Can you Eat Raw Tilapia [Different Recipes To Try]

Many people all over the world enjoy eating raw fish of many varieties.

You can enjoy raw fish that is freshly caught, bought from a market where it has been kept clean and cold, or even frozen and thawed.

While the most popular kinds of fish that people eat raw are salmon, tuna, and yellowtail, you can enjoy tilapia raw as well. 

As long as the tilapia is of good quality and has been handled properly, it is good to eat raw. It has a mild, almost sweet taste, so you can use it as a substitute for red snapper. You can use raw tilapia to make meals from all around the world like sushi, a poke bowl, ceviche, and carpaccio.

This simple light-tasting freshwater fish is an easy component to add to your dinner rotation.

Continue reading for a world tour of tilapia recipes and ideas on how to make this inexpensive fish part of your mealtime adventures.

Tilapia Facts

Tilapia is a common name for various species of cichlids. They live in shallow freshwater in warm climates.

Consumers eat so much tilapia that it ranks high in the top 10 kinds of seafood in the U.S. In many parts of the U.S. people must purchase frozen filets to add tilapia to their diet because fresh filets are not available.

A 3 ½ ounce tilapia filet has 26 grams of protein, in a relatively small 126 calories. One serving of tilapia has 78% of your recommended daily amount of selenium, 31% of the RDI for vitamin B12, and 20% of potassium. Just one little filet packs a nutritional punch.

Tilapia is an excellent choice for anyone, including pregnant people.

Some people express concern over the amount of omega-6 fatty acids in tilapia. However, you may be more familiar with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial because they lower inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Nutritionists report that Omega-6 fatty acids may be harmful in high quantities.

Therein lies the confusion about omega-6. When you eat Omega-6s in high amounts through processed foods, they can be harmful.

However, when you eat healthy food, like tilapia or other fish, the two fatty acids work together to benefit your health.

Raw Tilapia

Risks Of Eating Raw Tilapia

The dangers of eating raw fish are almost always due to it being mishandled and infected with salmonella or other bacteria.

If you have caught the fish yourself, be sure to clean and store it properly before eating it. 

If you doubt whether your fish was stored properly, you should cook it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees and save the raw dishes for another time.

Raw Frozen Tilapia

You may be interested in trying new tilapia recipes, but you only have access to individually frozen filets.

That’s no problem for raw tilapia recipes. Simply thaw out the portions you need and try something new.

Recipes For Raw Tilapia

Raw Tilapia

Whether you are starting with freshly caught tilapia or thawed frozen tilapia, you can create a delicious assortment of dishes to complement your regular routine.

Tilapia Ceviche

Ceviche is a raw fish marinated in citrus juices. You can mix up the recipe by adding different fruit or vegetables to the mix.

Serve it as an appetizer as a light and bright start to a summertime meal or top tostada shells with it for a main course.

Mexican Mango Ceviche

Cut 2 pounds of tilapia into bite-sized cubes and place them in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover the fish with the juice from 4 limes and half an orange.

Then add one chopped jalapeno (keep the seeds for a spicier taste and remove them for a milder flavor) and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour and a half. 

Chop 5 green onions, then take two mangoes and chop them into small pieces. Add the onion and mango to the fish mixture and return to the refrigerator for 10 minutes. 

While it chills, chop and seed 3 Roma tomatoes, 2 avocados, and ½ cup of fresh cilantro.

Remove the mixture from the fridge, gently mix in the tomatoes and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on tostada shells or corn tortillas and top with fresh avocado.

Peruvian Ceviche

This traditional dish combines grilled sweet potatoes and corn with the citrus marinade of the fish.

As a Peruvian dish, it also calls for a Peruvian pepper, the aji amarillo, which looks like a giant yellow-orange jalapeno but has a bit of a fruity flavor along with the heat.

If you can’t find an aji Amarillo, you can substitute a habanero, but it will be much hotter than an aji.

Slice one red onion into thin strips, then soak the onion slices in chilled water until ready to serve. Place 1 ½ pounds of cubed tilapia in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover with ¼ cup of lemon juice and ¼ cup of lime juice.

In a mortar and pestle, grind 1 aji Amarillo, seeded and diced, 1 clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, and 2 teaspoons of finely chopped cilantro leaves into a paste, then add it to the bowl of fish and citrus juice. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Cut one large sweet potato into in ¼ inch slices, and cut 2 ears on corn in half. Brush the sweet potato and corn with olive oil and grill for 10 minutes. 

Peruvian Ceviche

Use leaves from a head of butter lettuce to make lettuce cups. Fill each with a scoop of ceviche, and top with a few slices of soaked red onion, salt, and pepper. Serve with grilled corn on the cob and some portions of sweet potato.

Hawaiian Tilapia Poke Bowl

If you haven’t had a poke bowl yet, you need to give this dish a try. It is essentially rice, salad, and protein topped with unique sauces that range from savory to spicy.

You can find some of the specialty ingredients at most Asian grocers or order them online.

You will need Sriracha hot sauce, wasabi paste, and Furikake for a garnish. Furikake is a blend of sesame seeds and seaweed that adds a unique flavor to your rice dishes.

Start by cooking rice for the base of the dish. The best option is short-grain sushi rice, but you can substitute brown rice or white rice if needed.

Next, make your sauces for the poke bowl. First, create a spicy mayo by combining 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of Sriracha hot sauce.

Set this aside in the refrigerator for topping the bowl when you are ready to serve.

Make a sesame-soy sauce marinade by combining 3 tablespoons good quality soy sauce, 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon ginger powder, and ¼ teaspoon of wasabi paste. 

Marinate 2 cups of cubed raw tilapia in the sesame soy sauce while you prepare the other ingredients for the poke bowl.

Prepare the vegetables you want in the poke bowl. You can add or substitute ingredients to suit your own taste, but try this for a good starting point. 2 cups of shredded green leaf lettuce, 1 cucumber sliced and seeded, 1 mango peeled and cubed, and one avocado cubed. 

After marinating for 10 minutes, and when the other ingredients are ready, assemble the bowl.

Start with rice on the bottom, veggies next, and fish on the top. Add a drizzle of spicy mayo and sprinkle with furikake, toasted sesame seeds, and chopped green onion.

Tilapia Carpaccio (Italian)

We are traveling all around the world with flavors for tilapia. This Italian recipe will bring a completely different flavor profile to your raw tilapia “cook” book. 

Carpaccio is a great dish to use with frozen filets because it features very thin slices of raw fish. 

You can slice thinner slices from a frozen filet. Take the tilapia from the freezer and let it begin to thaw.

As soon as you can cut through it easily, make slices from the filets as thin as you can cut them.

Then lay the slices out on a tray or plate in a single layer and squeeze lemon juice over them. Cover and set aside. 

Next, you will make a vinaigrette to drizzle over the slices. In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.

Then cook 3 slices of fresh ginger, 1 garlic clove, sliced, one sprig of rosemary, and ¼ a vanilla bean for about 5 minutes keeping the temperature low so that the ginger and garlic do not brown.

Remove from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the sliced tilapia on a serving platter. Top it with freshly grated parmesan and serve with sliced of toasted bread.

Final Thoughts

Any of these amazing options work with frozen or fresh tilapia. If you have fresh fish, be sure it has been handled safely to prevent any food-borne illnesses.

Italian tilapia carpaccio

Tilapia’s mild, slightly sweet taste makes it a versatile and delightful addition to your fish recipe repertoire.

In fact, you can tour the world with the variety of flavors profiles that work with tilapia. Try a Hawaiian-style poke bowl, Mexican or Peruvian ceviche, or an Italian tilapia carpaccio.

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