Tilapia with Olives, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Tilapia, a tasty farm-raised fish originally from Africa, has become more and more popular here in the states. I recently brought home a whole tilapia from our local Asian fish market and made quite a mess of trying to fillet it myself. Dad pitched in, with no more luck than I, and we ended up throwing the pieces (you couldn’t quite call them fillets anymore) into a fish stew. Now we know better. Just buy the straight fillets.

Tilapia are mild tasting, and relatively inexpensive compared to other fish. Here is a quick and easy, one-pan way of preparing this versatile fish that we found years ago from Better Homes and Gardens. The preparation is similar to Veracruz-style, shallow poached on top of a bed of sliced onions, tomatoes, green olives and mushrooms. It’s fresh, easy, and delicious.

Tilapia with Olives, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Feel free to use any tender white fish fillet with this recipe, for example cod or red snapper.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, 1/4 inch slices, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup green pimento-stuffed olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 6-8 ounce tilapia fillets


tilapia-pimiento-1.jpg tilapia-pimiento-2.jpg

1 Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices. Add the sliced mushrooms, chopped olives, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.


2 Lay the fish fillets gently on top of the onion tomato olive mixture and spread a little sauce over the fish. Return to a simmer (it's just the juices from the tomatoes that are simmering). Lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook or 8 to 10 minutes or until the fish easily flakes when tested with a fork. Use a wide spatula to lift the fillets from the pan to a serving plate. Spoon sauce over fish. Serve with rice, and/or crusty bread.

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Original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

Showing 4 of 27 Comments

  • Karen Cushing

    This is much like a recipe that I make regularly, but I use black sliced olives and I add a couple of big handfuls of fresh spinach (it cooks way down). I’ve also added garbanzo beans. I use whatever fish I have – my favorites are Cod or Mahi Mahi.

  • Arianne

    Made this using rockfish, as we were eating the hubby mentioned that the only thing that could make out better would be feta, voila!! It’s amazing! Been following you for years, first time commenting, love your page, thanks for all the inspiration!!

  • tina

    This was great. I changed it a little. I used flounder and tomato sauce. Very good recipe. Thank you. :-)

  • Christine

    This is great! Tastes absolutely fantastic!

  • Sammy

    First to Elise–thank you for such a beautiful and inspiring site. I have been a reader since 2004 but have never ventured away from the computer to the kitchen. Now that I have my own place, I’m teaching myself to cook.

    I made this dish last night. It was my first time cooking tilapia. I agree with previous posters that the fish definitely had a bit of a “funky” flavor. The sauce was really nice though, would definitely try it again using a different fish.

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