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Kalyn's Kitchen

30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew (Video)

This 30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew is quick and delicious for a work-night dinner, and this delicious stew is low-carb, low-glycemic, gluten-free, Paleo, Whole 30, and South Beach Diet friendly as well. Use Stew Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

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30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew found on KalynsKitchen.com
In my bedroom I have a cabinet with a huge collection of food magazines going back about 20 years, mostly Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Fine Cooking, with some assorted issues of other publications. My magazines are arranged by month, and when a new month starts, I love to look at the past issues for that time of year to see what recipes the magazines were featuring.I’m usually looking at magazines a few months in advance, so when I looked at magazines for May, this recipe for Spicy Red Fish Stew from Bon Appetit, May 2004, was the one that jumped out at me.

We all should be eating more fish and there are plenty of Fish and Shellfish Recipes on this blog, but my usual fish dinners are nothing like this stew where onions, tomatoes, and roasted red peppers simmer with garlic and red pepper flakes and then chunks of white fish are added to cook for just a few minutes and flavor the stew. And wow! This was absolutely delicious.

I used two small pieces of cod for the fish in my stew, but you could use halibut or even thick pieces of tilapia as well. The original recipe had freshly-roasted red bell peppers, but even with the roasted red peppers from a jar that I used, this was spicy and delicious, and it made a lovely quick dinner on a chilly night.

30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew found on KalynsKitchen.com

Saute the red onion or shallots in olive oil until they’re soft and starting to brown. Add diced roasted red peppers, canned diced tomatoes with juice, finely chopped fresh garlic, and red pepper flakes, and simmer 10 minutes. (I used spicy Aleppo pepper, but any type of red pepper flakes would work.)

While the pepper-tomato mixture simmers, zest a lemon and chop the cilantro. Cut the fish into pieces about 1 inch square, and blot dry with paper towel if needed.

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and some of the chopped cilantro to the mixture. Then add the fish pieces and stir just enough so the fish is gently combined in the mixture. Let stew simmer about 5-7 minutes after you add the fish, just long enough for fish pieces to start to look opaque and until you can see a small amount of liquid from the fish being released into the stew mixture.

30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew found on KalynsKitchen.com

Serve hot, with additional chopped cilantro if desired.

Make it a Meal:

This would be delicious with Cauliflower Rice with Basil, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts for a low-carb meal.

More Tasty Ideas for Fish:

Spicy Roasted Shrimp with Garlic, Sumac, and Aleppo Pepper ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cioppino from The Perfect Pantry
Recipe for Sauteed Tilapia with Parmesan Crust ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew) from Simply Recipes
Easy Recipe for Roasted Salmon with Rosemary-Garlic Rub ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Fisherman’s Soup with Tilapia, Shrimp, Tomatoes, and Capers ~ Cookin’ Canuck

30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew

This 30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew is quick and delicious for a work-night dinner.


  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion or shallot
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 jar (12 oz.) roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes  (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (plus more for garnish if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 8-10 oz. cod, halibut, or tilapia fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. For best results with this recipe, use a small frying pan with high sides so the fish pieces will be surrounded by liquid when you add them. I used an 8 inch pan.
  2. Heat olive oil in small frying pan, add chopped red onion or shallot and saute over medium heat about 3-4 minutes, until onions are soft and starting to brown.
  3. Add chopped red bell peppers, diced tomatoes with juice, finely minced fresh garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Let mixture simmer 10 minutes over medium-low heat, until garlic is cooked and flavors are well-blended.
  5. While stew mixture simmers, zest and juice the lemon, and chop the cilantro.
  6. Cut fish fillets into 1 inch pieces and blot dry with paper towel if needed.
  7. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro to stew mixture, then add fish pieces and gently stir to combine.
  8. Let stew simmer 5-7 minutes or until fish is barely turning opaque and some liquid from the fish is being released into the stew.
  9. Stir again, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve hot, with additional chopped cilantro for garnish if desired.


I used Aleppo pepper; use more if you like it spicy.

