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Low Carb Mexican Fish Veracruz

Low Carb Mexican Fish Veracruz
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This elegant, but simple dinner recipe blends Mediterranean cuisine with the abundant seafood found in Veracruz, a region that lies along the Gulf of Mexico.  Any flaky white fish works well in this low carb fish dinner, but the fish most often associated with this coastal Mexican dish is red snapper. 

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Low carb fish veracruz dinner in iron skillet
Low carb fish veracruz dinner in iron skillet

The Sauce without Chile Peppers

The sauce is the star of this dish, made with lightly simmered onions, tomatoes, olives, capers and a little dry sherry or white wine. 

It is one of the few Mexican sauces that doesn’t call for chile peppers, although pickled jalapeños are frequently seen in a Veracruz sauce.

I added a little smoky chile spice, which complemented the full flavors of the olives, capers and tomatoes, adding a bit of complexity to the dish.

Ingredients for Cod Veracruz
Ingredients for Cod Veracruz

Golden raisins are sometimes added to a Veracruz sauce to cut the acidity and add a bit of sweetness. Raisins are quite high in sugar so I left them out.

Which Fish is Best with a Veracruz Styled Dish?

Almost any white fish can be used in this dish.  I used frozen cod, as I live in Minnesota which is a landlocked state. Other fish that works well with Veracruz include:

  • Tilapia
  • Red snapper
  • Halibut
  • Barramundi
  • Flounder
  • Catfish

What Makes this Dish so Exceptional?

Closeup of Cod Veracruz in a skillet
Closeup of Cod Veracruz in a skillet

The standout flavor of this dish comes from combining the mild flavor of tender, flaky white fish with the robust flavors of olives and capers.  I added red peppers to my version because I wanted to add a few more nutrients, but this is not a typical variation. 

Here are a few other things that make this dish exceptional:

  • It is made with dry sherry rather than white wine for a bit more acidity. 
  • It is a truly easy dish with very little chopping, no lengthy cooking and stirring and easy to find ingredients.  It is one of those recipes that actually does come together in under 30-minutes.
  • It’s low carb and packed with nutrients.
  • It can be a casual weeknight dinner or an elegant dinner for entertaining.
  • And finally, the Fish Veracruz sauce is versatile and great to pair the next day with another seafood protein like scallops, salmon or mussels.

And since I make smoked pepper blends, I added a bit of chile spice I had on hand.  I chose a mild smoked ancho/pasilla blend and it was perfect IMHO.

All in all, fish Veracruz is a delicious blend of Old World and New World ingredients!

For another classic Mexican fish recipe that is exceptional, try this Mexican Fish Stew It is perfect for using frozen fish.

Serve this dish with:

Typically this dish would be served with potatoes, grains or rustic breads. It really doesn’t need carbs to be a filling and tasty dinner however.

I have become so accustomed to eating proteins with flavorful sauces on their own that I rarely miss the rice or potatoes.

If you are serving different dietary palates at your table, feel free to add some roasted potatoes or some hearty rustic bread to sop up the juices!

Low Carb Cod Veracruz

Low carb fish veracruz dinner in iron skillet
This is a easy way to cook a low carb fish dinner that is full of robust flavor and easily modified to your particular dietary needs.
4.86 from 7 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 3
Calories 624
Author dorothy stainbrook



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced (can use garlic from a jar)
  • 1 tsp cumin ground (boost the flavor by toasting the seeds first and then grinding)
  • 1 tsp mild smoky chile spice (I used an ancho/pasilla blend)
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 cup green olives pitted and sliced in half
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry (alternatively can use white wine)
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1.5-2 lbs cod fillets
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • parsley minced, optional- for garnish


  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high.  Add the onions and peppers and saute until onions are caramelized (about 7-10 minutes).
  • Add the garlic and saute with the onion mix for about 30 seconds.  Then add the spices, olives, capers, sherry, and tomatoes and simmer over medium to low heat about 20 minutes.
  • Salt and pepper the cod filets and nestle them into the skillet.  Spoon some of the sauce over the filets, cover the skillet and raise the heat a bit to medium-low.  Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the fish is flake apart easily.
  • Drizzle lime juice over the fish and serve.  Garnish with parsley if desired.


Calories: 624kcalCarbohydrates: 55.4gProtein: 49.1gFat: 27.3gSugar: 10g
Did you make this recipe?If you tried this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! To do this, just click on the stars above. And don’t forget to tag me at @dorothy_stainbrook_heathglen, if you share a picture on Instagram! You can also tag me at #heathglen!

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