Paleo Coconut Curry Salmon | An Homage to Copper River

by Savannah Wishart
Paleo coconut curry salmon recipe with cauliflower rice and wild PNW salmon.

Coconut, curry, and wild salmon. Just a few of my favourite things. And when these ingredients come from (mostly) local sources – well, what a treat. If not local, then at least sustainable.

If you love wild salmon and curry, this Coconut Salmon Curry will soon become a staple in your kitchen. It’s my go-to recipe when I have guests and want to leave them dreaming of food. What makes it even better is that it’s great for meal prepping!

I’ve been holding onto this recipe for a while. No good reason besides my inability to sit still long enough to finish writing something from start to finish. That, and when a dish becomes a staple for me, I stop measuring ingredients and eyeball everything. It works, but doesn’t come in handy for those who want to join me from afar on the delectable tastebud adventure.

Anyway, no one likes reading the stories that accompany recipes. Another mental hurdle that I have to throw myself over to get anything about food out into our digital world of over-saturated mass consumption. (One question that I ponder often these days is: what if we treated our consumption of media, the way we consume food? I’m sure our minds and hearts would be much healthier, and our stress levels much lower.)

I have almost nothing to say about nutrition values, and quite frankly, I really have no care for them. That’s been my experience of over a decade devoted to eating mostly paleo. I’ve never weighed food or counted calories. I eat what I want, and I (for the most part) maintain a decent foundation of a physique. Could building a solid nutrition foundation be so simple? Yes.

Almost nothing, because one of the most significant things I miss when I’ve lived in Scandinavia has been the access to wild salmon – something, I learned, that is much easier to come by in North America. The high price reflects the intricate balance of supply and demand, supported by sustainable fishing practices to keep nature in balance.

In 2016, I had the opportunity to take my first press trip on behalf of my longstanding client, Paleo Magazine, for a story on Copper River Salmon. My entire family decided to embark on a journey with me to Cordova, Alaska, where I joined a small group of bloggers to be hosted by the Copper River Prince William Sound Marketing Association. At the time, I’m sure I did the story justice. In hindsight and with so much more world experience – especially when it comes to the importance of the ecosystems of our wild food resources – I have so much more perspective to truly appreciate that press trip AND the small communities that supply the human species with the best possible food sources while being caretakers of the earth.

There certainly is an abundance of lax in every Swedish grocery store, as it is a staple in Nordic diets – but the farmed flesh boasts a desaturated devoid of a vibrant life spent leaping up streams. Before I fully integrated into my Swedish life, I had heard boastful stories about the bountiful salmon – only to learn upon moving there that it is entirely farmed. The worst part was that no one (including suppliers) could understand why on earth I would want wild salmon. Narratives painted a picture of a dirty source of protein, contaminated in wild and uncontrolled environments (ahem – the wild, where many of our food sources belong).

From the simple gravlax (salmon cured with fresh dill), to the more decadent Christmas tradition of Jansson’s Temptation (a heavy cream-based casserole of potatoes and, traditionally, anchovies) – any salmon-based meal came desaturated and with skewed fat to protein ratios.

Farmed vs. Wild Salmon: What’s the Big Deal?

This is where I find nutritional values a tad more interesting than calories, saturated fats, or carbs (though those variables are a part of the conversation, just with more depth).

There is a plethora of information from other resources that dive deeper into the differences between wild vs. farmed salmon, but I’ll leave you with a few notes.

Wild Salmon
39 grams of protein
281 kcal
naturally beautifully vibrant
abundance of omega -3 fatty acids
high in vitamin b12 & vitamin D
feed on eild skrill and shellfish

Farmed Salmon
40 grams of protein
412 kcal
added color through assition of carotenoids
packed with inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids
only 1/4 the vitamin D
fed corn and grains

Fortunately, for both myself and for anyone reading this who wants an increasing influx of wild salmon-inspired recipes, I have spent the last few months settling into the Pacific Northwest. A series of unexpected life turns brought me to a place where salmon runs flourish in my backyard (well, almost).

Well, I digress…

Before I got carried away with my love for wild salmon, what I really wanted to share is how much I love subscription vegetable boxes. Along with saving money and time, I’ve found that a vegetable subscription box is one of the best ways to eat both locally AND seasonally. But, I’ll save those reflections for the next recipe.

Until then, enjoy this delicious salmon-based coconut curry – made with local ingredients from my Ekolåden vegetable box in Stockholm.

Paleo coconut curry salmon recipe with cauliflower rice and wild PNW salmon.

Paleo Coconut Salmon Curry

Serves: 4-8 (depends how much of a hungry caveman you are) Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 5 voted )


Prepare the Salmon -
1 kg wild Copper River Salmon
1–2 teaspoons Primal Kitchen avocado oil
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tsp cumin
2 TBSP finely chopped shallot
1 TBSP freshly minced garlic
salt, to taste

Prepare the Curry Sauce -
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 small knob of ginger, grated/minced (2 cm or so)
2 freshly minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of lemongrass paste, or 1-2 TBSP finely chopped stalk
freshly chopped chili pepper (to desired level of spice)
1-2 chopped bell peppers
2 chopped carrots
1.5 tablespoon coconut sugar
2 tablespoon red curry paste
2 cans full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
freshly squeezed lime juice and zest, to taste

For Serving -
4 handfuls of fresh spinach
cooked rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice
fresh Thai basil


Prepare the oven:

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the prepared sheet.

Prepare the Salmon:

Mix the olive oil and spices together until you form a thick paste. Massage the paste over the top of the salmon until it's saturated. Bake for 8-14 minutes, depending on the thickness/quality of your salmon.

Prepare the Coconut Curry Sauce:

Heat the avocado oil over medium heat in a medium to large saucepan.

Add ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. Sauté for 4 minutes.

Stir in chili pepper and vegetables (if you prefer other vegetables, add them here). Cook until right before they reach your preferred level of firmness - slightly undercooked.

Add coconut sugar & curry paste. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.

Pour in coconut milk. Right before you're ready to eat, add coconut aminos and lime juice. Add spinach and stir until it wilts.

To Serve:

Place salmon over a generous heap of rice.Pour over curry sauce, sprinkle with fresh basil, and add another squeeze of lime juice.

Optionally, serve next to extra helpings of spinach and lime wedges.

Recommended Products:

Full fat coconut milk from Thai Kitchen.

Paleo coconut curry salmon recipe with cauliflower rice and wild PNW salmon.

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