Friday, September 28, 2012

Lettuce Wrap Fish Tacos Recipe with Spicy Cabbage Slaw and Avocado (Low-Carb,Gluten-Free)

These delicious Lettuce Wrap Fish Tacos were made with leftover grilled fish!

Lettuce Wrap Fish Tacos with Spicy Cabbage Slaw found on

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites.  These Lettuce Wrap Fish Tacos are something I'd enjoy any time of year, so when I cook fish on the grill I like to make extra so I can have these the next day!)

I'm not sure why it took me so long to think of using leftover grilled fish to make fish tacos, but a few days ago when I revisited the recipe for Grilled Halibut with Cumin and Lime, I realized how that cumin-and-lime-marinated halibut would work so perfectly in fish tacos.  The following day I experimented and came up with these Lettuce Wrap Fish Tacos that I thought were just a perfect lunch.  My brother Rand was at my house the day I made these (helping me with an exciting change in my life) and he loved the fish tacos just as much as I did.  If you don't have any leftover grilled fish, check the recipe for instructions on how to cook some fish just to make these tasty fish tacos.

I wanted to reheat the fish without drying it out, so I put it on a piece of foil and sprinkled about 1 tablespoon of water over the fish pieces.

Then wrap the fish tightly in foil and heat in a preheated 400F/200C oven for 10 minutes.  (If you don't have leftover fish, I would followed cooking directions for Spice Rubbed and Roasted Fish Filets, rubbing the fish with some olive oil and sprinkling with a little cumin and lime juice before you cook it.

Thinly slice and chop 1/4 head green cabbage and 1/8 head red cabbage.

Here's where I got distracted talking with my brother and forgot to take a photo of the spicy dressing/sauce that I made for the fish tacos!  I'll add that photo when I make this again, which will be soon.  Toss the chopped cabbage with a little chopped cilantro, some sliced green onions, and about half the dressing.

When the fish is reheated (or cooked, if you're cooking fish just for this), use two forks to shred it into bite-sized pieces.

Use the large, out leaves of a head of romaine lettuce, and fill each leaf with shredded fish.

On top of the shredded fish put some of the spicy cabbage slaw and top with sliced (or diced) avocado.  Serve with extra sauce to drizzle over top if desired.

Lettuce Wrap Fish Tacos with Spicy Cabbage Slaw and Avocado
(Makes 4 fish tacos; recipe created by Kalyn.)

(I made this with 2 pieces of leftover Grilled Halibut with Cumin and Lime; see fish cooking instructions if you don't have leftover fish.)

2 pieces leftover grilled fish or 2 fish filets
1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 T fresh lime juice
1 tsp. Green Tabasco Sauce (or other hot sauce)
generous pinch of ground cumin
1/4 head green cabbage (2 cups thinly sliced and chopped cabbage)
1/8 head red cabbage (1 cup thinly sliced and chopped cabbage)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional, but good if you like cilantro)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
4 large lettuce leaves such as Romaine, Iceberg, or Green Leaf lettuce
1 avocado, thinly sliced or chopped (optional)
additional lime wedges for serving (optional)
additional lime juice and ground cumin if needed to cook fish for this recipe

Fish Cooking Instructions:
(If you don't have leftover grilled fish, take fish out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you preheat the oven or toaster oven to 400F/200C.  Rub each piece of fish with olive oil, sprinkle with some fresh lime juice and a little ground cumin and roast about ten minutes, or until fish is firm but not hard to the touch.  See the cooking instructions for Spice Rubbed and Roasted Fish Filets for more about cooking roasted fish.)

Take leftover grilled fish out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while you preheat oven or toaster oven to 400F/200C.  Place fish filets on a piece of foil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon water, then wrap the fish in foil and heat in the oven for 10 minutes.

While fish re-heats (or cooks) whisk together Greek yogurt, mayo, buttermilk, lime juice, Green Tabasco, and cumin to make the dressing/sauce.  Thinly slice and chop the cabbage.  Chop cilantro and thinly slice green onions.  Put the shredded cabbage, cilantro, and green onion into a bowl and toss with about half the dressing/sauce, just enough that the cabbage slaw is moistened.  Put the rest of the dressing/sauce into a small bowl.

Take off four large outer lettuce leaves, trim the stem end, and wash/dry in salad spinner (or wash and dry with paper towels.)  Shred the hot fish apart using two forks so you have bite-sized pieces of fish.   Fill each lettuce leaf with fish, top with cabbage slaw and sliced avocados.  Serve with the extra dressing/sauce to drizzle over fish tacos and lime wedges to squeeze over as desired.

If you're only eating part of this, I would keep the dressing/sauce and chopped cabbage mixture separate and combine it right before using.   You could also wash and chop the lettuce and combine these same ingredients to make a delicious salad.

