Scampi Tilapia – $5 Dinner Challenge

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on August 2, 2010

I dug some tilapia fillets out of the freezer. I bounced out to the garden to pick some fresh parsley from the garden, thinking I was going to do the same old Lemon-Dill Tilapia thing (that’s my fall back for when I’m feeling uninspired)…but of course, I opened the fridge to grab the lemon juice…and the garlic bulb practically jumped off the shelf!

Parsley, lemon juice, garlic…Scampi, of course!

Snatched the butter (dairy-free margarine, really) and off I went to make a little something to pour atop the tilapia fillets.

Ended up being fairly simple. And oh my heavens, tasty too!

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Scampi Tilapia

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 15-20 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice ($.60)
  • 12 oz. bag frozen tilapia fillets ($2.99)
  • 1/4 cup butter/margarine ($.25)
  • 3 large garlic cloves ($.15)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice ($.05)
  • Fresh parsley from the garden
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 oz. bag of peas ($.88)


  • Cook the brown rice as directed on package.
  • Put the tilapia fillets into a greased, glass baking dish.

  • Melt the butter/margarine.

  • Crush the garlic and add to the melted butter with the lemon juice and chopped parsley.

  • Pour over the fillets. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until fish is white and flaky in the middle. (Be warned…your house will smell uh-mazing while the scampi tilapia is baking!)
  • Cook the peas as directed on package.
  • Serve Scampi Tilapia Fillets with Brown Rice and Peas.

Cost $4.92

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa August 2, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Your fish looks delicious. I am always looking for new ways to prepare fish. Thanks. And thanks for the linky.


Kristia@FamilyBalanceSheet August 2, 2010 at 6:52 pm

This sounds delicious and I love that it is so simple.

Thanks for the linky.


Gina August 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm

That sounds yummy! What brand of dairy-free margarine are you using? I need to find one because one of my kids is about to start an elimination diet.


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm


I use Smart Balance with Flax Oil. It’s dairy free. And the cheapest that I have found too.


Shonda August 2, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Just the inspiration I was needing! Spent the day at the pool and I wanted something easy and light – found tilapia in the freezer and came to your website! I did have to substitute couscous and steamed green beans! Thanks so much for the delicious recipe!


karen August 2, 2010 at 7:03 pm

fish looks yum! I do noticed that when you buy frozen fish you are NOT getting your money’s worth. (as in vaccum packed) and that makes me REALLY mad. :(


marisa August 2, 2010 at 7:07 pm

thanks for the recipe! I ruined my last tilapia dish..long I’m excited about this easy one!


susan August 2, 2010 at 8:00 pm

oh my gravy that looks SOOOOO good!!! gonna have to go buy some fish to try it.


Robin August 2, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Great recipe! Thanks for hosting!


Holly August 2, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Thank you for this Talapia recipe! I was just wondering how I was going to prepare my fish for tomorrow’s dinner, when I found your post! I can’t wait to try it!


Queen of the House August 3, 2010 at 8:52 am

You have inspired me! I never make fish because I feel like I really don’t know how to tell if it is really done. My husband would absolutely love it if I would fix some for us! This dish looks very yummy! :)
Does tilapia have bones you need to be concerned about?


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm

@Queen of the House,

No bones in the tilapia fillets I buy!


Elizabeth August 3, 2010 at 10:01 am

Do you cook the fish from frozen? Or does it have to be thawed? (Because if it’s frozen, I know what I’m having for dinner tonight!)


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm


I cooked mine from mostly frozen. I had it thawing for a bit in the fridge.


Genessa August 3, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I do a similar tilapia using Johnny’s Great Caesar Garlic Spread and Seasoning (huge jar from Costco). The kids love it.


Melinda August 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Thanks for posting this. I’m always looking for new ways to prepare fish.


Natalie August 4, 2010 at 10:28 am

I made this last night for supper, it was fantastic!! Thanks for the recipe!!


Cricket August 4, 2010 at 11:36 am

I started a blog a month ago and $5.00 dinners is my Monday topic. How funny to find an entire blog dedicated to this today! Now I have a much better resource than my very simple minded tastebuds :-)


Josephine February 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm

super easy had it for dinner last nite. delicious and healthy.


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