Skip to Content

Pistachio Crusted Tuna Steaks: (with Options for Red Snapper)

Pistachio Crusted Tuna Steaks: (with Options for Red Snapper)
Home » Recipes by Ingredients » Fish and Seafood » Pistachio crust on tuna fillets

This is an easy, delicious way to bring a low carb fish dinner to the table in a hurry! This recipe uses ground pistachio nuts to form a crust, or the “breading”, for fish filets. A nut crust is an great option for many kinds of fish (salmon, cod, red snapper, tuna). The recipe below uses the pistachio nut crust on tuna and pairs it with a sour cream sauce.

Jump to: RECIPE | Best Fish for Nut Breading | Illustrated Step by Step | How to Tell When Fish is Done | Best Nuts to Use for Crusts | What to Serve with Breaded Fish

Seared tuna filets with pistachio crust and sour cream sauce
Pistachio crusted tuna with sour cream sauce

This post may contain affiliate links, and you can read our disclosure information here– 

What kind of Fish is Best for Nut Crusts?

Just about any kind of fish filet can work with a nut crust. Just be aware of the thickness of the filets. Tilapia, sole, catfish, perch and other thin filets will cook very quickly, whereas salmon, cod and sea bass and sometimes red snapper tend to be thicker and will take longer to cook.

Ingredients for pistachio crusted red snapper.
Ingredients for pistachio crusted red snapper

Cod is the most common type of fish filet to make with a nut crust. This is partially because it is a thicker filet and partially because it is fairly bland and needs dressing up.

I chose tuna for the recipe below because I had some in the freezer, and also because it is robust enough to stand up to a pistachio nut crust, which is the nut I wanted to use. Here are the ingredients for the pistachio crusted tuna along with the sour cream sauce:

Ingredients on counter to make pistachio crusted tuna
Ingredients for pistachio crusted tuna: onion, panko, pistachios, white wine, lemon juice, sour cream, mustard, salt & tuna

Illustrated Steps:

These steps are the same no matter what fish you use. Here are the basic process steps:

1/3 cup of shelled pistachio nuts in a food processor with panko and dill on the side.
Step #1: Pulse pistachio nuts in a food processor until they are a crumb without big chunks of nuts, but not a paste
Bowl of ground pistachio nuts, 1/4 cup of panko, a teaspoon of dill and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Step #2: In a bowl mix together ground pistachios, panko, dill, and salt
2 large red snapper filets coated with a pistachio nut crust.
Step #3: Sprinkle the fish with oil, and then rub the pistachio coating over both sides
2 red snapper filets sautéed in a pistachio nut crust.
Step #4: Cook the fish in a skillet in hot oil about 2-3 minutes per side

How Can You Tell When Fish is Done?

The trick with seafood is always how long to cook it. It is really easy to overcook fish and it can get very rubbery if overcooked.

The best way to tell if most fish fillets are done is by testing it with a fork (this excludes tuna). Insert the fork at an angle, at the thickest point, and twist gently. The fish will flake easily when it’s done, and it will lose its translucent or raw appearance.⁠

Looking at the texture and the “translucency” is the easiest way to tell if your fish is done, and it gets easier with practice. Keep in mind that fish continues to cook for a couple minutes after you take it off the heat.

If you want to get more technical, a conservative rule of thumb is to cook fish to an internal temperature of 120 degrees. If your fish is freshwater or lake fish cook to a higher temperature (130 to 140 F), to avoid any potential parasites.

Also, know that medium-to-fatty fish with a firmer texture and richer flavor (like cod, salmon, or swordfish) can withstand more heat and therefore lend themselves to grilling or broiling.⁠

Tuna is a fish that is frequently undercooked to keep it’s texture. Notice the pink color in the photo below. A great recipe for tuna without the nut crust, but still undercooked, is Seared Tuna with Balsamic Glaze.

Tuna filets with pistachio crust in cast iron skillet
Pistachio crusted tuna filets
Side view of pistachio crusted tuna filet
Side view of pistachio crusted tuna filet

Another excellent low carb tuna dish, but without a nut crust is this seared tuna with a balsamic glaze.

What Kind of Nuts Work Best for Breading?

The caution for using nuts as a crust is they have a tendency to burn. Since the cooking process for fish is usually shorter it shouldn’t burn, but if cooking on the stovetop, cook over medium-high rather than high heat.

Red snapper filet sautéed  with a pistachio crust and a side of lemon slices.
Pistachio crusted red snapper

Any ground up nut will work for the crust. Here are a few of the more popular nuts to use:

  • pistachio nuts
  • mix of pistachio and panko
  • pecans
  • walnuts
  • macadamia nuts

What to Serve with a Nut-Crusted Fish Dinner

Making an entire healthy dinner with nut-crusted fish can be quick for weeknight dinners or a little more fancy for guests or special occasions. Below are some suggested side dishes that work well for casual or fancy!

