This baked Salmon with Pineapple Salsa and Coconut Rice will take you on a tropical getaway! The combination of juicy and tender salmon, fresh pineapple salsa, and fragrant coconut rice creates the most perfect bite. Have a delicious and healthy meal on the table in less than an hour!
The Best Staycation Meal
If you’re looking for a tropical dish with a healthy twist, you’ll definitely want to put this recipe on your weeknight dinner list. Baked salmon is one of my favorite things to make. But when I want a fun twist, I amp up the flavors and take it to the islands.
This easy Salmon with Pineapple Salsa and Coconut Rice has everything you want. Fatty, rich salmon gets seasoned with sweet and smoky spices. The sticky coconut rice feels luxurious on your tongue. And to cut all the richness, a tart pineapple salsa adds a pop of sweet and sour freshness. The three components are delicious on their own but combine them all and you get a mouthwatering meal.
The best part is that this meal comes together so quickly! You only need about 40 minutes to create this salmon recipe. It's easy, super tasty, and a very satisfying meal!
Is This Healthy?
100%! Salmon is one of the healthiest fish you can eat as it contains plenty of omega-3 fats. These healthy fats help protect the heart and blood vessels from disease, plus they're boost brain health and may help reduce anxiety. Salmon is also a great source of protein!
The Pineapple Salsa also contains plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. It'll give a boost of vitamins, nutrition, and fiber. Meanwhile, the coconut milk in the Coconut Rice is another great source of healthy fats.
All together, this dish is a healthy combination of carbs, fat, and protein. It's a well-balanced meal that is satisfying, wholesome, and delicious. It's also naturally gluten and dairy free!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- You can prepare everything at once which makes the whole meal ready at the same time.
- It’s full of nutrient-dense foods.
- You can swap the salmon for a protein of your choice.
- Leftover coconut rice and pineapple salsa can be used in other dishes.
- You can customize the level of spice in the salsa.
This meal only requires a handful of ingredients to create a flavor-packed meal!
- Salmon: I prefer wild salmon over farmed. It has a better nutritional profile and is more eco-friendly. However, it can be more expensive so choose the salmon that best fits your lifestyle!
- Coconut Sugar: A plant-based sweetener. It creates a delicious caramelized crust on the salmon. It's also in theme with the coconut rice!
- Chili powder and paprika: A little smoky element.
- Pineapple: You can use frozen, canned, or fresh - just make sure to remove as much excess liquid as possible. But fresh is definitely superior in my opinion!
- Jalapeno: Gives the salsa a kick of fresh heat. If you don't enjoy spice, leave it out.
- Bell pepper and red onion: Additional fresh elements that provide crunch and a light onion flavor.
- Lime juice and zest: Adds a pop of acidity and freshness.
- Cilantro: This classic herb pairs well with any salsa.
- White Jasmine rice: Long grain white has the best texture and is mild enough in flavor to accept the coconut flavor. I have not tested it with brown rice but it may need more water and a longer cooking time.
- Coconut milk: You’ll need full-fat coconut milk to cook into the rice to give it a sticky texture.
- Coconut sugar: Helps enhance the coconut flavor and gives it a touch of sweetness.
- For garnish: cilantro and green onion
How To Make It
The beauty of this dish is that you can bake the salmon in the oven while cooking the rice on the stovetop. This leaves time for you to whip up the pineapple salsa while everything is being prepared.
- Cook the rice. This step takes the longest so start on the rice first. Rinse the rice, either in the pot or colander, until the water runs clear. This helps to remove excess starch. Then add the coconut milk (all the liquid and solid parts), sugar, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and cover. You can peek once in a while to check the heat level - there should be a steady but gentle simmer. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let steam for 10 minutes before fluffing.
- Bake the salmon. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and evenly distribute the seasoning on top. Bake for 8-15 minutes depending on how well done you like your salmon. Smaller fillets will need less time to cook.
- Prepare the pineapple salsa. Chop pineapple, bell pepper, and red onion into small diced cubes. They should all be about the same size, while the jalapeno should be more finely chopped so the heat doesn't overwhelm the palate. Add everything to a bowl with lime juice, lime zest, chopped cilantro, and salt. Stir until everything is evenly combined. For maximum flavor, let sit for 10-15 minutes (in the fridge if possible) to allow all the flavors to marinate.
- Serve. Divide each component onto 4 plates and garnish with herbs. Serve warm.
- Use a meat thermometer for the salmon. Cook time for fillets vary widely, depending on if its skin-on or off, thickness, and personal preference. You can also bake it at a lower temperature like 325°F or broil it. I prefer lower temps because it creates the juicest, most tender salmon. For best results, use a meat thermometer and check at the 5 minute mark. Medium-rare is 125°F (take out at 120°F) and adjust by 5°F depending on your preferences.
