Simply marinated walleye and a zesty, crunchy radish slaw make these fish tacos a quick and delicious meal!
You'll let the fish marinate while you prep the slaw, then quickly cook in a skillet before assembling the tacos. Fish tacos are easier than you think — plus, this recipe is low carb and gluten free.
What is walleye and what does it taste like?
Walleye is a freshwater fish that you may know as yellow pike or yellow pickerel. In my part of the world, though (North Dakota), we call it walleye.
Walleye fishing is a big deal around North Dakota and Minnesota, so I get requests from my local readers for recipes for the flakey white fish every year.
Cooked walleye is tender and flakey, but almost feels buttery in your mouth. If you've never had fried walleye, you've GOT to give it a try! But, paired with a crunchy, vibrant slaw, the tender texture of walley makes awesome tacos.
I don't have walleye. Can I use a different fish?
Yes. Although this fish taco recipe was tested and made for walleye, you can substitute a few different kinds of fish. Walleye is a firm yet tender flakey white fish, so your best bet is to substitute another similar variety.
The easiest substitute? Cod. However, if you can get your hands on Mahi Mahi, Grouper, Bass, or Catfish, all would make great substitutes here! Just keep in mind that freshwater fish tend to have a milder "fishy" taste that saltwater fish.
But, if you can find walleye, give it a try!
Tips for quick, flavorful slaw
Before we dive into the recipe, I want to give a few tips for a really rockin' slaw. The name of the game with slaw for tacos is CRUNCH, so make sure to use fresh, crisp veggies and not the sad, limp cabbage that's been chilling in the fridge for a bit too long (chop that up and roast it or use it for soup).
Milder raw onions for slaws and salads
You'll notice the recipe asks you to let the raw onion chill out for a bit in lime juice (an acid). This is called "macerating," and essentially allows the acid to break down the bite of the onion and help it mellow out.
I picked up this tip from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat and it makes a HUGE difference. I will 100% be doing this for all my dressing, slaw, and salad recipes going forward!
Cabbage a little too much? Help it chill out
Even though I contend that slaws made for tacos should have max crunch, if you feel like the cabbage is juuuuust a little too much for you, here's a way to draw out some of the water and loosen it up a bit.
Thinly slice the cabbage crosswise and place in a colander over the sink. Toss with 1 tablespoon sea salt to draw out water and set aside. After 20 minutes, drain any water from the cabbage. (Don’t worry if there isn’t any. Some cabbages are more watery than others.)
I didn't include that in the recipe because I don't think it's often necessary. But you do you!
More walleye recipes for your fishing surplus
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Tender walleye and a bright, crunchy slaw make these fish tacos a dream! Use cotija cheese — or, if you can't find cotija, sub feta cheese.
For the Walleye:
- 1 ½ pounds walleye, cut into about 8 strips
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (about 1 lime)
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder OR chili powder
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
For the Slaw:
- ½ small (or ¼ large) head of green cabbage, cored
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch radishes (about 8 radishes), cut into matchsticks
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
For the Tacos:
- 8 white corn tortillas
- 2-3 ounces cotija or feta cheese, crumbled
- First, prep the marinade for the walleye. Combine the lime juice, zest, cumin, and chipotle in a small bowl. Pour over walleye, gently rubbing into the fish, and set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, start the radish slaw. In a small bowl, pour the lime juice over the red onion. Let it sit for 20 minutes (this basically makes them a little less pungent!). Slice the cabbage as thinly as you can.
- Move the cabbage to a bowl with the cilantro and radishes. Add the onions, reserving the liquid. Add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of the onion liquid. Toss to coat.
- Now finish the walleye. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walleye, cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the fillets have firmed up and are no longer translucent.
- To assemble the tacos, start with a tortilla. Place a portion of the walleye across the tortilla, top with a generous portion of the slaw, and sprinkle cotija or feta cheese on top.
Keywords: gluten free, tacos, fish tacos, low carb, walleye