South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe is loaded with healthful low-glycemic ingredients, making it a great choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet.  For phase 2 or 3, you could skip the lettuce and make fish tacos using small whole wheat flour tortillas.  (Don't use corn tortillas if you're making this for the South Beach Diet.)

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Fish Taco or Lettuce Wrap Ideas You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Asian Lettuce Wraps with Pork, Napa Cabbage, and Red Bell Pepper from Kalyn's Kitchen

Thai-Inspired Turkey Mini-Meatball Lettuce Wraps from Kalyn's Kitchen

Asian Lettuce Cups (or wraps) with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling from Kalyn's Kitchen

Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos with Chiles, Cumin, Cilantro, Lime, and Tomato-Avocado Salsa from Kalyn's Kitchen

Chicken Lettuce Wraps by Rand from Kalyn's Kitchen

Paleo Fish Tacos from Cosmopolitan Primal Girl

Asian Lettuce Wraps from Recipe Girl

Broiled Grouper Lettuce Wraps from Bread + Butter

Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps from We Are Not Martha

Roasted Halibut Tacos with Mango Salsa from The Perfect Pantry

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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  1. As well as being such a healthy and nutritious meal this is so darn pretty!

  2. This sounds really tasty Kalyn. I am a huge fan of fish tacos and haven't thought to serve them in lettuce wraps. I know how I'm serving my fish tacos next time :)

  3. Mary, the big Romaine leaves were great for this!

  4. This is my idea of a perfect summer dinner. I love fish and so we rarely have leftovers but the idea of a fish taco salad is perfect.

  5. I can't WAIT to try this! I'm going to make it with pangasius which flakes pretty easily. Thanks once again for your great recipes =)

  6. This sauce sounds so good I'm going to use it with the dungeness crab I have leftover. Thanks for the idea!!

  7. I've been doing a lot with lettuce wraps lately - they are so versatile! Perfect for fish tacos :)

  8. Yum those look delicious! Beautiful photos :)

  9. So glad that this sounds appealing to so many of you. Love hearing the different types of fish people are going to try. My brother and I devoured them pretty quickly when I made the ones in the photos.

  10. Looks Delicious! I will make these tomorrow...we usually have fish on Mondays - and I have beautiful Romaine lettuce from the Farmers Market Saturday.

  11. My kids love fish tacos, although they usually wrap their fish in corn tortillas. We'll have to try your grilled fish recipe, sounds so good!

  12. Leftover fish NEVER tastes as good the next day...except in fish tacos, I'm sure! These look delicious!

  13. What a delicious idea. Sometimes I go to Costco and get the big pieces of salmon to grill whole, and then I have the leftovers for salads. This is another great way to use leftovers!

  14. Gorgeous dish, Kalyn. Many times I've had leftover fish and never thought of fish tacos. I sure will next time and I'm really looking forward to them. Great recipe--thanks!


  15. This is a perfect healthy summer meal! I can't wait to try it :)

  16. What a great idea.....this has my name all over it. :)

  17. I have been suffering with hypoglycemia for a number of years and to keep this under control I am constantly looking for more interesting suitable recipes to alleviate the boredom of everyday food. I have found a really good supply here and can't wait to try them out!

  18. These look so fresh and summer-y! And, healthy, too!


  19. My daughter said that it looks yummy.
    She is my best food critic and gives me great feedback on all the recipes I cook.

  20. Thanks everyone! I'm posting most of these comments with my iPhone, so that's why I'm not responding that often but I'm enjoying reading them.

  21. I have a bag of cabbage just starring at me in my fridge! Thanks for the recipe!

  22. Anything with avocado...and fish. This has some of my favourite things in there!

  23. Becky, hope you enjoy.

    Charissa, me too. Just say avocado and I'm interested!

  24. Perfect healthy summer dish...and avocado....yum!

  25. The part about to put it on a piece of foil was very helpfull. Because it's such a turn off when the fish is dry.

  26. Miri, it was my brother's idea to add the avocado, and what a good idea it was.

    Yes, I think warming the fish in foil really helped keep it moist.

  27. I kind of sorta lifted the dressing for the fish tacos I just made. I used 2 tbsp each fat-free yogurt (Brown Cow) and olive oil mayo (Kraft), half a lime, a few dashes of red Tabasco, a bit of minced garlic, and I sprinkled in cumin until I could just barely taste it. This is the first time I've really ever had Tabasco, and I LOVE it. The dressing was really good. The tacos would have been "meh" without it, but with the dressing, it was over the top. Your blog's really helped me to start learning how to cook and experiment. Thank you so much!

  28. That's great! I love hearing that my blog is helping people get more confident about cooking, and I think taking a good recipe idea and adapting it to what you like (or have on hand) is what good cooking is all about.

  29. Love this light fish taco recipe Kalyn - my kids usually eat them with corn tortillas, but I am going to try them on lettuce next time.

  30. Wow! That looks delicious. I will definitely have to try that soon. :)


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