Spicy Fish in Tomato Sauce

4 from 1 vote

A deep and earthy fish dinner that is sure to leave you feeling satisfied.

Make our spicy fish in tomato sauce any night of the week!

This spicy fish in tomato sauce is a wonderful Mediterranean fish dish that’s perfect for serving family-style. We make the sauce with cherry tomatoes and add harissa for a deep and earthy braise. The spices here aren’t necessarily spicy, but they are fragrant and delightfully exotic.

Serve this low-calorie, low-carb fish dish as-is, or enjoy it with a big hunk of bread if you’re not worried about carbohydrates. To make it more filling, any type of pasta or other starch would work well with this entree.

Mise En Place Makes Perfect Spicy Fish in Tomato Sauce

This gorgeous fish dish is sure to impress your dinner guests.

Recipes like this one call for a lot of spices. At first glance, it might seem like a lot of steps. Lest you become discouraged, we’ve got the perfect fix for you. If you don’t want to roast your peppers or make your own harissa, plenty of stores sell cans and tubes. So, all you really need is a cutting board, a set of measuring spoons, a sharp knife, and a blender. Once the jalapeños, garlic, and cilantro are chopped, you are pretty much set. Open the can of tomato paste and ready half a cup of water. That way, when the action starts, cooking this dish becomes super easy.

Harissa Adds Depth To This Fish

This high-protein dish will crush those Italian food, comfort cravings.

In case you don’t know, harissa is a North African chile paste made from a variety of dried peppers. Many different regions use harissa, including Tunisia, its country of origin. That means there are many ranges of heat level, so be sure to check the label to determine the spiciness before grabbing a tube from the grocery store. We recommend using a brand that uses chilies, as a tomato based harissa is never very good.

In this spicy fish in tomato sauce recipe, we went pretty mild by using sweet red bell pepper as the main chili. Then, we added jalapeños and powdered dried paprika. As a rule of thumb, make sure you taste as you go to to moderate the heat.

Slow And Low Is The Tempo

Our Mediterranean fish in tomato sauce offers the perfect balance of satisfying spice!

The longest part of this cook lies within the sauce. Although 30 minutes seems like a while, it actually gives you plenty of time to throw together a green salad. Or, roast some asparagus or broccoli. Once you add the fish, just watch it a bit to prevent overcooking. The good news is that braising meat in sauces usually keeps them extremely moist. 

Any white fish works well here. While choosing a white fish can be something of a crap-shoot at the grocery store, it’s not too hard. Don’t shy away from the frozen variety, since this fish dish has sauce to keep it moist. Do check for sustainability, overfishing, and farming practices as well. Above all, go for what tastes best to you, and you will never go wrong!

4 from 1 vote

Spicy Fish In Cherry Tomato and Harissa Sauce

Spicy fish meets scrumptious tomato sauce in this delicious Mediterranean dinner.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield 4 People
Serving Size 1 cup
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern


Harissa Paste

  • 2 bell peppers roasted, peeled, and seeded
  • 1 jalapeno sliced and seeded
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Tomato Sauce

  • 8 garlic cloves smashed
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 jalapeno cored, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon harissa store bought is ok
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 5 cups tomato cherries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 white fish fillet
  • 1 cup cilantro



  • Put everything except olive oil in a food processor or blender and blend until it’s a paste. If you can, add oil with the motor running until the mixture is smooth and emulsified. If not, just add the oil and blend well. Can keep for a week in the refrigerator. (Since only a tablespoon is being used, you can halve the recipe if you don’t want extra)

Tomato Sauce

  • Saute garlic under low heat for only three minutes, then add tomato paste, half a jalapeno, and two teaspoons of harissa. Add paprika and cumin and stir for a minute. Increase heat to medium high.
  • Add four cups of cherry tomatoes. Pour in 1/2 cup of water, bring to a simmer (near boil), then lower heat. Cover the dish for 30 minutes.
  • Save a few sprigs of cilantro for garnishing, then add the rest of the cup and stir. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning according to preference. Add salt and pepper, jalapeno, and one more teaspoon of harissa.
  • Add fish and sprinkle a cup of tomatoes on top. Increase heat to simmer, then reduce to low. Cook for 7-8 minutes. Add 3 more minutes if the fillets are thick. (Cover the dish if necessary—perfect for one inch thick fillets).
  • Garnish with cilantro that was set aside. Serve family style on the table.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 274mg | Potassium: 796mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1452IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 3
Keywords Diabetic-Friendly, High Protein, Low-Carb, Seafood

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Alison Borel

Alison Borel came into the culinary world by owning and operating three family restaurants with her husband in San Diego. During that time, she tested, wrote, and taught all the recipes used by her team. She also led cooking classes for small groups. Familiar with vegan and vegetarian cuisine from working in an organic cafe and camp, her preference lies in a plant-based whole foods diet. Alison knows eating for longevity and nutrition not only tastes good, but feels good too.

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1 Comment

  1. It was delicious. I used store bought harissa. I don’t see how garlic be sauteed without oil, so used 1 tbsp olive oil.

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