Pecan and Coconut Crusted Tilapia over Tropical Rice

Before we left for Florida over the holidays, I tried to strategically plan our meals to use up every last bit of food of in the fridge. It’s always so sad having to throw out spoiled ingredients when you get back! We also scrubbed the fridge and rest of our apartment from top to bottom so we’d return to a nice clean house. In the process, I found a bunch of long lost treasures in the back of the freezer that I had forgotten about, including a few frozen tilapia fillets from Costco.

I decided to coat the fish with a mixture of ground pecans, coconut, and lime zest. The tilapia worked well, but any other white fish or even chicken would be lovely too. I served it over brown rice mixed with fresh pineapple, mango, cilantro and lime juice. I think pineapple must be in season now, because it was so sweet and juicy and only $2! I was also planning to make a sauce with coconut milk but I somehow missed we were out – oops. I may try this next time, although it was still really tasty without it. I know Apolinaras was a big fan of this too because he texted me the next day to claim the leftovers!

Pecan and Coconut Crusted Tilapia over Tropical Rice
Printable Recipe


1 cup whole pecans
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
Zest of one lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tilapia fillets
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon canola oil

4 cups cooked brown rice
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped pineapple
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350˚F. Place pecans, coconut flakes, lime zest, and salt in a food processor and pulse until crumbs form; place in a shallow pan. Put the flour in a shallow dish and lightly dredge both sides of the tilapia in the flour. Place the beaten eggs in another shallow dish and dredge both sides of the flour coated tilapia in the egg mixture; place  tilapia fillets in the pecan crumb mixture and coat well on all sides.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon canola oil over medium high heat in a large nonstick pan and sear two pecan coated tilapia fillets on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Repeat with remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil and two tilapia fillets. Place seared tilapia fillets in a greased 13×9-inch baking dish and bake at 350˚F for 10 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Mix rice, mango, pineapple, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a large bowl. Serve tilapia over rice. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition: 677 calories, 35.0g fat, 7.7g fiber, 29.1g protein per serving
Cost: $3.79 per serving

30 Responses to Pecan and Coconut Crusted Tilapia over Tropical Rice

  1. What a beautiful, fruity dish! Such fresh flavors in the middle of winter :) I’m super impressed you were able to pull it together enough to clean out your fridge AND then clean it top to bottom before vacation… way to go!

  2. I am the same way! I love coming home to a clean house! Makes the stresses of the after vacation to do’s that much lighter. This dish is perfect. I know Josh would be a huge fan (as he loves all of the tropical flavors).

  3. Going through the cupboards and planning meals around what we already have is on my to-do list for next week. We’ve been spending way too much on groceries lately and I’m hoping I’ve at least stockpiled some stuff.
    Nut crusted proteins are always fantastic! :)

  4. Oh, I’m so all over this recipe. And I can even make it with things I have in the house. Thanks, K! You just made my night (well, tomorrow night…tonight was risotto cakes made with leftovers).

  5. I tried this last night for a bunch of friends who came over for dinner. Success!!! The tilapia turned out PERFECTLY and the coconut brought out such an interesting, delicious flavour. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. I’ve done nut encrusted chicken but you’ve inspired me to try it on fish. I really am trying to incorporate more fish into my diet so I’m looking for new ways to do it!

  7. I’ve never had a tropical rice before but it sounds delicious! You are so organized to use up all your food and CLEAN before leaving town!! We usually forget about things in the fridge and have that “uh oh” moment when we get home!

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