Kalyn's Kitchen

30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew (Video)

30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew is quick and delicious for a work-night dinner, and this delicious stew is low-carb and gluten-free.

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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. And when I looked at magazines for May, this recipe for Spicy Red Fish Stew from Bon Appetit was the one that jumped out at me.

We all should be eating more fish and there are plenty of Seafood 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 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. You can use Low-Carb and Keto Stew Recipes to find more ideas like this one.

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

  • red onion
  • olive oil
  • Roasted Red Peppers in a jar (affiliate link)
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • Minced Garlic (affiliate link)
  • red pepper flakes
  • fresh cilantro (optional)
  • fresh lemon zest
  • fresh lemon juice
  • cod, halibut, or tilapia fillets
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew found on KalynsKitchen.com

How to Make 30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew:

(Scroll down for complete printable recipe plus nutritional information.)

  1. Saute the red onion or shallots in olive oil until they’re soft and starting to brown.
  2. Add diced Roasted Red Peppers in a jar (affiliate link), canned diced tomatoes with juice, finely chopped fresh garlic, and red pepper flakes, and simmer 10 minutes. (I used spicy Aleppo Pepper (affiliate link), but any type of red pepper flakes would work.)
  3. While the pepper-tomato mixture simmers, zest a lemon and chop the cilantro.
  4. Cut the fish into pieces about 1 inch square, and blot dry with paper towel if needed.
  5. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and some of the chopped cilantro to the mixture in the pan.
  6. Then add the fish pieces and stir just enough so the fish is gently combined in the mixture.
  7. 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.
  8. Serve hot, with additional chopped cilantro if desired.

30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew found on KalynsKitchen.com

Make it a Meal:

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

More Tasty Recipes 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

30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes

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


  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 12 oz. jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1 14.5 oz. can 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
  • 1 lb. 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 (affiliate link); use more if you like it spicy. You can use shallots instead of red onion if you prefer.

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

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Total Fat: 7.3gSaturated Fat: 1.1gUnsaturated Fat: 5.6gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 258mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3.5gSugar: 7.8gProtein: 29g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

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 Stew Recipes to 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.

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    38 Comments on “30 Minute Spicy Red Fish Stew (Video)”

  1. We really enjoyed this. I was concerned about the amount of red peppers because I’m not really that much of a fan, but I used 12 oz of red bell pepper I’d roasted and peeled. The flavor of the soup wasn’t something I would have identified as bell pepper. It had a great complex flavor. I also preserve lemon and I used an equal amount of that in place of fresh. We’re usually always a bit disappointed about the lack of flavor in fish stews. This will be our go-to recipe.
    Thanks Kalyn!

  2. I tried this and there was no liquid at all – almost like a sauce. No need for water or stock?

    • I’ve never used water or stock; it is a thick stew with just the liquid from the tomatoes. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt to add a small amount of stock if you prefer that.

  3. 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.

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

  5. Abby, so glad you liked it!

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

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

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. Glad you liked it!

  14. 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'!

  15. 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!)

  16. 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.