Looking for a healthier grilled dinner this summer? This simple grilled tilapia topped with a sweet mojito salsa is perfect for any backyard bbq.
Growing up in the Midwest, my summers were filled with grilled brats, pork chops, and chicken. The meatier, the better. Seafood was a thing reserved for fancy restaurants or my parents' annual Christmas Eve steamed shrimp. I almost never remember it being served on a random weeknight.
Handyman Tim and I spent the first two years of our marriage living in Rhode Island where this cow-loving girl learned to finally appreciate fish. Over the years, we've slowly worked our way into making fish on a more consistent rotation and I love to experiment with new methods. Last summer, we perfected grilled fish on cedar planks and it has become a whole family favorite.
The Peanut reacts to the news we're having grilled fish for dinner as though I've told her we just won the lottery. The first question out of her mouth is always: "Wait, it's the fresh stuff, right?? Not the frozen?" Future food snob anyone??!
This year, I wanted to take our favorited grilled fish one step farther. I decided to make a homemade mojito style salsa to use as a topping and for the salsa-obsessed kids to enjoy as a side dish with chips.
The mojito salsa starts with a base of roasted yellow tomatoes I found at the farmer's market. Pureed lime wedges, lime zest and fresh mint are sweetened with single packet of SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener and then mixed with garlic and jalapeno for a kick.
The salsa is tangy and refreshing with just a mild level of spice. It turns out a gorgeous yellow color with flecks of charred tomato from the roasting process. Adding just that touch of sweetness with the SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener helps to tone down the acidity of the tomatoes and lime juices.
To make the fish, we soak wood cedar planks in water for 3-4 hours. We lay the fish out in a single layer on the planks and brush the tops with just a touch of olive oil. I used a heavy sprinkle of a spicy Mexican inspired seasoning blend that has cumin, pepper, onion, oregano, and cayenne in it. You could use whatever fish rub seasoning you love the best. Honestly, the spicier the better because the sweet mojito salsa will be the perfect complement to the heat.
Tim grilled the fish until slightly charred around the edges and flaky to the touch. Time will depend on the thickness of your fish fillets.
For the adults, we served the grilled fish with mojito salsa alongside a batch of cilantro lime rice (jasmine rice with minced cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice!) For the kids, we let them enjoy the chips and salsa with the fish on it's own. Because SEPARATE, Do NOT let things touch, Mom!
The mojito salsa would be an amazing side dish to bring to your next potluck party. If you're the hostess, pairing it with grilled fish for your main entree makes for an awesome and unique BBQ party meal.
For more information about the sweetener we used, check out SPLENDA® Naturals here. They have more great recipe ideas and you can grab a coupon to try it them out for yourself.
- 3 large yellow tomatoes, halved
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tsp chopped shallot
- 3 medium limes
- 1 packet SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener OR 1 tsp of sugar
- 12 fresh mint leaves
- 1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced
- Place the tomato halves cut side down on a broiler-safe cooking pan. Brush olive oil over the tops of the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Broil for 2 minutes and then turn the tomatoes cut side up. Brush with a little more olive oil and salt & pepper. Broil for an additional 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn, it happens quickly. Remove pan from broiler and set tomatoes aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, zest the limes. Then, using a paring knife, carefully peel away the outer peel of each lime and cut into wedges. Puree the lime wedges with the SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener or sugar, mint, and a sprinkle of salt in a food processor until smooth. Scrape the puree into a medium-sized bowl.
- Pulse the cooled tomatoes in the food processor until a chunky salsa texture is achieved. Add the tomatoes to the lime puree. Add remaining garlic and chopped shallot to the mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt to taste.
- Refrigerate the salsa for at least one hour before serving.
- Makes excellent topping for grilled fish or alongside tortilla chips.