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Monday, March 22, 2010

Tilapia with Spinach, Tomatoes & Northern Beans

My husband was out of town all week so I decided to make one of his favorite seafood recipes for him when he came home.  He loves my Tilapia with Spinach, Tomatoes & Northern Beans.  This recipe is really light, but full of flavor.  You can use another firm white fish as well such as bass if you would like.  The lightly breaded and fried fish is served over a bed of fresh cooked spinach and then a northern bean, tomato amd chicken broth sauce is ladled over the top.  Sprinkle the top with some fresh chopped basil, grated parmesan cheese and a wedge of lemon and it is ready to be served!  I also like to serve a hunk of fresh baked bread on the side because my husband loves to soak up all the extra juice!

  • 4 pieces of tilapia or bass
  • 1  1/2 cups italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 to 1 /2 cup olive oil or vegie oil for frying
  • 2 garlic cloves (divided)
  • 10 cups of fresh  baby spinach (can used the bag kind to save you time)
  • 3 TB. olive oil (divided)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes chopped
  • 1 can (12 oz.) northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 TB. bacon or pancetta chopped and then fried ( I omitted this for Lent, but this is a must flavor)
  • 14 oz. chicken broth
  • salt, pepper and crushed red pepper for taste
  • 1 TB. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 lemon cut into 4 wedges
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese

  1. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow large dish.  Dredge the fish on both sides in the breadcrumbs to cover each piece of fish lightly with the breadcrumbs.  Set aside.
  2. In another pan heat 2 TB. of olive oil.  Add the onion and one chopped garlic clove.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes or onions soften.
  3. Add northern beans, bacon and chicken broth.  Simmer for about 10  minutes. 
  4. About 5 minutes before serving add the chopped tomatoes and seasoning.  Stir and cook on low simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. In the meantime; heat the last tablespoon of olive oil in a pan.  And the last chopped garlic clove and the spinach.  Toss the spinach so the olive oil coats it.  Cook until slightly wilted stirring often; about 5 minutes.
  6. It is during this time that the sauce is cooking and the spinach is cooking for the five minutes that you can fry up your fish.
  7. Heat 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup oil in a large frying pan.  To make sure it is hot enough take a tiny bit of extra breadcrumbs and place in hot oil.  If it starts to fry right away then the oil is hot enough.
  8. Place fish in oil frying for only about 3 minutes or until golden on each side.  Make sure you flip you fish and fry on the other side as well.
  9. To plate:  place a large spoonful of spinach in the center of a large pasta bowl.  Place a piece of fish on top of the spinach.  Ladles some spoonfuls of the northern bean sauce over the fish.  Garnish with chopped basil, grated parmesan and a wedge of lemon.  Serve with a side of warm bread.


* Serves 4


  1. Hi Kara! Love your blog! This recipe sounds so good. We have many bags of Great Northern Beans and have been looking for something to do with them! Thanks and see you soon! Loria Hartman

  2. Outstanding!! I was looking for a white bean and tilapia recipe, since this was about all we had in the cupboard. I now will add this to my favorites. I made a few changes, including breaking the fish differently. I dip my dried fish in milk, then shake it in a bag of white flour, dip in the egg, then finally, dip in the bread crumbs. This locks the bread crumbs on like glue and makes for a great crunchy crust. I also added the spinach and lemon juice to the bean compote at the end. I hate clean up. And this eliminates 1 pot