So often barbecues and cookouts are considered unhealthy, but that’s mainly because we tend to choose fatty meats, burgers, and hot dogs for our main dishes. Chicken is always an option but basic chicken breasts can be boring, and let’s face it, everyone wants a little excitement when grilling.
If you want something healthy, flavorful, and fun for your next barbecue, turn to the sea. Many varieties of fish are perfect for the grill, standing up to the high heat and pairing perfectly with all of your favorite summer sides, plus they provide nutrients and good fats you won’t get in a piece of steak.
When choosing a fish for the grill skip the light and flaky ones, like sole and trout, and opt for the meaty versions below. These healthy grilled fish recipes are perfect anytime the weather cooperates.
The Italian version of salsa verde is loaded with flavor-packed ingredients like parsley, anchovies, capers, and lemon juice. It goes with any grilled fish but meaty mahi-mahi is a great option that won’t fall apart easily on the grill.
Get our recipe for Grilled Mahi Mahi With Salsa Verde.
A spicy roasted red pepper sauce is also perfect for mahi-mahi in this easy, healthy grill recipe. If you don’t have the time to make the sauce, simply buy your favorite harissa sauce.
Get our recipe for Grilled Mahi Mahi With Red Pepper Sauce.
Salmon is one of the most forgiving types of fish to grill since it’s loaded with good-for-you fat, which means it won’t stick easily. A simple ginger and soy spiked butter with fresh chives will perk up the flavor of the fish.
Get our recipe for Grilled Salmon with Ginger Soy Butter.
A quick marinade spiked with lime juice, garlic, and spices perks up neutral—and affordable—tilapia. The star of this dish is the cooling sour cream slaw with creamy avocado and tangy mango. The final touch is a light char on the tortillas.
Get Ambitious Kitchen’s recipe for Grilled Chili-Lime Fish Tacos.
Swordfish is the steak of seafood since it stands up to grilling very well. Caponata, Sicily’s answer to ratatouille, as the recipe states, is the perfect salty/sweet complement to the mild meatiness of the fish.
Get our recipe for Grilled Swordfish with Caponata.
This light glaze of sweet honey and tangy mustard is the perfect 3-minute sauce for grilled salmon. It is also great on shrimp, scallops, and chicken!
Get our recipe for Honey Mustard-Glazed Grilled Salmon.
If you’ve only had calamari served fried as an appetizer, you are missing out on one of the healthiest and easiest fish to grill. A quick sear on a hot pan is the trick for keeping this notoriously tough fish tender and delicious. Chili sauce, basil, and peanut add a Thai spin to this flavorful—and unexpected—appetizer.
Get our recipe for Spicy Grilled Calamari Salad.
The bright and sunny summer recipe celebrates all the best of the season. Crunchy sweet grilled corn, juicy peaches, fresh tomatoes, and mixed greens make a perfect bed for the marinated salmon.
Get Eating Bird Food’s recipe for Grilled Salmon Salad with Peaches and Corn.
If you’re looking for a fish that will pass for a perfectly rare rib-eye, tuna is your best bet. Sear the fish but leave the inside red for the best flavor. The best part is this fish takes mere minutes on the grill. As far as grilled fish recipes go, this one is the simplest of all.
Get A Couple Cooks’ recipe for Best-Ever Grilled Tuna Steak.
True tuna is an expensive fish, but if you have some irregular steaks that aren’t ready for the grill, the best thing to do is to make them into burgers! Chill the fish before grinding in a food processor and tossing it on the grill so that everything stays together.
Get our recipe for Asian-Inspired Tuna Burger with Wasabi Mayo.
As they say in A Couple Cooks blog, cod is the perfect “starter fish” because it is mild while also being meaty. Their homemade blackening seasoning is perfect for cod. The trick to grilling cod correctly is to not turn it too soon. They suggest waiting until the fish releases from the grill, then it is ready for a flip.
Get A Couple Cooks’ recipe for Perfectly Grilled Cod.
Pesto and swordfish are a match made in heaven. Take 30 minutes to marinate the fish in your favorite store-bought pesto to infuse it with bright flavor. Juicy blistered tomatoes sauteed with garlic add a bright pop to this deceptively easy dish.
Get our recipe for Healthy Pesto-Topped Grilled Swordfish Steak.
The trick to grilling delicate scallops is a clean, hot, well-greased grill. The sweet and tangy tomatillo-plum salsa adds the perfect counterpoint to meaty scallops and is packed with nutrients.
Get Running to the Kitchen’s recipe for Grilled Scallops with Tomatillo Plum Salsa.
Another great way to grill seafood is to thread it on skewers. The kabobs help you turn the fish so that all sides have lovely grill marks and the fish gets evenly cooked. This recipe has Thai-inspired ingredients packed with flavor instead of fat.
Get Inquiring Chef’s recipe for Turmeric Fish Skewers.
If your salmon isn’t exactly grill-ready, make it into burgers! To make the perfect burger either blend some of the salmon up in the food processor as a binder or quickly pulse all of the salmon to leave the burgers with delicious texture. The mayo-based sauce is packed with different herbs and brightened up with lemon. Make extra because this sauce will taste good on everything.
Get Inquiring Chef’s recipe for Salmon Burgers with Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce.
True halibut can be expensive, but you were going to spring for a big steak, right? This is another grilled fish that requires minimal accouterments to be perfect. Cook at medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes or until the fish starts to release from the grates and then finish for 3 minutes on the other side. A quick spritz of lemon and smoked sea salt is all you need, but another delicate sauce like truffle aioli or that salmon burger’s lemon-herb sauce would work.
Get A Couple Cooks’ recipe for Grilled Halibut.
Chermoula is a traditional North African condiment typically made with fresh herbs, lemon juice, and various spices. It adds phenomenal flavor to lightly sauteed chickpeas and is the perfect healthy complement to simple grilled salmon.
Get our recipe for Grilled Salmon with Chermoula Chickpeas.
Now that you have a bunch of foolproof healthy grilled fish recipes in your back pocket there’s no excuse for grilling boring burgers or hot dogs ever again. Try one of these flavorful options this weekend!