The Feast of the Seven Fishes is the most celebrated Italian-American meal of the year. It’s served on Christmas Eve and traditionally features at least seven different seafood dishes from appetizers to main courses. The tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve comes from the Roman Catholic custom of not eating meat on the eve of certain holidays. As far as what the number seven symbolizes, there’s not a consensus, but some say it symbolizes the seven sacraments of the Catholic church. There are also no hard and fast rules for celebrating this tradition. The type of fish or number of courses served is up to you. You don’t even need to be Italian to host your own holiday seafood feast, you just need a menu that includes fish. Here are some traditional recipes as well as some quick and easy recipes to help you plan your own Feast of the Seven Fishes menu.
Fast or Slow Seafood Cioppino
Keep meal prep simple with this easy fish stew that’s made in your Instant Pot or slow cooker. This ultimate comfort food is full of tomatoes and your favorite firm white fish, shrimp, crab meat and clam juice. It packs in the proteins and can easily be prepared so you have time to prep the rest of your holiday meal.
Spaghetti with Clams
If you love linguine with clams, you’ll love this seafood pasta. The flavor of the clams themselves really shine through. The simple sauce of olive oil, shallots, white wine, crushed red pepper, and broth is easy to make so you’ll be finished with meal prep in no time.
Mixed Seafood Paella
It’s the holidays, so impress your guests with this seafood paella recipe that’s loaded with clams, mussels, and squid. In just one hour, this quick and easy seafood recipe will give you a feast with saffron-flavored rice cooked with seafood, and vegetables.
Seared Scallops and Baby Spinach with Spiced Pomegranate Glaze
Turn up the elegance of your holiday meal with quick-cooking scallops. The red, sweet pomegranate glaze and the green, sautéed spinach provides a festive holiday touch.
Test Kitchen Tip: Look for sea scallops at the fish counter which are larger and easier to grill than bay scallops.
Bucatini with Shrimp and Spicy Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce
Create this flavorful meal of bucatini noodles and shrimp in just 30 minutes. It’s easy to cook shrimp to tender perfection in this skillet recipe that is flavored with garlic, crushed red pepper, tomatoes, and a full cup of basil. Top it with feta cheese for an added salty richness.
Lemony Mussels with Cherry Tomatoes and Potatoes
Kick up the flavor of mussels with this impressive shellfish recipe that’s easy to cook at home. You’ll love how fancy this seafood dinner looks with the mussels, tomatoes, and potatoes braising in a citrus and white wine sauce. You can prep this recipe in 15 minutes and choose to cook it fast in the pressure cooker or slow in your slow cooker.
Salmon Kabobs with Cucumber-Feta Salsa
Add some grilled salmon to your holiday menu with this healthy Mediterranean dinner recipe. The flavorful salmon kabobs are marinated in a white balsamic vinaigrette dressing and infused with lemon juice as they grill. Top it all off with a refreshing cucumber salsa that’s made with feta, mint, and dill.
Lobster Mac and Cheese Casserole
Bring comfort food to your holiday table with this baked mac and cheese casserole that incorporates lobster meat from an entire lobster tail. This is one of those mac and cheese recipes that is all about gooey perfection and uses one of the quickest ways to prepare lobster meat for the table.
Striped Bass in Tomato Broth
If you’re looking for a classic Italian recipe that delivers a fish dinner in less than 30 minutes, this healthy fish soup recipe is for you. White wine, tomatoes, shallots, and thyme combine to make a light and coastal-flavored broth to poach the firm texture and sweet taste of bass. If you can’t find bass in your fish market, mahi mahi, or cod are good substitutes for this Feast of the Seven Fishes soup.
Pesto Orecchiette with Spinach and Smoked Salmon
Impress your holiday guests with this fancy-looking seafood pasta dish that gets its smoky flavor from a handful of flaked salmon. With only 20 minutes and one pot, you can make this entire meal. If you want to make your own pesto from scratch, you’ll find step-by-step instructions here.
Broiled Swordfish with Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce
Here’s your guide to making swordfish at home—it’s not as hard as you may think. It’s as simple as broiling the swordfish steaks, roasting tomatoes with
onion and garlic, and combining the tomato mixture with rosemary and a dash of
heavy cream to make the full-bodied tomato sauce.
Air-Fried Salmon with Horseradish Rub
If you want to keep your Christmas Eve meal super simple, make this air-fried salmon recipe. A blend of horseradish, parsley, capers, and extra-virgin olive oil gives the salmon its wonderful flavor that will make for an impressive dinner to serve guests. Using an air fryer makes this healthier prepped meal ready to serve in 30 minutes.
Air-Fryer Panko Coconut Shrimp
Need an easy appetizer for your holiday spread? Serve up these crispy air-fried shrimp. Cooking the shellfish dish in an air fryer means that this high-protein, high-flavor shrimp recipe will be prepared with ease. Serve with chili sauce for dipping to balance the lightly sweet coconut elements.
Looking to add flounder to your Feast of the Seven Fishes table? This easy recipe can be made in just 20 minutes. Flounder’s firm texture and mild, sweet taste is a winning combination for this skillet recipe that cooks up fast in white wine, pickling liquid, and capers.
Easy Boiled Lobster
This recipe makes it easy to master how to cook lobster. You’ll only need 30 minutes to make fresh lobster for your holiday gathering. We’ll even show you how to serve lobster meat with clarified butter and a Beurre Blanc sauce.
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