Pan-Seared Lemon Tilapia with Parmesan Pasta Recipe

Background and History

Pan-seared lemon tilapia with parmesan pasta is a delightful dish that combines the light, flaky texture of tilapia with the rich, creamy flavor of parmesan pasta. Tilapia, a freshwater fish, has been a staple in various cuisines due to its mild flavor and versatility. This recipe offers a quick and nutritious meal, perfect for a weeknight dinner, while showcasing a harmonious blend of citrus and cheese.


  • 2 people


  • Total: 30 minutes

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 10 minutes
  • Cooking: 20 minutes


For the Tilapia

  • 2 tilapia fillets (about 6-8 oz each)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

For the Parmesan Pasta

  • 4 oz fettuccine or spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil or parsley, chopped (for garnish)


Cook the Pasta

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
  • Drain and set aside.

Prepare the Tilapia

  • Pat the tilapia fillets dry with paper towels.
  • Season both sides with salt, pepper, and dried thyme.
  • Zest and juice the lemon, setting both aside separately.

Pan-Sear the Tilapia

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the tilapia fillets and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  • During the last minute of cooking, add minced garlic to the skillet.
  • Drizzle the lemon juice over the fillets and remove from heat.
  • Transfer the tilapia to a plate and keep warm.

Prepare the Parmesan Pasta

  • In the same pot used for the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Add the grated Parmesan cheese, stirring continuously until melted and smooth.
  • Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce until well coated.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.


  • Divide the Parmesan pasta between two plates.
  • Top each plate with a tilapia fillet.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon zest.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

  • Calories: 650
  • Protein: 40g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Fat: 30g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sodium: 600mg


Ingredient Substitutions

  • You can use any white fish like cod or haddock instead of tilapia.
  • For a lighter pasta, substitute heavy cream with half-and-half or milk.

Side Dishes

  • Pair with a light salad or steamed vegetables for a complete meal.


  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently to maintain texture and flavor.

Allergy Warning

Fish Allergies

  • This dish contains fish, which is a common allergen. Ensure that no one consuming this dish has a fish allergy.

Dairy Allergies

  • The Parmesan pasta contains dairy. Substitute with dairy-free alternatives if needed.


  • Be cautious of cross-contamination if preparing for someone with allergies. Use separate utensils and cutting boards.

Should I rinse tilapia before cooking?

No, you do not need to rinse tilapia before cooking. Rinsing raw fish can spread bacteria around your kitchen. Instead, pat the fillets dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Should you soak tilapia in milk?

Soaking tilapia in milk for about 20 minutes can help to reduce any fishy odor and improve the flavor. The milk neutralizes the odor and makes the fish taste fresher.

What does tilapia need to be cooked to?

Tilapia should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). The flesh should be opaque and flake easily with a fork when done.

Is tilapia healthy?

Yes, tilapia is a healthy option. It is a good source of protein, low in fat, and provides essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, potassium, and selenium.

Is tilapia high in mercury?

No, tilapia is generally low in mercury compared to many other types of fish. This makes it a safer option for frequent consumption, particularly for children and pregnant women.

Is tilapia healthier than salmon?

While both tilapia and salmon are healthy choices, salmon is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. Tilapia, however, is lower in calories and fat, making it a good option for those watching their fat intake.

What’s the healthiest fish to eat?

Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are among the healthiest fish to eat due to their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. These fish offer numerous health benefits, including improved heart and brain health.

What kind of fish is tilapia?

Tilapia is a type of freshwater fish that belongs to the cichlid family. It is commonly farmed due to its adaptability, mild flavor, and affordability.

Which fish has high omega-3?

Fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are important for heart and brain health and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

Which fish is good for diabetes?

Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout, are good for people with diabetes. These fish help reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and provide essential nutrients.

Fitzroy Neville
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Fitzroy Neville, the culinary maestro behind this site, boasts the impressive title of Cooking Prodigy. With a natural flair for the culinary arts, Fitzroy brings innovation and expertise to the world of pet cuisine. His site is a haven for pet owners seeking imaginative and nutritious recipes to delight their furry companions. Fitzroy's passion for transforming pet meals into culinary experiences is evident in the creative and delectable content he shares. For those looking to elevate their pets' dining experience, Fitzroy Neville's site is a testament to the artistry and skill of a true cooking prodigy dedicated to pampering our four-legged friends.