Key Lime Fish Taco Kale Salad

I’m going to admit right now that title is a little misleading. Possibly clickbait. 

There are no tacos today. It’s a salad. And a kale salad, no less. But wait!I have my reasons! This is an exceptional kale salad that incorporates all your favorite fish taco fixins. I would like to point out a bonus of eating fish taco ingredients as a salad: you are not limited to what you can fit inside a tortilla (or 3). Instead, you dive straight into a bowl of good stuff. There’s color, crunch, and loads of flavor. The kale is dressed with key lime vinagrette, the fish is seasoned with pepper and cumin, and there’s even a key lime chipotle crema to drizzle over the top. Top it off with a rainbow of fresh and pickled vegetables, and maybe… just maybe… you can get by without the tacos. Think of it as a healthy weeknight thing with zero sacrifice in flavor. Now if you were coming to my house for dinner, I would make homemade tortillas to go along with this, or even fry up some tortilla strips to top the salad. I’m nice like that. I’m also nice enough to grate cheese on the side, because some people think a faux-taco salad would not be complete without cheese. 

The list of salad ingredients is long, but it’s just a suggestion. Use whatever you like or whatever you’ve got on hand. With a flavorful dressing and well-seasoned fish, you can’t go wrong.Garden update: After I picked the last of the wilting garden greens and a few scrawny radishes last week , I threw in the trowel. I don’t bother with summer vegetables. There are very few things that can withstand this heat, and the bugs get out of control. Besides that, we’ve got tons of mangos to contend with. For the summer months, we cover the vegetable beds in plastic and allow them to rejuvenate. We still have all these tiny Everglades tomatoes, which have become the dominant “weed” in our yard. Not complaining. I top our salads with clusters of them so they don’t disappear in the bottom of the bowl. Giant salads with fish make the best summer dinner. I hope you’ll try this one.

Key Lime Fish Taco Kale Salad

5 from 2 votes


  • 1 pound snapper or other white fish fillets
  • 2 tablespoons high-heat, neutral oil

Fish Seasoning

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Key Lime Chipotle Crema

  • 2/3 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 2 chipotles in adobo, plus sauce to taste
  • juice of 1 key lime

Key Lime Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp key lime juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp Fish seasoning
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

For the Salad

  • 1 bunch kale, chopped (approx. 5 cups)
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red or yellow bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced jicama

Optional Toppers and Garnishes:

  • cilantro
  • cherry tomatoes
  • thinly sliced avocado
  • pickled red onions
  • pickled jalapeños
  • crumbled queso, shredded pepperjack or cheddar


  • Clean and pat the fish fillets dry with a paper towel. Pour the oil in the skillet. Mix up the fish seasoning in a small bowl and set aside. We'll get back to that.
    Add the crema, chipotles and adobo sauce (to taste) and the juice of a key lime to a blender and blend on high power until smooth. Pour into a small bowl or squeeze bottle and refrigerate until ready to use.
    Whisk up all the ingredients for the vinaigrette except the oil. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking. Set aside. 
    In a large salad bowl, toss the kale, cabbage, peppers, radishes, and jicama. Pour the vinaigrette over the top and toss well to coat. 
    Heat the oil in the skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle the fish seasoning evenly over all sides of the fillets. Once the oil is hot, arrange the fish in an even layer in the skillet without touching. If necessary, cook two batches. Once the fish is cooked about two-thirds of the way through on one side, turn and finish cooking on the other side. This can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes per side. Test doneness by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the fillet. As soon as it slips through easily, it's done.
    Transfer the fish to the top of the salad. Sprinkle with cilantro. Arrange cherry tomatoes, avocados, pickled red onions and jalapeños, and cheese over the top. Drizzle with key lime chipotle crema. 





7 Comments Key Lime Fish Taco Kale Salad

  1. Nicole Coudal June 11, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    I just love this salad! It has all the things I adore, especially the Key Lime add-ins. I’m sure those sweet little Everglades tomatoes were perfect alongside the other tasty ingredients — my plants are still churning out little gems, so we get to keep our tomato cravings in check for a little while longer.. Happy Summer!

    1. suwanneerose June 12, 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Happy summer to you, Nicole! I hope you’re making the best of it despite the heat. How lucky to still have those little Everglades tomatoes popping up all over the place. They do extend our tomato season to almost year-round!

  2. FRANK GOODY June 11, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    5 stars
    Nice recipe; fresh!! Note: Okra grows great in Fl summer; grill ’em, pickle ’em, cook with tomatoes, use in soups/stews to thicken and enhance!! Thanks for your food ideas and the really GIFTED photos you post!!!!

    Capt. Frank Goody

    1. suwanneerose June 12, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks Capt. Frank! I loooove okra! Our summer schedule makes it tough to pick them at the right time, when they’re small and tender. This year I’m hoping to find it at farmer’s markets. Here’s a couple of my favorite okra recipes: naturally fermented pickled okra & Florida ratatouille& okra fries

  3. FRANK JOHN GOODY JR June 11, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    5 stars
    Another thought: call this a “FISH TACO BOWL”, and win over another generation!!!

    1. suwanneerose June 12, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Haha! I’ve got a fish bowl for you here: Caribbean Fish Bowls

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