Lighter Cajun Tilapia Sandwich with Bacon & Lime Mayo

by Andie Mitchell on August 3, 2014

cajun tilapia sandwich


I think when you begin to love someone, it’s just part of the natural progression of things to probe them endlessly to figure out everything they like to eat. And everything they hate, too.

I ask questions about food preferences immediately — in friendships, in love – mostly because, well, let’s not get hurt later on.


cajun tilapia sandwich


“Cake or pie?” And they think, even when the answer’s easy. “But if you were forced, at which of the fast food chains would you eat for the rest of your life?” They shudder. “Which doughnut really defines you, though?” I judge them.

It’s all very routine.

cajun tilapia


With Kate, with Sabrina, with Daniel, anyone I’ve ever adored or admired or wished would love me back but didn’t — I asked this weird series of questions. Coming to know who they are, in taste alone, is like a form of intimacy. An acceptance of quirks and desires but also of boundaries. A way for me to navigate the one essential question, which is: “What can I cook for you?”

I pray it won’t be pasta. God please not pasta.

cajun tilapia sandwich


And then, of course, there’s the matter of the clash. We just can’t like the same things all the time, at least not all the way. Kate will always like ice cream cake. Sabrina will crave things doused in vinegar and hot sauce. My family will scrub the counter with my tofu. Daniel will insist that Qdoba is better than Chipotle, even when there’s quite simply no way.


cajun tilapia sandwich


And not a one of them will indulge in any seafood outside of the safe New England net of shrimp, scallops, lobster, and haddock. Salmon? No. Not tilapia, not sea bass, not halibut, certainly not mahi mahi.

So here I am. Making cajun tilapia for one. Not sad, just something. We do what we want, don’t we?

This sandwich. First, it’s loaded with flavor, which I know we all love. Step one is to create a straightforward cajun spice blend that you can store in a small jar for later use on fish, chicken, pork…anything. It’s fantastic. Added to that bold, spicy kick is bacon, which is always a joy, isn’t it? Salty and crisp and a perfect companion for the flaky tilapia. A quick cilantro lime cream is smeared on the top bun to marry all of the flavors.

Lighter Cajun Tilapia Sandwich with Bacon & Lime Mayo

Yield: 4 Sandwiches

Serving Size: 1 Sandwich

Calories per serving: 350

Fat per serving: 16.8g


    For the Cajun Spice Blend:
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • For the Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise:
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (recommended: Hellmann’s)
  • 2 tablespoons 2% Greek yogurt (recommended: Fage)
  • juice of half a lime or 1 tablespoon
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
  • For the fish:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cajun spice blend
  • 4 filets of tilapia (1 lb)
  • 4 slices bacon (recommended: Applegate Farms Uncured Sunday Bacon)
  • 1 medium vine-ripe tomato, sliced
  • 4 leaves of romaine or butter lettuce
  • 4 hamburger buns, split


  1. Make the spice blend: Mix all spices/herbs together until blended. Store in an airtight container and use on fish, poultry, pork, or beef. (Makes about 1/4 cup).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the sandwiches.
  3. Sprinkle both sides of each tilapia filet generously with the cajun spice blend, pressing gently to coat. Put the coated filets on a plate while you make the bacon.
  4. Heat a large fry pan over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and leave 1 tablespoon of bacon grease to the hot pan to cook the fish.
  5. Add as many of the filets to the hot pan as can fit, and cook until the underside is crisp and browned, 3 minutes. Gently flip the filets and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove the filets to a clean plate. If any filets stand to be cooked, add a teaspoon of oil to the pan, swirl to coat, and cook for 3 minutes per side. You may consider lowering the heat to prevent burning.
  6. Assemble the sandwiches by laying the hamburger buns on a clean work surface and smearing 1 tablespoon cilantro-lime mayo on the (face-up) top sides of each. On the bottom halves, layer a leaf of romaine, slice or two of tomato, 1 tilapia filet, and 1 slice of bacon (folded in half or cut in half to cover more area). Top with the mayo-smeared halves and serve immediately.


Nutrition Information for 1 Sandwich (1 filet, 1 slice bacon, 1 tablespoon mayo, lettuce, tomato, and 100-calorie burger bun): Calories: 350, Total Fat: 16.8g, Total Carbohydrate: 23.7g, Fiber: 5.9g, Sugars: 3.7g, Protein: 32.7g


Now it’s your turn: What do you make that’s just for you?




Weight Loss Inspiration

  • it was me all along
    My book, It Was Me All Along, is available for preorder!
    Monday, June 23rd, 2014 | 94 responses Comments

    There really aren’t cards I could send with meaningful enough words — I’ve looked. Thank you for blowing me away with unimaginable kindness. With love the size of Alaska. I read all of your comments, your emails, tweets, Instagram comments, and more, and I was sweating from the warmth. I’v…


  • dd1032a8-56ac-46a9-84e2-48e9c72640cf_zps8811203f
    Losing and Gaining…and Accepting Myself at Every Weight
    Monday, June 9th, 2014 | 241 responses Comments

    [All of the pictures of me in this post were taken within the past 10 days.]
    June 1st marks the 9 year anniversary — do we call it that? — of when I began my weight loss journey. Nine. Five minutes ago I was in college, then out of college and a terrible under-flaired waitress at Outback Steakh…


  • photo 2 (4)
    Putting My Mom on a Diet: 1 Year Later
    Sunday, June 1st, 2014 | 55 responses Comments

    Guys and dolls: remember Mom? The one who birthed me, raised me with an unfailing sweet tooth, dressed me in stirrup pants and mock turtlenecks until 6th grade, and continues to ladle guilt upon me like only a good Irish Catholic mother can? Yes, that’s the one. Mom.
    Well, you might also rememb…


  • calf
    On eating meat
    Sunday, March 9th, 2014 | 72 responses Comments

    photo by Kevin Dooley
    I, Andie Mitchell, am crazy about animals. So let’s start there. I’m one of those annoying people who emails friends with the latest video of a squirrel and a duck playing together. I can’t pass a dog on the street without breaking into a wide-eyed grin and saying hello in t…


  • brunch
    Eating Healthy Most of the Time Is Good Enough
    Thursday, February 20th, 2014 | 54 responses Comments

    photo by kris krug
    During my many years of ups and downs [and ups and ups and downs and ups get it], one of the most common patterns I created was starting a diet on a Monday and then falling off the wagon on Saturday. Once I “cheated” on the plan, I’d feel like it was pointless to co…


  • 3572721567_2dd289b138
    Thoughts on The Biggest Loser, from Someone Who Has Lost Over 100 Pounds
    Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 | 54 responses Comments

    So there’s this show. The Biggest Loser. Maybe you watch it? I know I’ve mentioned it a few times in the past, but I’ve never really written at length about how I feel about it. I’d love to know how you feel.

    Let’s start with the basics: TBL follows a simple formula: Two groups of obese men…


  • food addiction
    Is Food an Addiction?
    Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 | 59 responses Comments

    photo by Angelo De Santis

    I know, I know. It’s been debated. Extensively. In medicine, in nutrition–does compulsive and/or binge eating qualify as an addiction? While both eating behaviors tend to share many of the same traits as other addictions (loss of control, adverse health and so…


  • turkey wrap
    Should you drink diet soda if you want to lose weight?
    Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 | 84 responses Comments

    photo by Alejandro Mallea
    Those of you who follow the blog know that my biggest weakness when it comes to food is sugar. In terms of pure visceral enjoyment, cake may very well be my favorite meal (trust me, it can be a meal). So when I began to turn my health around and cut back on sweets, I turne…