There are a handful of recipes that I leaned on during my Whole30 that have made it into regular rotation in “normal life” — which is now separated into things that are Whole30 and things that are WholeDirty. I try to keep things on the Whole30 side for the most part, but I’ve reincorporated things like corn, beans, rice, and wine, and make exceptions for dishes or occasions that are especially worth it. Warm chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven at a very special restaurant? WORTH IT. That marginal brown dessert they give you on an airplane? NOT WORTH IT. Turkish bread with hummus when you’re actually in Turkey? WORTH IT. Stale bread they put out on every table with “butter” in a little plastic package? NOT WORTH IT. You get the picture.
So when I’m not delving into worth-it WholeDirty treats, one of those go-to clean recipes that I’ve hung onto that also surprised me by being so delicious, versatile, and crowd-pleasing is these salmon cakes. The first time I made them I made the MASSIVE mistake of buying the wrong cans of salmon, aka the ones with all the bones in them. Do not do this. It was disturbing, not to mention time-consuming. I also had to bake sweet potatoes to add in, since I didn’t have any hope of finding canned sweet potato puree in this country (which is a plus for flavor, just another extra time suck). I was not at all sure how they were going to come out, and I wasn’t a huge fan of tartar sauce so I didn’t think the sauce would be that great either. But then, my husband took a few bites and gave me a big “Mmm…you made these?!” They were a hit! Picking the bones out was worth it, but I still recommend the boneless stuff all. the. way.
The mayonnaise-based tartar sauce with chopped dill pickles, lemon juice, and dill was also surprisingly good and really paired perfectly. Since that first time I’ve made them for my in-laws, my parents, and my best friend and her toddler. My mom said they were the best salmon cakes she’s ever had, and even a 2-year old enjoyed them. So, don’t take it from me folks, this recipe is a winner!
They’re delicious on their own with the tartar sauce, or served on top of a simple green salad, or for brunch Benedict-style topped with poached eggs. I like to make a big batch and freeze half because they do reheat well in a skillet. Feel free to double the recipe below if you’re aiming to freeze. Any other serving ideas out there? I want to eat these all of the ways.
These recipes are based on the Whole30 book, but I’ve added my own twists.
Whole30 Salmon Cakes & Tartar Sauce
For the Salmon Cakes
2 Tbs coconut oil
3 6oz cans of wild caught boneless & skinless salmon
1 large or 2 small eggs
1 cup sweet potato (either canned or baked and mashed)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs fresh dill, minced
2 Tbs fresh cilantro, minced
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground pepper
For the Tartar Sauce
1 cup Whole30 compliant mayo (home made or your favorite store bought)
2 Tbs fresh dill, minced
2 Tbs compliant dill pickles, minced
1 tsp dill pickle juice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp black pepper
Make the Salmon Cakes
Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and brush or rub the coconut oil onto the parchment paper.
Drain the liquid from the salmon cans and add fish to a large mixing bowl, flaking with a fork. Add the eggs, scrambling the yolks to distribute evenly. Then add the sweet potato, onion, bell pepper, garlic, dill, cilantro, salt, paprika and pepper and mix well.
Use a 1/3c measuring cup to scoop the salmon mixture onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Flatten each scoop into a round, flat patty, keeping them uniform in size and thickness.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven to flip each patty over. Return to the oven for 10-15 more minutes (15 if you want them crispier on the edges).
Make the Tartar Sauce
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Taste and add more lemon juice, pickles, or dill as desired.
Serve the salmon cakes drizzled with tartar sauce on their own, on top of a green salad, or topped with poached eggs for a fancy Benedict-style brunch dish.
© Cook it Pretty 2018