Salmon with Pineapple-Pepper Salsa and Coconut Cauliflower Rice

The salsa topping really sets this salmon recipe apart from all the others.

Salmon with Pineapple-Pepper Salsa and Coconut Cauliflower Rice
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

When you're looking to get your protein in but want a lighter option, salmon is a great dinner choice. The lean fish is known as a fantastic source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. There are so many ways to prepare this fish, from grilling to oven-roasting, but our new favorite is this Salmon With Pineapple-Pepper Salsa And Coconut Cauliflower Rice.

This dish combines tropical flavors like coconut and pineapple with fresh cilantro and lime juice, transporting you right to the beach locale of your dreams. The salmon is prepared simply, seasoned only with salt and pepper and pan-seared, really allowing the dynamic flavors of the coconut rice and salsa to shine. The Pineapple-Pepper Salsa could hold even its own as an excellent appetizer, served with tortilla chips, or as a topping for tacos or burrito bowls. Toasted coconut chips add a crunch and a pop of sweetness to the fish, playing off the coconut milk in the cauliflower rice. You can absolutely substitute cauliflower rice for your favorite short-grained rice.

To ensure a perfectly cooked salmon, take its temperature—medium-rare salmon will register 125°F on an instant read thermometer. If you prefer your salmon more done and the exterior is plenty brown and crisp, finish it in a 400°F until it reaches your preferred temperature. A cast-iron skillet is perfect for getting a great sear on the salmon, but it's best to use a separate stainless steel or nonstick skillet for the coconut cauliflower rice so it doesn't pick up any browned bits leftover from searing the fish.


  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh pineapple

  • cup finely chopped red bell pepper (from 1 small pepper)

  • cup finely chopped red onion (from 1 onion)

  • cup finely chopped ripe avocado (from 1 avocado) 

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 small limes), divided 

  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 4 (6-oz.) skin-on salmon fillets

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼ cup canola oil, divided

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (1 Tbsp.)

  • 6 cups (24 oz.) riced cauliflower  

  • 1 cup unsweetened canned light coconut milk (from 1 [13.66-oz.] can)

  • ½ cup toasted coconut chips (such as Dang, optional)


  1. Combine pineapple, bell pepper, onion, avocado, 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, 2 teaspoons of the lime juice, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt in a bowl; set aside.

  2. Season salmon with black pepper and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add fish, flesh side down; cook until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Turn fish over; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until skin has crisped and a thermometer inserted in fish registers 125°F, about 5 more minutes. Remove from skillet to a large plate; cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium. Add garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add riced cauliflower. Cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, 2 minutes. Add coconut milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until milk is fully absorbed and cauliflower rice is just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in coconut chips (if using) and remaining 3 tablespoons cilantro, 4 teaspoons lime juice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Divide cauliflower rice among 4 plates; top each with 1 salmon fillet and salsa.

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