15 ratings

Easy Poached Fish With Tomatoes and Couscous

Easy Poached Fish with Tomatoes and Couscous Recipe

Yasmin Fahr

An easy, healthy, and filling recipe that doesn't break the bank — and tastes delicious. When coming up with a recipe that would serve (and satisfy) two people for less than $10, I was a little worried because I wanted to include a protein in the dish without going over budget.

After an extensive conversation with my fishmonger, I settled on lemon sole even though I had initially wanted tilapia (they didn't have any that day). While the fish most likely increased the cost a little, I still made the cut. If you're just looking to make this dish for fun (which is always encouraged), then feel free to add some spinach or ribbons of Swiss chard to the dish. But even as is, it's absolutely delicious! (And spending less on dinner makes me feel more justified in splurging on an expensive bottle of wine.)

Total cost: $7.31


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced ($.10)
  • 7 ½ ounces canned tomatoes (half of a 15-ounce can) ($.75)
  • ½ cup water 
  • Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne, to taste (optional)
  • About 1/3 pound lemon sole or other thin white fish ($5.16)
  • 1 Thai chile pepper, sliced thinly ($.30) (optional)
  • ¾ cup couscous, cooked according to the package instructions ($1.00)


In a shallow pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When shimmering, add the garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes, until it browns slightly. Add the tomatoes and the water and bring to a simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne if using. 

While the sauce comes to a simmer, rub the fish with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then add it to the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the fish. 

When the fish is cooked through, remove the pan from the heat. Add the chile if using. Divde the couscous onto 2 plates and place equal-size pieces of the fish on each plate and top with the tomato sauce. Season with more pepper and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.