (350 degrees F). This means that you can easily use ghee for baking, sautéing and roasting without the risk of destroying its important nutrients. Cooking fats above their smoke points not only means you'd be more likely to start a fire, but as far as health goes, that process causes oxidation, breaks down the fat's important phytonutrients, and forms harmful free radicals which cause disease. (And don't even get me started on unhealthy oils like vegetable, soybean, corn, grapeseed, sunflower, etc!)
- Ghee's flavor profile is simply delicious! I genuinely love the taste of enhanced taste of ghee; some call it a ‘toasted' or ‘nutty' butter. I like it on just about everything, and it has a strong creamy, rich flavor–so a little goes a long way.
For this recipe, I used Organic Valley's ghee that's always organic (of course), pasture-raised, non GMO and free from antibiotics, synthetic hormones and toxic pesticides.
Made in the USA, Organic Valley is a farmer-owned cooperative focused on sustainable agriculture methods.
Organic Valley's ghee not only has a pure taste, but it's also more reasonably priced than other brands–check it out on Thrive Market for just $10.99 for a 13 ounce jar or you can buy it on Amazon for that same low price.
Despite the fact that Organic Valley checks all the boxes when it comes to healthy, organic, pastured, and delicious, it's also available in most grocery stores (a rarity for a product of this quality), including Publix, Whole Foods, Sprouts, The Fresh Market and more!
HEALTHY BAJA FISH TACOS
Other health benefits of this baja fish taco recipe are that it's high in:
- Protein: Wild-caught white fish is an awesome, healthy source of lean protein that's also filled with Vitamin B6, which is known to help fight inflammation in the body.
- Healthy fats: Ghee, avocados and clean mayo (like my fave Primal Kitchen's Mayo made out of avocado oil – use the code ROOT10 for 10% off!) are all great sources of healthy fats rich in omega-3s, which help us reduce inflammation and balance blood sugar.
- Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K & Phosphorus: Cabbage is a nutritional powerhouse filled with all these nutrients, which support our digestion, immunity, detoxing abilities and more.
Finally, an important note on the fish: I always opt for wild-caught and sustainable fish, hands down. It's so much better for you and for the environment!
If you struggle with finding sustainable seafood at your grocery store, look no further than Wild Alaskan Company, an online retailer selling fresh, wild-caught, sustainably harvested Alaskan salmon and northwest Pacific seafood, like halibut, tuna, shrimp and lobster. Get $15 off your first order.
I also like U.S. Wellness Meats, who sells not just wild-caught seafood but also grass-fed beef, lamb and bison, free-range poultry, raw honey and more, all from small, family farms. Get 10% off your order with the code ROOT10!
Whether you're gluten-free or not, everyone is guaranteed to love these healthy, crunchy fried baja fish tacos!
If you try this Baja Fish Tacos Recipe, be sure to share a photo and tag me @rootandrevel on social media–I’d LOVE to see how it turned out for you!
Gluten Free Baja Fish Tacos with Avocado Crema + Chipotle Slaw
For the Slaw
For the Avocado Crema
For the Fish
- 1 large organic egg
- 1/2 cup organic cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon organic cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon organic paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 fillets wild-caught white fish, halved (I recommend cod, flounder or halibut)
- 2 tablespoons Organic Valley ghee
- 8 organic corn tortillas
- Garnish: fresh cilantro, lime juice
For the slaw
- In a large glass bowl, combine mayo, salt, sugar and vinegar. Whisk until combined. Add slaw, onion and jalapeno and toss to mix. Set aside.
For the avocado crema
- In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Pulse until smooth; season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
For the fish
- In a small glass bowl, beat the egg. In a shallow glass dish, combine cornmeal, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper; use a fork to mix well. Dip the fish into the egg mixture, shaking to remove excess. Thoroughly coat in the cornmeal mixture. Set aside and repeat until all the fish has been battered.
- In a large cast iron skillet, melt ghee over medium-high heat. Add battered fish and cook until crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat until all fish have been cooked; careful not to overcrowd the pan.
To assemble: heat your corn tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add a dollop of avocado crema and spread into a thin layer. Top with crispy fish and chipotle slaw. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve and enjoy!
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust.