Recipes often call for tilapia because it's easy to find, neutral in flavor and inexpensive. Objections to tilapia abound, though, with critics pointing to questionable farm-raising practices and its inferior nutrition when compared to other fish. If you'd rather skip tilapia altogether, but not compromise the outcome of your recipe, substitute any other white, lean and flaky fish. Depending on your needs, good choices include black sea bass, catfish, flounder, orange roughy, red snapper and rainbow trout.
How to Decide
If your recipe calls for the fillets to hold together, such as in a soup or as fried strips, avoid red snapper, which tends to be flakier and less firm than tilapia, and choose grouper or orange roughy instead. If you're after a substitute that offers a more beneficial fatty acid profile, choose trout. Tilapia isn't inherently unhealthy, though. Even farmed versions offer some omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain and heart health, and are a lean source of protein.