Chili lime tilapia with black beans and rice

This is one of my “well stocked pantry” meals. I always have the basics on hand and it comes together quickly. Fish is in the freezer. Rice is in the pantry. Beans are somewhere (I usually cook and freeze my own in can sized portioned bags but sometimes buy salt free beans).

Customize as you like with add-ons. The star here is the fresh garlic oil. It brings all base the parts together. To make it you MUST use freshly pressed garlic in a garlic press. Hand chopped or pre-chopped garlic won’t work. Four cloves pressed into 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. The juice that the garlic releases when pressed into the oil gives it the vibrant fresh garlic flavor. Pre-chopped garlic has no juice (or much flavor) and chopped garlic leaves the juice behind on the board. If you don’t have a garlic press do yourself this great gift and buy one NOW.

Cleaning tip: after you press your garlic put the tool in water and the bits will swell making it easy to peel out and rinse away for storing.

The “extras” here are what makes the flavors meld and come alive!

Base is the fish , beans and rice. Then the extras as your taste and calorie budget allow.

Base per serving:

  • 3-5 oz white fish of your choice (I keep frozen tilapia on hand but use fish like snapper and flounder when available) cooked with Fiesta style seasoning blend. Mrs. Dash or Trader Joe’s are the ones I keep on hand. I use the air fryer but pan sear or baking is a great option.
  • cooked white or brown rice
  • 1/2 c. or more cooked or canned black beans
  • garlic oil to taste


  • green onion, sliced into thin rounds
  • avocado slices
  • fresh lime wedges
  • hot sauce
  • corn
  • salsa
    Assemble your fish, beans and rice then drizzle over garlic oil to taste. Then top with any garnishes you like. It’s delicious without them but toppings are fun!