The Best Ways to Marinade Tilapia

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Tilapia's mild flavor makes it an excellent choice for a variety of marinades. With the help of a little marinade, tilapia can easily be transformed from a lifeless fillet to a flavorful feast. Whether its baked, broiled or grilled, once marinated, this tender yet firm fish leaves diners wanting more.


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A light Italian vinaigrette gives tilapia a burst of Mediterranean flavor that is perfect for a hot summer day, as well as the rest of the year. Whip up a quick marinade from olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, seasoned with oregano, chopped parsley, black pepper and a dash or two of Tabasco sauce. For a short cut, open up a bottle of your favorite pre-made Italian salad dressing. Let the tilapia marinate for at least 30 minutes to soak up the delicious Italian flavors.


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Sesame oil has a distinctive scent and flavor that imparts a subtle yet delicious Asian taste on tilapia. Make a sesame marinade by combining a minced clove of garlic and 1/4 cup sesame oil with a dash of pre-made Italian salad dressing or marinade. Add a sprinkle of freshly-ground black pepper to season the marinade. Pour the marinade in a shallow dish, then add the tilapia. Because of the mild flavor of the sesame oil, let the fish marinate for at least 45 minutes.

Honey Soy

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Give the tilapia a sweet and sour kick with a honey soy marinade. Mix equal parts honey, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar together in a shallow glass baking dish. Throw in some minced garlic for extra flavor. Once the marinade is complete, add the tilapia fillets to the pan and place the entire container in the refrigerator. Let the fish marinate for at least 20 minutes, although a little more time gains the tilapia more flavor.

Lemon Pepper

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Lemon and pepper are a simple combination, often paired with seafood because it complements the flavor of fish. Squeeze a fresh lemon or use presqueezed lemon juice to mix with extra virgin olive oil. Grind black pepper and add a touch of salt. Mix the marinade well, then add it to a shallow dish. Throw in the tilapia, and let the fish bathe in the marinade for about 30 minutes.

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