February 16, 2013

Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Lime Avocado Dip (Paleo, Autoimmune protocol)

Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Lime Avocado Dip (Paleo, Autoimmune protocol)

I shared this picture of my lunch on Facebook...um, about 3 weeks ago. It got quite a response, compared to the usual, so I figured I should share. Of course, I had planned to share about 2 1/2 weeks ago, but I wanted to make them again first. And again. And again.

Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Lime Avocado Dip (Paleo, Autoimmune protocol)

I was doing the Whole30® with autoimmune protocol when I made these, so I had to make them without eggs or mayo and of course without breadcrumbs or other gluten-filled products. My usual recipe uses panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and mayonnaise, of course. To replace the panko, I decided to go with coconut flour after running across this recipe on Jan's Sushi Bar. (Even though our recipes ended up being very similar, I used my own recipe using only the idea for coconut flour.) As for the egg and mayo, I used coconut milk and avocado instead. I have been using avocados as a mayo replacement for quite awhile, so I just went with it. If you refrigerate before cooking and don't flip them too quickly, they stay together quite well. *(Updated to include version with egg.)

Salmon (or Crab) Cakes 
(gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, Autoimmune protocol)
printable recipe 
Slightly edited Jan 2014 

What you need:

6oz canned salmon (or crab), drained (I prefer this salmon for this recipe.)
1/4 of an avocado
2 tbsp finely diced yellow or red onion
1 tbsp finely diced celery (or pinch ground celery seed, omit for AIP)
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp coconut flour**
1/2 - 1 tbsp canned full-fat coconut milk**
salt to taste (1/4 tsp or more to taste)
few grinds or dashes pepper (omit for AIP)
2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil or  ghee  (use coconut oil or olive oil for AIP)
Optional (omit for AIP): 1/4 -1/2 tsp (or more) seafood seasoning (decrease added salt)  Find homemade seafood seasoning recipe here.

*To make with an egg: (not AIP) add a lightly beaten egg and eliminate coconut milk. If batter seems dry, add 1/2 - 1 tbsp coconut milk. If batter is too moist, add another tsp coconut flour.

How to make:

Finely chop the onion, celery, parsley, and garlic. Smash the avocado and add chopped veggies, spices, salmon (or crab), and coconut flour and mix gently until thoroughly combined. Add 1/2 tbsp coconut milk, mix, and add additional 1/2 tbsp if needed to hold batter together. Taste and add additional salt or spices if desired.

Form patties and arrange on a plate or other dish. You can make 14-16 mini cakes or 5-7 medium sized cakes. Cover and stick plate of salmon cakes in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes (longer is fine). When ready, heat oil in skillet over med heat. When hot, add cakes, cooking in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. Fry 4-5 minutes per side. Gently flip the cakes, flipping only once. Make sure first side is crispy and golden brown before flipping to prevent them from falling apart. Serve with avocado dip (recipe follows) or other dip or add them to a salad.

**You can increase coconut flour to 1 1/2 tbsp to hold cakes together better, but I prefer them with less for better taste. However, if your batter seems wet (which will depend on the brand of salmon and how well they drain), then add more coconut flour.

Baking option Bake at 400 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: My favorite brand of salmon is Wild Planet (pink or sockeye). I also buy their sardines. The brand is wild-caught and sustainable. You can get them in some health food stores or Amazon. I generally buy mine from my favorite online health food store, Vitacost. (If you're a first time customer, you can save 10 bucks using my referral link here.) See more of my favorite products in My Paleo Pantry.

Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Lime Avocado Dip (Paleo, Autoimmune protocol)

I like to serve my crab cakes with some kind of sauce. I don't really like tartar sauce, so I wanted to make something like a remoulade or aioli. No mayo? No problem. Avocado saves the day again. Can you tell how much I looooove avocado? As for the cilantro, I love that too. And since I threw some seeds in the ground, not expecting much, my tiny garden is overflowing with cilantro.

Cilantro Lime Avocado Dip (egg-free, AIP-friendly) 
Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Lime Avocado Dip (Paleo, Autoimmune protocol)
What you need:

3/4 of an avocado*
1 tbsp lime juice (more to taste)
handful cilantro (about 2 tbsp minced or to taste)
1/2 tsp minced garlic (1 small or 1/2 large clove OR 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp water (optional)
salt to taste

How to make:

Add all ingredients except olive oil to a small food processor and blend until smooth. Slowly add olive oil and pulse until you reach desired consistency and taste. Optional: add a tbsp or two of water to thin.

