Try a healthy option: Halibut En Papillote with Papaya Salsa

July 15, 2016

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian with Providence Health

Learning how to modify recipes can be scary. But practice can increase your confidence.

By working with the chef in our Providence Cooks! class, I have become much less worried about measuring and being exact in my cooking. Unless I am baking, of course, which does require precise measurements. But in all my other kitchen undertakings, I have gotten much more adventurous.

Usually the fat, salt and sugar can be decreased without sacrificing flavor. Cut back on some ingredients, or eliminate them.

Most of the time I cut the salt out in the cooking process and lightly add it at the table. In the beginning, I would measure out a teaspoon of salt and see how many meals I would be able to stretch the teaspoon to; now I can lightly add salt without the fear of adding too much.

Try to add new ingredients to your old standard recipes, and you might find a very healthy option! In this week’s recipe, I would decrease the salt in the fish to help improve the numbers. If you decide that you want to try the original recipe, I might balance out the sodium by having some fresh roasted veggies with no salt.

Remember, it is all about moderation – try your culinary skills by changing one of your recipes this week!

Halibut En Papillote with Papaya Salsa

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 1 medium papaya, seeded and diced
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Fish Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (decrease to ¼ tsp., or skip)
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 6-ounce halibut fillets


  • Heat oven to 350 F.
  • Make salsa in a medium bowl by gently stirring the salsa ingredients. Set aside.
  • Make marinade for fish in a small bowl by stirring together the oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and cilantro.
  • Fold four 18-inch-square pieces of parchment paper in half to make a crease in the center.
  • Place one fish fillet lengthwise next to the crease on a piece of parchment.
  • Drizzle fillet with 1 ½ tbsp. of cilantro lime oil, then fold parchment paper over the fish.
  • Starting at one end and repeating on all open sides, make small, tight, overlapping folds in the parchment to create a sealed packet around the fish.
  • Repeat with remaining parchment and fillets.
  • Place packets on a baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.
  • Serve each fillet with ½ cup salsa.

Nutrition information: 351 Calories; 16 grams fat; 102 mg. cholesterol; 1,577 mg. sodium and 39 grams protein.

Recipe developed by Cara Rosenbloom


This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.

"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."

 – a Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular