What’s for Dinner: Tilapia Puxa Vida

Occasionally, I come across a recipe that I have to try right away.  Most recipes end up languishing in a pile for years before I finally get to them.  Some I never get to.  I have grand plans to organize, sort and prioritize my ever expanding stash of recipes, but may need another lifetime to accomplish that goal.

This Tilapia Puxa Vida on Baked Bree caught my attention immediately and I knew it was a keeper.  I coincidentally had really amazing tilapia lying in the fridge – bought the day before at Fish in Sausalito.  Tilapia is not a fish I typically cook with, but the little seafood counter at Fish often carries some of the best seafood around and I could not resist picking some up.  The tilapia would probably have been turned into a fish curry, had I not chanced upon this recipe. (Brazilian in origin??  Puxa Vida means “for goodness sake” in Portuguese)

Children for some reason resist eating fish but this one is pretty kid-friendly.  Tilapia is a mild and flaky fish and the slightly sweet sauce complements it perfectly.  The fire roasted tomatoes, honey and coconut milk make a delectable sauce that is almost a “curry” for beginners without the spices.  This recipe required pulling out the food processor but it well worth it.  Aside from that, it a super easy, relatively quick dish that was a hit at our home.  Bree served her fish with black beans and rice but we ate it with our favorite simplest snap peas.  I am sure it is even more wonderful with her suggested sides.

Tilapia Puxa Vida


  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 jalapeno seeded (optional)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 pounds tilapia
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional, we were out though I am sure it makes the dish prettier and yummier)
  1. In a food processor, pulse together the red pepper, onion, jalapeno, and garlic until finely chopped
  2. Add the pulsed mixture to a saute pan coated with olive oil.  Cook until soft, about 5 minutes
  3. Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, and honey to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes
  4. Add the lime juice and check for seasonings.  You might need to add a little more honey or lime juice
  5. Add the tilapia to the pan and cover with the sauce. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes
  6. When the fish is cooked through, it will be opaque and will flake easily with a fork
  7. Garnish with chopped cilantro and additional lime wedges (optional)

6 thoughts on “What’s for Dinner: Tilapia Puxa Vida

  1. Did you mean a red bell pepper or a red chili pepper. The recipe looks great! I love Tilapia and am always looking for new ways to prepare it.

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