*Use a whole avocado if desired. I use 1/4 for the cakes (above), so just use the rest for this.

Want some other recipes using avocado?

Find out all about storing avocados HERE.

Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Lime Avocado Dip (Paleo, Autoimmune protocol)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, while your costs remain the same, Livin' the Crunchy Life will receive a small commission. Affiliate links are used to pay for any blog costs, including ingredients for recipe development. I appreciate your support!


  1. My good friend's husband is a crab fisherman, he just brought me a pound of crab fresh caught out of Monterey Bay... I can't wait to use it for this yumminess!

    Are you still on the Whole 30? (45) I caved around Valentine's Day which turned into Valentine's Week LOL! I have had more than my share of treats.... though I'm getting better at not snacking and in general my meals themselves are strictly Whole 30. I plan on continuing this pattern and starting up again March 1st.

    How are you??

    1. Thanks Kat!

      Oh I bet they taste amazing with fresh crab! Let me know how they turn out.

      I actually ended mine shortly after the 30 days and I'm working on a wrap up post. It's so easy to go back to indulging in sweets, isn't is? :) Good for you and glad you are doing well. I'm debating starting again (or doing something similar) in March as well. It's been a continuous learning process for me :) Good luck to you and as always, I appreciate your comment.

  2. The cakes were stupendous!! Had them with homemade mayo since I eat eggs (I kinda have to - my chickens give me 4 - 7 a day!) and even my picky husband loved them.

    I'm gearing up for my March 1st start date. I plan on restricting nuts and fruit. I do love a handful of blueberries for breakfast : ) BUT I'm cutting out the nut butter. I'm actually excited! and looking forward to the challenge again. Hoping to find some peeps on the forum who I can join with since the January challenge was so great, community - wise. It would be really tough without support!!

    1. I'm so glad they worked out for you!

      Oh yes, having the support is the best when doing the Whole30! I was happy to have you guys along with me in January. Good luck with this one! I might be doing it again too (or something similar)...without all the nuts/fruits/etc also, so I'm here with you :) It is definitely easier the second time around.

  3. Just made these tonight with the help of my more knowledgeable sister. They turned out really tasty, but fell apart a little in the pan. Any suggestions to avoid that?

    1. I'm sorry they fell apart for you, Mae. I should first ask (since I forgot to specify), did you use full-fat canned coconut milk? A lite or other coconut milk would be too watery and might cause some issues.

      Other than that, here are some suggestions (not knowing what you did/didn't do) for helping them stay together better:

      1) Make sure your oil is hot before you put them in the pan. (You could test it by dropping a teeny tiny pinch of coconut flour in the oil to see if it sizzles.)
      2) Don't flip them until completely crisp and browned on the first side. I won't even check mine for at least 4 minutes. Then gently flip them.
      3) Pack them tightly when forming the cakes. And chill for an hour (or longer).

      Besides adding an egg (and decreasing the coconut milk), I can't think of anything else. These are definitely more fragile without egg and mayo, but I didn't have a problem with them falling apart while during cooking. If you make them again, do let me know.

      Hope that helps :)

  4. I love you, I love you for coming up with these!!!!! I was just told by my doctor I need to follow a a Paleo AIP and I was devastated and all I thought was how am I going to have crab cakes!! Ha ha. I haven't actually made these yet, but I was thinking of ideas in my head how to make them egg free and I was thinking of avocado and coconut milk but I just did not know the amounts. I also did not know if I could cook with avocado.
    I am so excited to try these tomorrow night!!!! Thank you :-)

  5. Livin' the Crunchy LifeNovember 8, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    You are welcome, Andria! I'm leaning towards doing AIP again, so I'm working on another version of these that will be completely AIP, including spices. :)

    These don't stay together as well as with egg, but I never have much issue and I've had great reviews so far. Check my suggestions in my comment below for tips to keep them from falling apart. I hope they work out for you and that you enjoy them! Thanks for stopping by and good luck with autoimmune paleo!. :)

  6. The Cilantro Lime Avocado Dip seems delicious! I've saved it for trying it out sometime! Thank you! :)

  7. Livin' the Crunchy LifeFebruary 16, 2015 at 8:53 PM

    Great! I hope you like it! I also like to add some water to thin it and use it for fish tacos. Good stuff! Thanks for stopping by!


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