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This hearty shrimp and fish stew is inspired by cioppino, an Italian-American dish that originated in San Francisco. Serve with crusty bread to soak up every last bit of the savory broth.

Diabetic Living Magazine


Credit: Christine Ma

Recipe Summary

30 mins
30 mins

How to Make Shrimp & Fish Stew

This tomato-based fish stew inspired by Italian-American cioppino is easy to pull together. Once you get the hang of making it, you can come up with your own version of fish stew to suit your taste. Here's how you make an easy fish stew:

The Seafood

We call for a combination of cod and shrimp in this recipe. Cod is a white fish with a mild flavor that won't overpower the other flavors of the dish. Seabass is similar and a good alternative. If you want to experiment with a meatier fish, mahi-mahi or halibut will work well too. Whatever fish you choose, be sure to remove the skin (or have it removed at the fish counter) and cut the pieces into similar sizes so they cook evenly. To add texture, we also use shrimp. To save time, we recommend buying shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined. We cut the shrimp in half lengthwise so they cook quickly and are easier to eat with a spoon. Other seafood to consider adding to fish stew are scallops (large ones halved), calamari, mussels and/or clams.

The Vegetables

Fish stew should really highlight seafood, but a few vegetables with a mild flavor profile can round out the flavors of the broth and add texture to the soup as a whole. Chopped onion is always a good bet followed up with celery to complement the flavors. If you want to experiment, other vegetables that work well in fish stew are leeks, fennel, potatoes and sweet peppers.

The Broth

We call for reduced-sodium chicken broth as the base of our soup. Chicken broth has a mild yet savory flavor that works surprisingly well in fish stew. Seafood stock as well as clam juice are good alternatives flavor-wise, but keep in mind they tend to be much higher in sodium. A splash of white wine adds depth and a little tanginess. Opt for a dry white wine like pinto grigio to prevent the soup from becoming too sweet, or skip the wine altogether and add extra broth in its place. Diced tomatoes give the broth a bright flavor while tomato sauce adds body. We suggest using no-salt-added canned tomato products to keep sodium in check (You can always add salt later.) Tomatoes are an essential part of cioppino, but not all fish stews have them. You can skip the tomatoes completely and enjoy a clear brothy stew or add a splash of heavy cream to give the stew a creamy finish.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cut fish into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Cut shrimp in half lengthwise. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Carefully stir in 1 cup broth and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in drained tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, salt and pepper. Return to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes.

  • Gently stir in fish and shrimp. Return to a boil then immediately reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the fish flakes easily with a fork and shrimp are opaque, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving
165 calories; protein 19g; carbohydrates 12g; dietary fiber 2g; fat 4g; saturated fat 1g; cholesterol 87mg; sodium 459mg.

2 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 1/2 fat