Recipe Redo: Shelley’s Blackened Mahi Bowl

Do you have a favorite family recipe, or restaurant meal that you know is not the best for you, but you just can’t help yourself? If so, send it on over and I will send you back a version that doesn’t lack in flavor, just in fat and calories. This recipe redo comes from Shelley in Colorado. Shelley writes:

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Hi Amanda!
I have a request that I’m hoping you can help me with, since you are my source of healthy living tips. I absolutely love the Bonzai Bowl at Wahoo’s Fish Taco and thought it was reasonably healthy (fish, rice, black beans, and veggies seemed healthy to me) but today I discovered that one bowl has 1153 calories! I am hoping you can help me recreate this delicacy in my own kitchen and slim it down.

The bowl consists of blackened fish (wahoo or mahi mahi), black beans, white rice, veggies (zucchini, bell pepper), and banzai sauce (it’s a light green sauce with green flecks, possibly cilantro-based). Although I think I’m a decent cook, I don’t even know what spices to use to blacken a piece of fish much less how to slim down this monster caloric conundrum.

This is something about restaurant eating that is so tricky – things may sound healthy at first glance, but when you cannot control everything that goes into a dish, it is easy to sneak fat, calories and sodium into dishes. Somewhere along the line restaurant chefs are taught that food just doesn’t taste good without a bunch of butter and salt.

One good thing about Wahoo’s is that they offer their nutritional information online. This is the single greatest tool we have when eating out. Before heading out to eat, see if the restaurant has their nutrition information online – or at least their menu. Be prepared, so you don’t make a last minute (unhealthy) decision. Looking at the Bonzai Bowl’s nutrition facts, there is more to worry about than just the 1153 calories. The bowl also has 2120 mg of sodium which is almost a full day’s allotment for sodium. While the website doesn’t have information on the size of the bowl, I can guess that these must be quite large. If you cannot make the made-over Bonzai Bowl, there are some healthier choices you can make at Wahoo’s. Some ideas include the Blackened Fish Kid’s Bowl or the Blackened Chopped Salad.

The great thing about this recipe redo is, like you said, there are lots of healthy things in the Bonzai Bowl. The place we get into trouble is the way it is prepared and the quantity of food at Wahoo’s. Below is the recipe redo. Enjoy!

Modernation’s Blackened Mahi Bowl (serves 1)
1 (6 oz.) filet mahi, or other mild white fish (such as talapia, snapper, cod, halibut)
1 Tablespoon blackening spice (recipe below – or buy bottled blackening spice)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup yellow onion, sliced
1/4 cup zucchini sliced
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/4 cup cilantro avocado cream sauce (recipe below)

1. Heat pan over medium high heat. Season both sides of fish with blackening spice. Coat pan with cooking spray.
2. Cook fish 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and let rest.
Coat pan with cooking spray again and add onion, broccoli, peppers, and zucchini to pan. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add rice and black beans. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Spoon vegetable mixture into bowl. Top with cilantro avocado cream and fish

For Sauce
1 ripe avocado
juice of one lime
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup light sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Blackening Spice
2 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
2 1/2 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil

Mix all ingredient and keep in sealed spice jar for future use on chicken or fish.

The Results

Before: Wahoo’s Blackened Fish Bonzai Bowl
1152 calories
19 grams fat
2120 mg sodium

After: Modernation’s Blackened Mahi Bowl
574 calories
13 grams fat
768 mg sodium

If you have a recipe you would like to submit for a Recipe Redo, email me at


2 thoughts on “Recipe Redo: Shelley’s Blackened Mahi Bowl

  1. […] My First Recipe Redo […]

  2. Just read this again as part of your “Oldies But Goodies” 1 year blogiversary post. I still love it and will have to make it again soon to celebrate your blogiversary. Thanks!

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