Tilapia, a relatively plentiful fish, has the unfortunate reputation of being dull, but this recipe for Chili-Rubbed Tilapia With Asparagus and Lemon proves that wrong. The spice rub, a popular barbecuing technique, works just as well indoors, on fish. Try it also on chicken breasts or lightly oiled shrimp.

Chili-Rubbed Tilapia With Asparagus and Lemon


  • 2 pounds organic asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 pound fish, tilapia, Pacific sole, or other firm white-fish fillet
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Put asparagus in a steamer basket, place in the pan, cover, and steam until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate, spreading out to cool.
  2. Combine chili powder, garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt on a plate. Dredge fillets in the spice mixture to coat. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish, and cook until just opaque in the center, gently turning halfway, 5 to 7 minutes total.
  3. Divide among 4 plates. Immediately add lemon juice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and asparagus to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the asparagus is coated and heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve the asparagus with the fish.

Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 3 mins

Cook Time: 13 mins

Total Time: 16 mins​

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 210

Total Fat: 10 g

Saturated Fat: 1 g

Cholesterol: 48 mg

Sodium: 418 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 8 g

Dietary Fiber: 4 g

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