Complementary Vegetable Side Dishes

Vegetables are the crux of a good Pesco Mediterranean diet (and most diets for that matter). Here are a few of my favorite veggies to pair with nut-crusted fish:

Complementary Grain Side Dishes

Because I am coming from a long-term lifestyle of low carb eating, I don’t usually include grains with my dinners. If you are eating for health and not weight loss however, whole grain side dishes are great, especially if complemented with vegetables.

  • Couscous
  • quinoa
  • roasted potato wedges
  • brown rice

Complementary Sauces

The nutty crust of the fish pairs beautifully with a wide variety of creamy sauces. Here are a few of my favorites, from low carb to tropical to sweet:

  • Simple Dijon cream sauce: 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup dijon mustard, salt and pepper — heated and stirred over low heat for 3 minutes
  • Tropical sauce of coconut milk, lime juice and jalapenos
  • Sweet mango sauce with pear juice and coconut cream (quite sweet)
  • Sour cream dill sauce: see recipe below

Enjoy this Recipe? Here are a Few More Healthy Fish Dinners:

Fish tacos with an avocado cream sauce

Plum Sauce for Fish Dinners

Low Carb Mexican Fish Veracruz

Cod with Spanish Pil Pil Sauce

Recipe for Pistachio Crusted Fish with Sour Cream Sauce

Pistachio Crusted Tuna

Seared tuna filets with pistachio crust and sour cream sauce
Using nuts as a “breading” for fish is a great way to add flavor and texture. This recipe uses ground pistachios as a crust for tuna filets, but any nut can be used with a wide range of different fish filets
4.72 from 7 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Servings 2
Calories 209

Equipment

Ingredients

For the Sour Cream Sauce:

  • ¼ cup chopped onion finely chopped
  • 2 bay leafs
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt Add more if desired

For the Tuna:

  • cup shelled pistachios finely chopped in food processor
  • ¼ cup panko
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 4-ounce tuna steaks about 1-1 1/4 inches thick

Instructions
 

For the Sauce:

  • Place chopped onion, bay leafs and wine in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce over med-high heat until the wine is almost evaporated, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard bay leafs.
    1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 bay leafs, ½ cup white wine
  • In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon dill, mustard and 1/4 teaspoon salt. 
    Add the reduced onion/wine mixture to the bowl and stir in. This is the sauce.
    3 tablespoons sour cream, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon dried dill, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Tuna:

  • Place pistachios in food processor or blender and pulse or mix until finely ground.
    In a separate medium to large bowl, add the chopped pistachios, panko, the remaining 1 teaspoon dill and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir together thoroughly.
    Pat the tuna filets dry and then sprinkle a bit of olive oil over them and rub it in. Dredge both sides of the tuna in the pistachio mixture pressing it in so that it sticks.
    1/3 cup shelled pistachios, 1/4 cup panko, 1 Teaspoon dried dill, 1/4 Teaspoon salt
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coated tuna filets and sear until golden brown, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning.
    After 2 to 3 minutes flip the filets and cook the other side 2-3 minutes for medium-rare. Use tongs to turn over so that nut breading doesn’t fall off.
    Do not overcook. Serve with the lemon-dill sauce.
    1 Tablespoon olive oil, 4 4-ounce tuna steaks

Video

Notes

**NOTE: The caution for using nuts as a crust is they have a tendency to burn. Since the cooking process for fish is usually shorter and since the recipe below is baked vs. seared, it shouldn’t burn.   Just don’t cook over too high of heat, use medium-high.

Nutrition

Calories: 209kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 6gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 672mgPotassium: 339mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 189IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 2mg
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!

Online Diet/Health Coaching:

Although I am not currently taking clients for diet & health coaching, I have been a coach for many years with the online service called coach.me. It is a great platform for all kinds of coaching – anything from specific diets, writing a blog, getting up early, or getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  

There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Contact me at [email protected] to get a referral to some of the tested, experienced online coaches on Coach.me

If you’d like to start with a plan for a low carb or keto lifestyle, check out this detailed guide in ebook form. It may be all you need to lose weight on this lifestyle. Or it may be used as a supplement to one-to-one coaching.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Jane

Friday 22nd of July 2022

Side dishes are “complementary”, not “complimentary”.

dorothy stainbrook

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Thank you. I will fix that!

Deb Seuren

Friday 8th of April 2022

We have a new favorite! This was amazing….and on the table in 30 minutes! We added a chopped Asian salad. Perfection!

dorothy stainbrook

Friday 8th of April 2022

I’m so glad it turned out for you, and I appreciate you telling me that it actually took 30 minutes. The timing is always such a guess because some cooks are really careful, some are beginners and some just do it their own way anyway. So appreciate the feedback.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.