Recipes to help you eat more fish

Whether you're on a mission to incorporate more fish into your diet because you know it's good for you, you're observing Lent, or you're just taking a much needed break from your carnivorous ways, I'm here to help. Low in fat, high in protein, and chock full of essential nutrients such as Omega-3s to help improve general cardiovascular health, fish seems like a no-brainer, yet many cooks don't prepare it at home as much as they could.

According to USA Today, Americans are eating an average of 4 ounces of fish per week, which is about half of the recommended 8 ounces recommended for adults. Not enough! Making fish a part of your regular diet greatly reduces the risk of heart disease and can contribute to weight loss. Moreover, its nutrients are ideal for breastfeeding women. With a plethora of health benefits to boast of, it's high time we make it a point to cook more fish. Why don't we?

Many people actually enjoy the taste of fish but just aren't sure how to shop for it, or cook it once they do get it home. While fish may seem intimidating to prepare for fear of overcooking or undercooking or the vague notion of contaminants, I'm here to let you in on a not-so-secret secret: Enjoying fish regularly is totally within your grasp. Here is a roundup of simple and delicious recipes starring fish to help you on your Omega 3-rich journey to balanced eating.

Pan-fried flounder with poblano-corn relish

This lovely recipe from Food & Wine features naturally sweet flounder paired with an addictively bright relish made with delicate strips of poblano chile pepper and fresh corn kernels. Tossed with rich avocado cubes, lemon juice, and fragrant cilantro, it's the perfect accompaniment to flour-dredged, pan-seared fish. I love how simple and streamlined this recipe is for weeknight ease, making it the ideal meal for those who need a little nudge toward cooking fish.

Asian-style halibut in parchment

Cooking fish in parchment paper (en papillote) is a classic French technique that has a lot going for it. This method of cooking light proteins is beyond easy to do with the added bonus of making for a dramatic presentation come dinnertime. This Asian-inspired recipe from Real Simple produces a beautiful meal that takes practically no effort to prepare. Meaty halibut fillets are cooked sealed in parchment along with bok choy, bell pepper, scallions, and a bold sauce made with soy, vinegar, oil, and ginger. After about 15 minutes of TLC in the oven, you're rewarded with aromatic fish and tender vegetables.

Baked snapper with harissa, new potatoes, and spring onions

With its mild flavor and relative firmness, snapper holds up well to baking and broiling. This recipe from Bon Appetit cues to use a flavorful harissa paste two ways: rubbed all over skin-on fillets and tossed with new potatoes and spring onions. The secret to this dish's perfectly browned fish and delectable tender veggies? It's two-fold, really. Bake vegetables, remove and add fish to the baking sheet, then broil together so everything finishes at the same time. Brilliant! This one-pan recipe is meant to make your life easier.

Broiled tilapia with Thai coconut-curry sauce

As I'm all about anything curry, this dish from My Recipes makes me swoon just a little. Versatile (and inexpensive) tilapia fillets are broiled for maximum simplicity and everyday elegance. The aromatic sauce is made by simmering nutty coconut milk with soy sauce, curry powder and paste, cumin, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. The result is an intense sauce that's perfect drizzled over broiled fish, but you can certainly find other uses for it, too. Garnish with lime wedges and serve with rice. Done, done, and done.

Creamy-yet-light-fish chowder

I'm not usually a big fan of chowders, as they are often way to heavy for me to feel good about afterwards. This recipe from the peeps at The Kitchn has changed my mind about seafood chowders. It manages to be cozy, filling, and incredibly light. Instead of using dairy to thicken the broth, the recipe uses pureed potatoes to do the job. Chunks of mild white fish and soft veggies speckle the soup, creating an emulsion of flavors and textures that give you one more tasty way to enjoy more fish.

Whole roasted fish with wild mushrooms

There's something amazingly dramatic and impressive about serving whole fish, head and tail intact. Luckily, awe-inducing dishes like that don't have to be difficult. This recipe from The New York Times shows you how to wow your buddies with your cooking skills without making it too hard on yourself in the kitchen. Start with high-quality sea bass, arctic char, or blackfish, then season and roast. While the fish cooks, you have time to prep a bunch of earthy wild mushrooms, preparing them for a quick broil that finishes in precisely the same amount of time you ought to let your cooked fish rest. Perfect timing.

Pescado frito Colombiano

After having lived and worked in Colombia for three years, I can confidently disclose that I have enjoyed my fair share of fried fish. This classic dish is a staple of casual eateries and food stands on the coast of the country. It's even peddled on the beach! This recipe from My Colombian Recipes is easy, satisfying, and totally transporting. Mild tilapia or red snapper is coated in flour and fried, then served with traditional sides that include patacones (fried plantains), avocado, and rice. Garnish with lime wedges if you like.

Sweet sour fish soup

Vietnamese soups like pho may be all the rage, but many people don't realize the fishy varieties are just as delicious and flavorful. Sweet sour fish soup, or canh chua ca in Vietnamese, is a delicacy that deserves way more attention than it's currently getting. This recipe from NOLA is a great start. Seared catfish steaks are cooked in a mouthwatering broth made with chicken stock, tamarind soup base, garlic, tomatoes, and green onions. The result is a rich, deeply flavored soup that's savory, sweet, and sour. Perfectly speckled with protein-forward pieces of fish, this warming meal is a treat.

Tasty tilapia

On those busy weeknights when you have zero extra minutes to spare, this recipe from Dine and Dish will be the one to save the day. This dish is as scrumptious as it is easy and quick to make. In under 30 minutes, you can have dinner on the table. Universally appealing tilapia fillets are cooked in a simple butter sauce seasoned with robust cajun spices, basil, garlic, onion, and parsley. A gorgeous and nourishing dinner is a dream come true, especially when it requires minimal effort.

Prince Edward Island fish cakes

Another fun way to eat more fish? Make fish cakes, of course. This recipe from Babble is easy, portable, and ridiculously good. A blend of salmon, mashed potatoes, Dijon mustard, eggs, and green onions are shaped into nifty little pucks before getting dredged in flour and pan-seared in butter. If crispy, golden brown, incidentally nutritious salmon cakes seem like your kind of thing, then you ought to make this dish at your earliest convenience. And also, maybe we should be friends.

At this point you probably don't need any more reasons to start eating more fish immediately, amiright? Go for it!