This 30-minute recipe for cashew crusted fish tacos with lemon herb aioli and quick pickled red cabbage is an upscale take on a seafood favorite.Jump to Recipe
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Happy June! We’re so excited to share a new summer recipe with you this week, inspired by our love of eating tacos by the beach: cashew crusted fish tacos with lemon herb aioli and quick pickled cabbage.
Nothing says summer like seafood by the beach, listening to the waves crash and smelling that salty ocean air. Fish tacos are one of my favorite seafood dishes, especially when they’re made with fresh, lightly battered and fried cod. But even though I’m partial to fried fish tacos, I wanted to create a healthier, more upscale version of the fish taco that we could easily cook at home.
That’s how we landed on a salty, crunchy cashew breading for our fish, complemented by a tartar sauce-inspired lemon herb aioli and a tangy quick pickled red cabbage. Served on corn tortillas, these fish tacos make a delicious lunch or dinner perfect for warm summer nights.
How To Make Fish Tacos
Fish tacos are a fun seafood dish you can easily make at home! The key to a good taco is to complement your main protein with a few simple toppings. That’s why there are only three components to our fish tacos:
- Cashew crusted cod
- Lemon herb aioli
- Quick pickled red cabbage
While there are a ton of different types of fish that taste great in tacos, we like cod for its plain flavor and flaky texture. This lets the flavorful cashew crust and lemon herb aioli really shine, while contrasting the crunchy quick pickled cabbage. All these ingredients come together for the perfect combination of crunchy, soft, zesty, savory goodness you look for in a fried fish taco. Keep reading for a full breakdown of how to make each of these three components for the best fish tacos.
How To Make Cashew Crusted Cod
If you’re wondering how to cook cod for fish tacos, the easiest way is to just bake it in the oven!
What makes these fish tacos so great is that the fish is sliced small and easy to bite into. The perfect fried fish tacos are stuffed with little individual nuggets of crispy fried fish, so we wanted to replicate that as closely as possible with our crunchy cashew crust. Here’s how we did it:
- Make the cashew crust: Crush the cashews into a breadcrumb-like powder in a food processor, then transfer to a shallow dish and season with parsley, sage, salt, and pepper.
- Make an egg wash: Whisk together eggs and water in a shallow dish.
- Prep the fish: Slice cod into half-inch thick strips that are one to two inches long.
- Coat the fish: Coat fish in the egg wash, then roll in the cashew crust until well-coated and transfer to a baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper.
- Bake: Spray the fish with cooking spray, then bake at 425 for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.
On an early attempt of this recipe, we tried (and failed) at “frying” the fish in our air fryer. We learned that slicing the fish into small pieces before breading and cooking means it will fall apart more easily if it gets stuck to the air fryer basket. So if you want a foolproof way to cook breaded cod and not have it fall apart on you, definitely bake it in the oven 🙂
How To Make Lemon Herb Aioli
What goes great with fried fish? Lemon and tartar sauce. So we took inspiration from this flavor combo to create a tangy lemon herb aioli for drizzling on our cashew crusted fish tacos. Here’s how to make it in just two easy steps:
- Add mayo, lemon juice, finely chopped parsley, ground sage, dill weed, roasted garlic powder, and salt to a small bowl.
- Whisk thoroughly until well-combined, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
Fresh lemon juice gives this aioli a zesty and summery flavor that brightens up the salty fish. Lemons can vary in size and juiciness, so we recommend starting with half a lemon and adding more juice as needed until the consistency is creamy and pourable but not too thin.
How To Make Quick Pickled Cabbage
The quick pickled cabbage is the true hero of this dish. It’s an understated but necessary component of a good fish taco! While this ingredient tastes pretty bland on its own, it’ll take your fish tacos to a whole new level. It’s super crunchy and takes on a tangy flavor when paired with the lemon herb aioli that’s just too good to resist.
It’s super easy to make quick pickled cabbage. All you have to do is toss thinly sliced cabbage with some lemon juice and sea salt, then let it sit for about 10 minutes or so before serving. We like to use red cabbage in our cashew crusted fish tacos for its vibrant color, but you can use green cabbage if you prefer.
That’s it! Our cashew crusted fish tacos are an easy, fresh, and delicious upscale take on classic fried fish tacos. This recipe is the perfect summer lunch for enjoying on the patio, plus it makes for a unique home cooked meal that’ll impress your seafood-loving friends and family. No matter how you serve them, these tasty fish tacos will definitely be a hit.
If you love tacos as much as we do, check out these other taco recipes:
Cashew Crusted Fish Tacos
Cashew Crusted Fish
- 1 lb cod sliced into half-inch thick strips, 1 to 2 inches in length
- 8 oz lightly salted roasted whole cashews
- ¼ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- ½ tsp ground sage
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 to 2 tbsp water
Lemon Herb Aioli
- ½ cup mayo
- ½ to 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- ½ tsp roasted garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp ground sage
- ⅛ tsp dill weed
- ¼ tsp salt
Quick Pickled Cabbage
- ¼ head red cabbage thinly sliced
- ½ lemon juiced
- 2 pinches sea salt
- 12 corn tortillas 4-inch
- Finely chopped fresh parsley optional garnish
- 4 lemon wedges optional garnish
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray.
- Prepare the cashew crust. Add cashews to a food processor and crush into a breadcrumb-like powder, then transfer to a shallow dish. Add chopped parsley, ground sage, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Prepare the egg wash. Whisk together eggs and water in a shallow dish until combined, then set aside.
- Coat the sliced cod in the egg wash, then transfer to the cashew crust and coat well. Lay fish strips flat on the baking sheet, spacing them at least a half-inch apart.
- Lightly grease the fish with cooking spray, then bake for 10 minutes or until cashew crust is lightly browned and fish is cooked through.
- Next, prepare the lemon herb aioli. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until well-combined and the consistency is creamy and pourable, but not too thin.* Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Finally, prepare the quick pickled cabbage. Add thinly sliced red cabbage to a large bowl and season with lemon juice and sea salt. Gently toss to combine and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Once all the components are ready, assemble the tacos. Warm the tortillas on a skillet over medium-high heat or in the microwave, then fill each with a few strips of fish, a drizzle of lemon herb aioli, and a handful of cabbage. Optionally garnish with fresh chopped parsley and a lemon wedge. Serve immediately.
If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.
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Still 5 stars! Used Panko this time (just being lazy) and got the cabbage to turn out better (smaller cabbage to salt/lemon ratio). Pairs well with either the lemon aioli or your lime avocado crema! Had a great meal!
Yum! Panko sounds delicious on this fish 🙂
Best tasting fish taco I’ve ever had! Liked the cashew crust but had a hard time getting it to stick to the cod. Loved the aioli and crunch of the cabbage. Also served them with avocado cilantro lime crema and pico de Gallo. Delicious!
So happy you enjoyed these! The cashew crust is definitely more finicky than breadcrumbs. Glad it worked out 🙂
My plan for next time is to process the cashews finer, and dry out the parsley more (or use dried instead of fresh).
Good idea! It should stick easier with a finer process on the cashews – you’ll have to let us know how it goes (and how the dried parsley works out if you try that too).