- Pick a ripe pineapple. The bottom should smell sweet and fruity. You can also tell it's ripe if you can easily pluck one of the leaves. Disregard the color test - green or yellow doesn't really signify ripeness. Just look for a pineapple that doesn't look too bruised or damaged.
- Use the whole can of full-fat coconut milk. It may seem like a lot of coconut milk, but you'll be surprised at how mild the coconut flavor will still be. Make sure to add both the liquid and solid parts. When it's done cooking, it may look oily due to all the fat. You can drain the excess but I personally love the mouthfeel.
Make It Yours
- Make the salsa as spicy - or non-spicy - as you like. Substitute the jalapeno with Fresno peppers or Thai chiles for more heat.
- Try a different protein like chicken breast, cod or sea bass, or tofu. You may need more seasoning.
- Replace pineapple with mango for another delicious tropical salsa! You can also add in avocado, corn, or tomatoes. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
- Since the rich has a light coconut flavor, add in toasted shredded coconut for more flavor and texture.
- To make this paleo or Whole 30, replace the rice with cauliflower sauteed in coconut oil or a splash of coconut milk.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Store each component in separate air-tight containers. Leftover salmon will stay fresh in the fridge for 2-3 days while the rice and pineapple salsa will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
Freezing: Freezing cooked salmon or fresh pineapple salsa is not recommended. However, leftover Coconut Rice can be transferred to a freezer-safe bag or airtight container and frozen for up to 3 months. Lay it as flat as possible for easy storage and make sure to let the rice cool completely before freezing. Let thaw overnight for best results.
Reheating: The best way to reheat this dish is by placing rice and salmon in a foil packet and reheating it in the oven at 325F for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.
Make It In Advance: The salmon is best cooked and served fresh. However, both the Pineapple Salsa and Coconut Rice can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to serve.
Salmon can be roasted at a high heat of 450°F or a lower heat of 325°F. Higher heat will produce more of a crust on the outside and a lower temperature will keep the salmon very tender.
You can, but keep in mind that canned pineapple is much sweeter and has a softer texture. Make sure to drain it thoroughly and add more lime juice if needed.
Bake uncovered for the best results. Covered salmon will essentially be steamed and will not be as flavorful.
Looking For More?
I love this Salmon with Pineapple Salsa and Coconut Rice because it's healthy, really easy, and so satisfying. For more delicious dinner ideas, try these:
- Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
- One-Pot Creamy Chicken Gnocchi
- Instant Pot Chunky Beef Stew
- Sausage and Kale Pasta
- One-Pot Cheeseburger Pasta
Salmon with Pineapple Salsa and Coconut Rice
- Cook the rice. Rinse rice in a small pot until water runs clear. Add scant ¼ cup water, coconut milk (with solid parts), coconut sugar, and ½ tsp salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to melt coconut chunks. Once it comes to a rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and cover with a lid. Let cook for 20 minutes without stirring or removing lid. There should be a constant but gentle simmer. Then turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff, and season to taste. It may appear oily due to the coconut milk - drain excess or stir into the rice.
- Prepare the salmon. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a small bowl, add coconut sugar, chili powder, paprika, ¾ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper. Mix until evenly combined.
- Pat salmon filets dry. Rub spice mixture onto tops of salmon, then place onto a baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for 8-15 minutes, depending on thickness of your filets. I like my salmon medium-rare and take mine out when a thermometer reads 120°F, about 8 minutes for thin filets.
- Make the salsa. In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, bell pepper, jalapeno, red onion, lime zest and juice, cilantro, and ¼ tsp salt. Stir to combine and season to taste. Let sit about 10 minutes to marinade.
- To serve, top salmon with salsa and serve with a side of coconut rice. Garnish with green onion and cilantro.
- To Air Fry Salmon: Prepare salmon as directed. Preheat air fryer to 325°F, then add salmon filets. Bake to desired temperature, checking at 3-4 minute mark.
- Storing Leftovers: Store each component in separate air-tight containers. Leftover salmon will stay fresh in the fridge for 2-3 days while the rice and pineapple salsa will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze: Freezing cooked salmon or fresh pineapple salsa is not recommended. Leftover Coconut Rice can be transferred to a freezer-safe bag or airtight container and frozen for up to 3 months.
- To Reheat: Place rice and salmon in a foil packet and reheat in the oven or air fryer at 250°F for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through. Alternatively, you can also microwave until warm.
- If fresh pineapple isn't available, you can use frozen or canned. Thaw and dry the frozen as much as possible. For canned, use one in 100% pineapple juice. Drain, dry, and adjust lime juice as needed to balance the extra sweetness.
- To make this paleo or Whole 30, replace the rice with riced cauliflower sauteed in coconut oil or a splash of coconut milk.
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