Maybe you are like me: the very rare times you settle for fast food for dinner, you think you can at least make a healthier choice by ordering the fish sandwich. But it turns out that may not necessarily be better for you after all. Sure, fish on its own is healthy: low in fat and often high in omega-3 fats, which are good for your heart and your brain. The problem is, once fish gets deep-fried, slathered with tartar sauce, covered in cheese and piled onto a white bun, it becomes a calorie bomb. In fact, a classic fried-fish sandwich you might get at one fast-food restaurant (I'm not naming names) can weigh in at 590 calories and 30 grams of fat.
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That makes the fish sandwich a great candidate for a makeover by the EatingWell Test Kitchen. This healthier recipe for Crispy Fish Sandwich with Pineapple Slaw is ready in just 25 minutes and packs a lot of deliciousness into only 400 calories. Here's how the cooks in the EatingWell Test Kitchen knocked down the calories and fat and boosted the flavor:
• Make the coleslaw with low-fat mayonnaise and yogurt to slash calories.
• Add pineapple to the coleslaw for great flavor along with extra vitamin C and fiber.
• Skip deep-frying and cook the fish in a nonstick skillet to get a crispy golden crust, without added fat from frying.
• Use whole-wheat bread instead of plain hamburger buns to boost fiber.
Here's the recipe:
Crispy Fish Sandwich with Pineapple Slaw
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Makes: 4 servings
Active time: 25 minutes | Total: 25 minutes
Cost per serving: under $5
A fish sandwich doesn't have to be deep-fried to be delicious. Try our healthy crispy fish sandwich recipe with a tangy, zesty pineapple slaw. It's worth taking the extra minute to chop pineapple slices instead of using crushed pineapple, which is too small and disappears into the slaw. Store-bought shredded cabbage-carrot mix saves time. Look for it in the produce section.
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks or rings, drained and coarsely chopped
2 cups coleslaw mix
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 pounds haddock or cod (see Tip), skinned and cut into 4 portions
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
8 slices whole-wheat country bread, toasted
1. Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar and crushed red pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add pineapple and coleslaw mix and stir to combine.
2. Place cornmeal in a shallow dish. Sprinkle both sides of fish with Cajun seasoning and salt. Dredge the fish in the cornmeal.
3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the fish and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and fish, adjusting heat as needed to prevent burning.
4. Top toasted bread with the fish and pineapple slaw to make sandwiches. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 372 calories; 9 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 69 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate; 3 g added sugars; 31 g protein; 7 g fiber; 658 mg sodium; 654 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (44% daily value), Magnesium (23% dv), Potassium (19% dv), Folate (17% dv).
Tip: For sustainable haddock, ask for U.S. Atlantic "hook-and-line-caught." For cod, look for wild-caught U.S. Pacific cod or Atlantic cod from Iceland or the east Arctic. For more good choices visit seafoodwatch.org.
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What's your favorite recipe to get your family to eat more fish?
By Wendy Ruopp
Wendy Ruopp has been the managing editor of EatingWell for most of her adult life. Although she writes about food for the Weeknights column of EatingWell Magazine, her husband does the cooking at home.
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