Oh, how I pig out on love the Feast of the Seven Fishes menu we make every year! But it can be an intimidating meal to cook, right? If you are hosting this traditional Italian Christmas dinner this year, here are some easy seven fish dinner recipes along with a few funny stories of my “Feast of the Seven Fishes” past…


(This post probably contains affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is quite boring, but you can read it here if you’d like!)

What are the seven fishes eaten on Christmas Eve?

There aren’t seven specific fishes to be eaten on Christmas Eve, but rather that you should have a total of seven different fishes.

Of course, we’ve had years when we had 6 and years when we’ve had 9.

I’m not exactly at the top of my math game when my favorite spill-proof wine glass is filled with Pinot Grigio and I’m trying to cook AND keep my kids busy at the same time. So…we just go with it.

(Oh, and speaking of kids I’m totally getting this t-shirt for little Thor (the 6-year old), this one for big D (the 23-year old), and this one for my dad – how cute are they?!?)

Anyway. Some people say each of the seven fishes should be in it’s own recipe, but we don’t always follow that either.

Feast of the Seven Fishes Appetizer Recipe Ideas:

Simple Cold Shrimp Salad by The Healthy Foodie

Calamari Avocado And Grapefruit Bruschetta by Garlic And Zest

Gouda And Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms by Striped Spatula

What does a traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner menu look like?

Typically, we start with cold shrimp cocktail (in these adorable fishy mini-appetizer dishes), then go to soup and pasta (see the ah-leege reference below). Then it’s like the ocean exploded and the other 4 fishes come out at the same time.

It can be quite overwhelming and filling!

If you’re hosting, coming out with one or two at a time is probably ideal but that also makes for a very long time sitting at the table, ha!

Free holiday dinner planner

Feast of the Seven Fishes Soup & Salad Recipe Ideas:

Pan Seared Scallops with Warm Asparagus, Kale and Tangerine Salad by Kitchen Confidante

Clam Chowder by Natasha’s Kitchen

Classic Lobster Bisque by Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

What to put on your Feast of the Seven Fishes menu:

Like I said, we don’t have any hard and fast rules of what to put on our feast of the seven fishes menu.

But.

There are some things that always make their way onto the table: baccala (salt cod), fried smelts (with the head, of course!), and linguine con alici (linguine in a butter sauce with anchovies and bread crumbs), which somehow we all pronounce ah-leege.

I’m pretty sure that’s not even close to being the right pronunciation, but it makes me sound like a good italian girl to my non-italian friends, soooo we go with it.

Update: I googled it, it’s not right by a long shot. LOL

Other than that, it changes every year.

One year my Grandma made fish sticks. I swear I’m not joking.

Moral of the story? Make it your own. Put whatever recipes you want on your Feast of the Seven Fishes menu – it’s your holiday!

So I think I’m going to splurge on these beautiful japanese soup bowls, and this beautiful understated fish platter (I wouldn’t normally buy something just for one day but it’s totally something that can be used all year!).

Feast of the Seven Fishes Main Entree Recipe Ideas:

Steamed Mediterranean Mussels by Life Made Sweeter

Roasted Sardines And Cherry Tomatoes by Wild Greens And Sardines



Roasted Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner by Kitchen Of Youth

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce by Steel House Kitchen

Does this Seven Fish Feast still seem very intimidating to you?

I have one last idea for you. You could make a simple Cioppino (fancy word for fish stew) recipe and call it a day! Have someone bring a few loaves of crusty Italian bread and someone else bring the salad.

…aaaand done.

pro-tip: I always make my soup in this particular cast-iron pot (but I’ve used cheaper brands and they seem to be similar – buy one you can afford but DEFINITELY get one!) It not only cooks and browns beautifully, but it keeps the soup hot on the table for a long time! It’s a cooking pot and a gorgeous serving dish – and you know I love anything that can do double-duty! Plus, it’s my favorite color 🙂


San Francisco Cioppino by House Of Nash Eats

Maybe next year, you’ll have a few funny stories of your own “Feast of the Seven Fishes” past…

Just don’t make fish sticks. 😉

Make your Feast of the Seven Fishes menu plan on this Christmas Dinner Planner:

Free holiday dinner planner