fish taco salad | dash of butter

Healthy and Spicy Fish Taco Salad, and how I became an official gymnastics mom on the weekend.


fish taco salad | dash of butter

I have a couple of awesome kids. I’m sure every mom thinks that, it is after all, part of our job description. But, mine make me extra proud. Logan is my kid who has an interest in just about everything. In his 8 short years of life, he has tried so many activities, and if it were up to him, he would do it all. He is an amazing big brother, and has a outgoing personality that is going to take him far.

Madelyn, however, is my focused child. She has very few interests, but she gives her all to those things she enjoys doing most.

Over the weekend, my determined, driven, focused 5 1/2 year old made it on to the pre-competitive gymnastics team for the fall. It certainly didn’t come easy and wasn’t an overnight success for her. She decided a year ago that this is what she wanted (she has been going to gymnastics since she was 18 months old) and she worked long and hard to build up the strength and skills to do it. We’re all ridiculously proud of her, and excited to see where she will take this.

Pre-Competitive Gymnatics Kid | Dash of Butter
Madelyn proudly holding her acceptance letter!!

She also loves salads of pretty much any kind. They’re one of her favourite meals, and given she doesn’t like much meat or sandwiches, I predict a lot of salads going in her lunches in the fall when she will be at school all day.

We love fish tacos around here. The takeout version that Dave and I really like is a deep-fried, dripping with a spicy mayo and not sporting a lot of natural colour, but definitely delicious, it’s not something I will be making at home. I wanted a more healthy meal, so I took the elements of a fish taco and turned a family favourite into a salad.

fish taco salad | dash of butter

And, it got thumbs up all around – even from Logan, who tells me often that he’s “not a salad kind of guy, mom” (He’s full of it though, I’ve made plenty of salads that he inhales)

Marinating and then grilling the fish made it very flavourful without the calories of deep-frying it, and topping it all with a fresh salsa and homemade spicy avocado dressing really brought it home. Just about everyone cleaned their plates, including Logan’s bestie, who joined us for dinner.

I did do just a liiiiiittttttle teensy weensy bit of frying though. I sliced a plain tortilla into strips and fried it until golden, drained on a paper towel and sprinkled with salt to add a touch of crunch. It only took a minute, but added so much more to the salad than if I use store bought nacho chips instead.

fish taco salad | dash of butter

Both of my boys will eat veggies if they’re put in front of them, but they don’t actively seek them out. The idea of eating just a salad for dinner doesn’t seem hearty enough for my hungry crowd, so I also cooked some rice to go on the side. Dave ended up stirring it all together, and said it was amazing. There wasn’t a single complaint from anyone.

If you do a little prep work ahead of time (premake the dressing and marinade, cut all the veggies, etc), this would make a great meal to throw together on a busy night when you need something ready quick.

I consider fish taco salad an experimental success, and will be making it a lot more over the summer.

fish taco salad | dash of butter

Spicy Avocado Lime Dressing

  • 2 avocados
  • 2 limes, zest grated and juice
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1 jalapeno, cored and seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • handful of cilantro
  • hot sauce, a few splashes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, blend together the avocados, lime zest and juice, sour cream, jalapeno, hot sauce, cilantro and salt and pepper until very smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
Slowly add in the oil and blend for another minute.
Store covered in the fridge until ready to use.

spicy avocado lime dressing

spicy avocado lime dressing | dash of butter

Healthy and Spicy Fish Taco Salad

Yield: 4 meal sized salads


  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • Small bunch of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • Salad
  • 1 lb fish of choice (I used haddock)
  • 1 1/2 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped and washed
  • 1/4 red onion, finely sliced
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Frozen corn, heated
  • Tortilla, sliced into strips
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fresh salsa
  • Spicy Avocado Lime Dressing
  • Cooked Rice, if desired


  1. Place fish in glass container. In a small bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients, and pour over fish. Gently toss fish to cover both sides and put aside to marinate for 15 minutes. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. In large frying pan, add oil to 1/2" depth. Heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Working in batches, add a few tortilla strips at a time and fry until golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with a little salt.
  4. Place a piece of tin foil on to the grill and add fish. Cook about 4 minutes per side, or until flakes easily.
  5. On large plates or bowls, assemble your salad. Start with lettuce on bottom, add tomatoes and onions, then corn. Put a piece of fish on top with a dollop of fresh salsa, and drizzle with dressing. Add a few tortilla strips to the plate and if adding rice, put on the side.

Marinade recipe inspired by Bobby Flay.



  • Wanda
    June 4, 2014 1:35 pm

    Congratulations to Madelyn! I loved all things ice-skating at her age and I remember how thrilled I was to finally be big enough to join the skating club, she’s going to love being in gymnastics :)

    I’ve just started playing around with fish tacos (soft shell, I make my own tortillas) I’m definately trying your salad… love the strips of crispy fried tortilla touch. Thanks

    • Rhiannon
      June 5, 2014 10:48 am

      Thank you for your lovely comments, Wanda. I’ve never made my own tortillas before, but I’ve always wanted to :)

Leave a Reply