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Snapper with Tomato, Olives and Capers Recipe

Contributors: Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND

Reviewers: Academy Nutrition Information Services Team

Published: March 31, 2014

Reviewed: August 22, 2023

Snapper with olive
Rebecca Clyde, MS, RDN, CD

Inspired by the coastal cuisine of Veracruz, Mexico, this traditional dish is an easy way to fit heart-healthy seafood into weeknight meals. Typically made with red snapper (huachinango in Spanish), any mild finfish is complemented with a spicy and tangy Veracruz sauce, made with tomato, olives, capers, olive oil, oregano and other herbs.   


1½ pounds snapper or another mild finfish fillet*
Juice from one lime, plus 1 sliced lime, for garnish
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Fresh parsley, for garnish
8 whole wheat tortillas, warmed


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 15-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
2 to 4 tablespoons sliced, pitted green olives
1 tablespoon chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons drained capers
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 bay leaf


Before you begin: Wash your hands.

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (176ºC).
  2. Arrange the snapper or other fish in a 12-by-7½-inch ovenproof baking dish. 
  3. Combine the lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil and black pepper in a small bowl. Brush the snapper with the lime juice mixture. Cover; marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour (no longer than 2 hours).
  4. To make the sauce, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a medium nonstick skillet. Add the onion; cook and stir until the onion softens and begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, jalapeno pepper, garlic, capers, oregano, marjoram and bay leaf. Cover; simmer for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
  5. To bake the snapper, pour the tomato mixture over the marinated snapper, lifting the fillets to allow the sauce to flow underneath.
  6. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the fish becomes flaky. Baste with the sauce during the cooking time.
  7. To serve, remove the bay leaf, and garnish with lime slices and parsley.
  8. Serve with warmed tortillas.

Cooking Notes

  • *For other milder finfish, try codfish, flounder, haddock, halibut, or tilapia.
  • Tip: Use Veracruz-style sauce when preparing chicken breasts, too.

Nutrition Information

Serves 4

Calories: 560; Calories from fat: 140; Total fat: 16g; Saturated fat: 1.5g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 65mg; Sodium: 580mg; Total carbohydrate: 55g; Dietary fiber: 7g; Sugars: 7g; Protein: 44g

Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND, is author of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide and 365 Days of Healthy Eating.

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