Salmon is one of my favorite types of fish to eat. The lovely texture, unique flavor, and plentiful health benefits make it almost irresistible. If you’re tired of plain salmon fillets for dinner then you’ll love my recipe for salmon cakes. They’re made with sweet potatoes and oh so delicious! With my simple instructions and affordable ingredients this is sure to end up on your weekly dinner rotation.
Wild-caught salmon is best for this dish (and in general). I’m not a fan of farmed salmon. The taste and health benefits of wild-caught salmon exceed those of farmed salmon by leaps and bounds. Don’t sell yourself short and settle for farmed salmon unless you absolutely have to. Or if you’re eating sushi, of course.
Wild-caught salmon is chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are amazing for brain health, healthy triglyceride levels, muscle recovery, reducing inflammation, and for overall body function. It is important to have a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, so eating foods that are higher in omega-3s can help keep your overall ratio in check.
If I can’t find wild-caught salmon fresh I can almost always find it frozen at the grocery store. Look for wild-caught king, sockeye, pink, coho, or silver salmon. In my opinion, sockeye is too delicious to hide inside of salmon cakes, so I would save that to use as a nice fillet instead. I tend to use pink or coho salmon for this recipe.
Salmon cakes are the perfect weeknight meal. You’ve got your protein and carbs all in one place. All you need is a big salad as a side dish to round it all out. These little cakes are also perfect as leftovers for lunch the next day. You can even pop them into a sandwich bag for an on-the-go lunch or snack. I love having extras in the fridge for a quick post-workout snack.
Just like crab cakes, salmon cakes can be baked or pan fried. I have tried my recipe both ways and I strongly prefer the pan-fried method because it gives you a prefect golden crunchy outer layer on each side. Yum! Baking just doesn’t do these justice.
In order to make this recipe healthy, sweet potatoes and a tiny bit of coconut flour replace traditional breading (i.e. crackers or breadcrumbs). This combination creates luscious little cakes that hold together perfectly in the pan when cooking. That holding together bit is important. I experimented with so many versions of this recipe until I got it juuuuust right for y’all. Most of them were a little to crumbly and hard to flip. The coconut flour solved this problem because it is so absorbent.
For my recipe I use a coconut flour called Your Organic Nature (pretty much all I can find in the Netherlands) that is a little more coarse-grained than something like Bob’s Red Mill. This means that if you’re using Bob’s Red Mill or something similar that is a little finer in texture, you probably need less than the 3 Tbsp listed in the recipe. I would suggest mixing the coconut flour in last and adding 1 Tbsp at a time until the mixture starts to stick together well and can be handled without sticking to your hands.
When I shape the cakes I like to make sure they are a little over 1″ in thickness and around 2.75″ in diameter or else they become difficult to flip and more prone to breaking. Make sure to leave enough room in the pan between the cakes to make flipping easier. You’re going to want to use a thin spatula and flip them quickly like you would with pancakes. I do not recommend using stainless steel cookware for this recipe. The chance of sticking is not worth it. Instead try a health-friendly nonstick skillet like cast iron.
This recipe yields 9 salmon cakes, which is enough for three people. Or two people with some leftovers. Or just two hungry crossfitters. Now on to the recipe!
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 3 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee, divided
- 1 lb raw salmon (14oz cooked)
- ½ small yellow onion, diced (1/4 cup)
- 3 medium green onions, finely sliced (~1/2 cup)
- 2 Tbsp capers, minced
- 2 Tbsp freshly minced parsely
- 2 tsp strong dijon mustard
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1½ tsp old bay seasoning
- 2 pinches cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3 Tbsp coconut flour
- Prick sweet potato three times with a fork.
- Place directly on the oven rack with a piece of foil underneath to catch any drips.
- Bake sweet potato at 425°F for 40 minutes (do not preheat the oven).
- After 40 minutes turn off the oven and keep the oven door closed for 25 minutes.
- Remove with tongs, peel skin off, and mash sweet potato with a fork.
- Reserve 1 cup mashed sweet potato to use in this recipe.
- Melt 1 Tbsp butter or ghee in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat.
- When the butter is hot, add the salmon and cook for about 4 minutes per side (for 1.5" fillets).
- Remove to a plate to cool.
- After it has cooled a bit, flake the salmon into small pieces with a fork.
- Mix all ingredients, except the coconut flour, together in a large mixing bowl using a spoon. Mix well and break up any large pieces of salmon.
- Sprinkle on coconut flour 1 Tbsp at a time, mixing well between each addition, until the right texture is reached (as described in the description above).
- After everything is thoroughly mixed, cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Fill a ⅓ cup measure with the salmon mixture, pat it down a bit, then flip and pop it out into your hand. Use your hands to gently shape the salmon cakes. They should be a little over 1" thick and around 2.75" in diameter.
- Place on parchment paper and repeat with the remainder of the mixture. You should end up with 9 salmon cakes.
- Melt 2 Tbsp butter or ghee in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once the pan is hot, carefully place salmon cakes in the skillet, leaving plenty of space between them for flipping.
- Cook for 6 minutes on each side.
I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I do! If you like it or have any feedback for me I’d love to hear from you in the comments section of this post!