When Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, became a pescatarian in 2013, his experiment seemed to usher in a series of history-making wins for the Panthers. Team nutritionists -- noting the concentration of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids -- looked for ways to put seafood on the table, during training and game season. Just like that, the entire team was introduced to the pescatarian diet -- a seafood-loving spin on vegetarianism. If football players can go pescatarian, so can you, and we’ve made it easy. Check out our top five easy-to-make pescatarian meals for pescatarian beginners.

Easy Pescatarian Meals for Beginners - Nutrition and Recipes

The pescatarian diet is a spin on the vegetarian diet in that pescatarians do not eat meat other than seafood, basing their diets on plants instead. (Some pescatarians do also eat dairy and eggs.) So, to shop for a pescatarian meal, the world is your oyster. Just pair veggies and grains with the creatures of the sea and you’re set for a delicious, nutritious meal.

What are the nutritional benefits of being a pescatarian?

Since the pescatarian diet is actually a version of vegetarianism, pescatarians by default consume more vegetables, and less animal fat, than their meat-eating counterparts. This means that, on average, pescatarians get more nutrients with fewer fat and calories than meat-eaters. Moreover, by consuming plenty of seafood, pescatarians get plenty of Omega-3’s, as well as protein, zinc, B12, and vitamin D. Seafood is a very versatile food, so pescatarians need not feel deprived of flavor in their search for health.

5 Easy Pescatarian Meals for Beginners

We've pulled together five easy pescatarian meals for beginners that explore delicious seafood flavors, yet are simple to prepare.

Tilapia Tacos
Salmon Cakes with Avocado Dip
Ceviche
Baked Salmon with Blueberries
Crab Soup

Tilapia Tacos*

*Note: If you like, you can make these tacos using fresh tuna instead of tilapia. Check out our recipes and tips on how to cook fresh tuna.

Equipment:
Medium saucepan
Small bowl

Ingredients:
1 fresh tilapia fillet
1 handful fresh cabbage, sliced into thin strips
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 large carrot, grated
½ avocado, diced
2 tortillas
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

For the tartar sauce:
1 Tbsp sweet relish
½ lime, juiced
4 Tbsp mayonnaise

Steps:

  1. Prepare the tilapia by rinsing it in cold water. Blot dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides of the tilapia with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Set aside.
  2. Add the olive oil to the saucepan and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the tilapia.
  3. Cook the tilapia over medium heat until it is white and flaky (about two minutes per side).
  4. While the fish is cooking, prepare the tartar sauce. In the small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, relish, and lime juice, with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. When the tilapia is finished cooking, remove it from the pan and set aside.
  6. Prepare the tortillas by sauteing them in olive oil until crispy (about one minute per side).
  7. Serve the tilapia with the tortillas and tartar sauce. Enjoy!

 


 

Salmon Cakes with Avocado Dip

Equipment:
Large bowl
Small bowl
Large plate
Large saucepan

Ingredients:
14 oz fresh salmon
1 egg
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream
1 small onion, minced
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 avocado
½ cup bread crumbs
3 Tbsp brown rice flour
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp black pepper, halved
1/4 tsp garlic salt

Steps:

  1. In the large bowl, combine the salmon, egg, cheese, onion, parsley, bread crumbs, and pepper. Stir your "dough" until evenly mixed.
  2. Section the "dough" into fourths. Shape each section into a circular patty.
  3. Dust each patty with brown rice flour. Place on the large plate and chill for 20 minutes.
  4. After the patties have chilled, place the butter and olive oil in the saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted.
  5. When the butter is melted, add the salmon patties. Cook over medium heat until brown on each side (about five minutes on each side).
  6. When the salmon cakes are finished, remove from heat.
  7. Make the avocado dip by mashing together the avocado, sour cream, seasonings, and lime juice in the small bowl.
  8. Serve the salmon cakes hot with a dollop of avocado sauce.

 


 

Ceviche*

*Note: If you want to serve your ceviche chilled, prepare this recipe the day before you want to serve it.

Equipment:
Large pot for boiling the shrimp
Large bowl
Martini glasses for serving

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups fresh shrimp
1 orange, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup cilantro
1 avocado
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup coconut water
1 ½ Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Sriracha

Steps:

  1. Peel and devein the shrimp. (Here's how.)
  2. Fill the pot halfway full with water and heat to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for one minute. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  3. In the bowl, combine the lime juice, coconut water, soy sauce, Sriracha, orange, and cilantro. This is your marinade.
  4. Add the shrimp to the marinade. If you want to chill the ceviche, refrigerate it for several hours. If you want to serve it warm, there's no need to wait!
  5. To serve ceviche, simply drain the excess liquid from the shrimp.
  6. Top with avocado and serve in a martini glass for extra flair.

 


 

Baked Salmon with Blueberries

Equipment:
Medium pot
Large baking dish

Ingredients:
10 ounce fresh salmon fillet
½ yellow onion, diced
1 cup white wine
1 ½ Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup blueberries
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp honey
4 cups mixed greens

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Sprinkle the salmon with salt. Set aside.
  3. In the pot, combine the white wine, onion, vinegar, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer until most of the liquid evaporates (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add the blueberries, honey, and butter. Cook on low heat until the blueberries turn dark pink (about five minutes). Remove and set aside.
  5. In the baking dish, arrange the salmon. Top the salmon with the blueberry mixture. Bake until the salmon is cooked completely (about eight minutes).
  6. Serve with fresh greens and enjoy!

 


 

Crab Soup

Equipment:
Large saucepan
Double boiler
Whisk

Ingredients:
1 pound fresh crab
1 medium onion, chopped
Fresh parsley (garnish)
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 quart whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
3 Tbsp butter, halved
1 bottle white wine
⅛ tsp white pepper
⅛ tsp ground mace
1 Tbsp salt

In the saucepan

    1. Melt 1 ½ tablespoon of the butter over low heat. Add the onion.
    2. Saute over low heat until the onion is softened (about three minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.


In the double boiler:

    1. Fill the bottom double boiler pan with one inch of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
    2. Assemble the double boiler, placing the top pan over the bottom one.
    3. In the top double boiler pan, add the remaining butter. Simmer until melted.
    4. Whisk in the flour.
    5. Stir in the onion and milk, stirring constantly. When blended, add the crabmeat, pepper, and mace.
    6. Cook 20 minutes.
    7. Stir in the half-and-half. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and ½ cup of the wine.
    8. Serve hot, with the remaining white wine!

 


 

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