This recipe adapted from Spicy Red Fish Stew by Meriel McDonald for Bon Appetit Magazine, May 2004.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This 30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew is a great low-carb menu idea with red bell peppers, tomatoes, and fish, and it’s a perfect main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet or most low-carb eating plans. The stew does have some carbs from the tomatoes, use less tomatoes if you prefer.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew [found on KalynsKitchen.com]

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34 comments on “30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew (Video)”

  1. If you're lucky enough to have fresh tuna, I think it would be delicious in this. If the pieces are thick, I think the cooking time might be slightly longer. I'd just test a piece to see when you think it's done.

  2. Could you make this with fresh tuna, or would the flavors not be right..?

  3. Abby, so glad you liked it!

  4. I made this stew tonight and it was so flavorful and delicious. The lemon and cilantro really made the flavors pop. I love soups that have lots of flavor even before you add salt! The only change I made was to add some celery with the onions in the beginning. I also added some water because it was quite thick. Thanks for posting.

  5. Tara, so glad you enjoyed it! (And I'm fantasizing about how pretty this would be with a combo of red/yellow peppers!)

  6. Oh. Mygosh. This was stellar. And SO easy – a real 30 minute meal. I would make this again and again. We served this with some crusty bread and your lemony roasted cabbage. It was a lot of lemon for one meal but that was quite OK by us and let us make use of a whole lemon at once. We used roasted red peppers but I saw the store had roasted yellows as well.

  7. Anna, thanks! I love lemon in any dish.

  8. Fantastic recipe! The lemon really makes this dish, for me.

  9. I love the sound of this with the seafood you used. I do try to test the recipes thoroughly before I post one; glad they have been working for you!

  10. This was sooooo good. I have not been led astray by any recipe on this blog yet, thank you Kalyn. I didn't have fish, but I made it with a mix of shrimp, scallops, and calamari rings from Trader Joe's and it worked just fine.

  11. I just made this last night (my first fish stew ever), and of course I made it mine by adding clam juice and saffron, and omitting the cilantro (cause I didn't have any!). It was DELICIOUS!!! The lemon zest really shines, thank you so much for being there with this recipe when I googled 'fish stew'!

  12. Silverspoon, so glad you like the recipe so much. I think cod is a great choice for this (wish I could get fresh cod here, but frozen cod is pretty good in it too!)

  13. Kalyn, I love this recipe & have made it many times. It's a fresh-tasting summer way to get in a meal of fish, with none of the "baddies" involved. I use whatever is wild caught USA, & maybe on special — usually cod. Had it again tonite, so I had to let you know.

  14. Priddycy, so glad you liked it!

  15. Just made this with mahi mahi and it was delicious!

  16. A georgous & stunning dish, dear Kalyn!!


  17. I rarely cut out recipe clippings, so I'm afraid I don't have any secrets for organizing those! (I do usually have a stack of recipes I've printed from the web sitting by my printer all the time and those don't seem to get organized!)

  18. Spicy fish stew for me too! I always love how tomatoes and spice work together.

  19. That red is beautiful! Hats off to you for being so organized with all your recipes! I have books and clippings lying all over the place. How do you organize all your recipe clippings?

  20. Oh, I like this.


  21. I'm definitely bookmarking this one – it sounds like the perfect soup to enjoy when soup cravings hit in the summer!

  22. This stew looks great, I have never tried fish stew before, but I love spicy foods, and this would be a great one for me.

  23. looks yummy! love the color of the curry…

  24. You have inspired me to go organize my food magazines . . ., I'm off to my SIX FOOT TALL stack right now – Thanks once again, Kalyn!


  25. I love fish stew and this looks amazing!

  26. This is a great pantry meal; except for the fish, most everything else is a pantry staple. And hats off to anyone who keeps their cooking magazines so organized — mine are in piles!

  27. HoneyB, oh no, never too many cooking magazines!

  28. The stew looks delicious! I like to do the same thing with my magazines – although Grumpy is always after me that I have too many. I think he's crazy.

  29. Thanks guys, I really did like this, and it was my first time making fish stew as well (except for the time I made Cioppino with Lydia!) TW, I love having the magazines organized by month but always working on keeping them that way!

  30. I've never made a fish stew, and this sounds wonderful. I love the vibrant red color. (Would also love to explore your collection of cooking magazines! Wish mine were as organized.)

  31. That looks like a delicious variation on my usual fish soup. Thanks for the recipe!

  32. Love the colour! yummm

  33. The fish stew looks fantastic. Glad it turned out to be a winning recipe.

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