Christmas Eve Dinner – Feast of Seven Fishes

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a seafood feast and an Italian Christmas Eve tradition. Easily make the feast of seven fishes for Christmas Eve — It’s a great way to celebrate Christmas Eve with family and friends.  

Learn how to easily make it at home.

Celebrate Christmas Eve a Feast of Seven Fishes Seafood extravaganza. 


How to Prepare your Christmas Eve Menu of the Feast of Seven Fishes


Easy seafood recipes for Feast of Seven Fishes Christmas Eve celebration.

Feast of Seven Fishes Menu and Recipes with Steamed Clams
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The “Italian” Feast of Seven Fishes is actually an Italian-American tradition of serving seven or more preparations of seafood. This Italian-American tradition came from the Italian tradition of observing a “fast” on Christmas Eve and serving a light meatless meal consisting of soups, salads, meatless antipasto, pasta, and seafood dishes.

Just like every region of Italy has their own food traditions and specialties — every family celebrates the Feast of Seven Fishes a little differently.

My husband and I grew up celebrating Christmas Eve following this tradition.  My husbands family followed a more traditional Feast of Seven Fishes menu and served in courses.  My family, being Irish and Italian, celebrated the Christmas Eve Feast a little more loosely and would invite family, friends, and neighbors in for a light meatless meal of salads, pasta and of course some seafood and served everything at once family style.

I’ve kept the tradition of cooking a Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve alive but now I celebrate with our family favorite recipes, including Crab and spaghetti and Thai mussels.

South Philly Italian Feast of Seven Fishes

Both of my husband grandparents immigrated from Italy to an Italian neighborhood of South Philadelphia. They served a more traditional South Philly Italian Feast of Seven Fishes menu that included fresh seafood from the Italian Market and some of the traditional foods and ingredients from Italy.  Here’s the menu my husband grew up with:

  • Baccalà — a dry salted cod that is a staple feast fish.
  • Sardines
  • Fried Shrimp
  • Fried Smelts
  • Salad
  • Fresh rolls and Bread from Cacia’s Bakery
  • Fresh crabs that they would buy live at the market.  The fresh crabs would be cooked in a traditional red gravy (sauce).
  • Whole Baked Fish – from the Italian Market
  • Cannolis from Isgro’s
  • + Fresh raw finocchio slices, that’s Italian for fennel.

So, follow my suggestions for a Feast of Seven Fishes or create your own using your families favorite seafood and meatless dishes.

Feast of Seven Fishes Menu


This menu can be served in courses or served family style with everything placed on the table at the same time.  I serve a hot crab dip first while everyone gathers with some wine or a cocktail while the rest of the meal is being prepared.

Hot Crab Dip

hot crab dip with bread crackers and veggies
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Cajun BBQ Shrimp

New Orleans Cajun Spiced BBQ Shrimp
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Thai Steamed Mussels in a Spicy Coconut Broth

Steamed Spicy Thai Mussels
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White Wine And Garlic Steamed Baby Clams

Steamed clams in white wine and garlic
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Stone Crab Claw Shooter with Florida Mustard Sauce

Stone Crab with Florida Mustard Sauce
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Blue Crabs Fra Diavolo A.K.A. Spicy Red Crab Gravy

Spaghetti with Marinara and Crabs
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Cioppino – Italian Fisherman’s Stew

Cioppino - Italian Fisherman's Stew
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Simple Green Salad with Fennel

fresh salad with shaved fennel
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Lobster Mac-n-Cheese

Grilled lobster mac and cheese
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Sesame Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna

Marinated and Seared Ahi Tuna
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More Feast of Seven Fishes Recipe(…

Sweet luscious crab meat served with a spicy remoulade sauce.  

So easy to make and so good.  This makes an easy appetizer to feed a hungry crowd.  Serve plenty of crusty bread alongside to soak up all the yummy sauce.

Red snapper may be my favorite local fish since I can get it fresh most of the time.  I love how this fish works in so many different preparations and flavor combinations.  This easy grilled red snapper recipe with citrus and Asian spices and is ready in less than 30 minutes and uses just a few ingredients.  

Crab Stuffed Halibut with Pears & Brie is a super easy recipe to make. Perfect for a special occasion meal and easy enough for a weeknight meal.  The richness of the crab and the creaminess of the brie compliment the delicate flavor of the halibut perfectly.

This is the best-ever easy shrimp dip. This is the perfect party or potluck appetizer. Served with fresh vegetables or assorted pieces of bread and crackers.

My absolute favorite.  It’s perfect to compliment the spicy jerk turkey, is low calorie and a festive blush color.  Perfection!



1 Comment

  1. Marissa
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    These are some great ideas for Christmas Eve 7 Fishes dinner. Love the Spaghetti and crab recipe.


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