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Wild Salmon Cakes with Avocado Arugula Salad

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So I am sitting at the dinner table, eating the delicious meal pictured above, and I say to my husband…. “See! This is as good as a restaurant!… wow… this tastes gourmet.” He looks back at me, grimacing … “STOP SAYING THAT.”

We are always having a constant battle about this, he says “I like your cooking better than eating out”…and to “stop comparing it to restaurant food” but in the back of my mind I am thinking…”But I’m not a trained chef, I didn’t go to culinary school, I didn’t learn to cook until my late 20’s!, (my Dad didn’t let me touch the stove until I was 18) and for goodness sakes…. I just want to be able to compare my cooking to what I find spectacular…something…anything….. that’s all.”

I’m left with this dilemma all the time…If you have any good solutions to what I should say next time I make a killer meal, I’m OPEN ears…I still have no idea.

Ok… on to that killer meal…(maybe that’s all I need say?!)

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This meal started with the best frozen WILD salmon I’ve ever had. (I never buy or eat farmed salmon, here’s exactly why). Before we got a Whole Foods here in Charlotte, I would rely on Trader Joe’s for frozen wild caught salmon…but no more!

Whole Foods variety has totally blown me away on multiple occasions, which totally makes sense considering the very high sustainability and quality standards they adhere to for their seafood. If you have had better frozen salmon than Whole Foods – I want to know… because I’m not sure it gets better than this!

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Salmon cakes are really really easy to make…however, I decided to leave out the “cake” part – i.e. the flour. I just don’t think using flour is even necessary for these bad boys to taste good. And you know how I feel about flour in general…unless it’s whole grain and sprouted, I’m not really interested in making it a staple in my house.

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I throw in a couple of really great cleansing and detox herbs like cilantro and parsley and some lime, a few spices and an egg into the blender (yes, blender! you don’t even need to get out your food processor) and the salmon comes alive.

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Then I make some patties, let them rest in the fridge for 5 mins and throw them on the grill or the oven, (your choice)…

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And while they are cooking, I make the bed for which the cakes lie on…. I massage (yes, massage with my bare hands), some arugula with some super quick avocado based dressing (~1 min to make) and chop up some cherry tomatoes…. And that’s it. Quick. Easy. Done. DYNAMITE!

Food Babe's Salmon Cakes with Avocado Arugula Salad

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

Serves:  4

Salmon Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 pound wild salmon, skin removed, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons red onions, chopped
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • ½ lime, juiced

Salad Ingredients:

  • 8 cups arugula
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • sea salt and ground pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F or preheat grill.
  2. Toss all cake ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until well combined (don’t over process, you still want texture and medium size pieces).
  3. Form mixture into 1 patty per serving, refrigerate while making salad and while grill/oven is still warming.
  4. In a large bowl, put the juice of half a lime, a pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper and 1 ripe avocado in a bowl, and mash/stir until well combined.
  5. Throw arugula on top of dressing and massage it with your hands, making sure all leaves are covered.
  6. Chop some cherry tomatoes to top salad.
  7. Spray salmon patties with a little bit of cooking spray (olive or coconut) and cook salmon patties anywhere between 5-10 mins on the grill or 7-15 minutes in the oven – the cooking time varies quite a bit between grill and oven, but they are fast to cook, so don’t let them overcook or burn.
  8. Plate salad, and top with cakes.


  • Please choose all organic ingredients if possible.


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Again…I’d love to hear from you (by leaving a comment below)… if you’ve got a good solution for my dilemma or a delicious salmon recipe to share I want to know!

Bon Appétit!

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109 responses to “Wild Salmon Cakes with Avocado Arugula Salad

  1. HI Food Babe,

    Pretty new to your site. My son is 15 months old and when he was born I started making th e transition to organic and no refined sugars, now I am learning alot about GMO’ s. What I nourish him with is so important to me.

    We live in Alaska and have lot of salmon however I sAve my freezer space for Halibut so all my salmon is home canned. Excited to try this an hopefully it works out 🙂

    Thanks for doing what you do. We’re so glad we found you!

    1. Just saw your post. Do you have a recipe for home canning salmon, would love to have it. Thanks.

  2. I have never had a restaurant meal come close to what I prepare at home. There is no comparison! Your hubby knows this of you and I think he feels you’re selling yourself short by trying to compare to someone else’s cooking. Or maybe to him it sounds a little like an inferiority complex? Just stop! The only reason most of us raw and organic foodies ever eat out is for convenience. It’s certainly not for the goodness of our health! And we all know how restaurant chefs make their food taste so yummy. Ewww….

  3. No solution but you may want to add some kick, like hot peppers.
    That will get you the compliment your looking for

  4. I used to eat wild caught salmon, but now I will only eat it if I know exactly from where it was caught. I will no longer eat ANY seafood from the Pacific Ocean. The levels of radiation from Fukushima are far too dangerous, and continue to be played-down by the mainstream media. The same is true of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. The levels of oil & dispersants are still way too high. You’re eating toxic fish! BP spends millions telling us how safety is their #1 priority, while they spend $0 actually cleaning up their mess. Whole Foods claims to to hold their fish farms to a much higher standard, and I choose to believe them. My advice: know the exact source & environment of your seafood, or don’t eat it at all (go vegan)!

    1. Dear Paul. thanks for your post. We have just got a new store called Save on Foods and I bought a pack of salmon with the Western families logo and the package says Wild Salmon from pacific coast. So I am looking at this package and something is bugging me. Like its not right some how. Same with the basa I had bought from a T and T. My intuition is doing weird things. Man I love salmon; as I am still a B.C. girl at heart. I will go to the website for more info. I hope it gives me what to look for in buying fish. I am feeling a little discouraged about it all. thanks Linda

    2. That right Paul, all sea foods from the Pacific is contaminated, I love sea foods but now I don’t eat nome cause most sea foods is toxin, and farm fish i don’t eat ether cause they are high level of mercury and what ever they feeds the fish with, I don’t imagine is very good.
      Linda as for the Basa and Talapia, they are farm in asia in the worse contaminated waters that are high in heavy metal and others toxin form chemical fertilizer on farm that runs of in the rivers. You can looking it up on the internet , google it you will see.

  5. These look nice and light! How many fishcakes do you serve per person? I don’t think one would fill me up despite the bed of rocket! 🙂 Great recipe though!

    1. Deborah
      January 27, 2014
      Just smile at him as he is obviously enjoying a mouthful and whisper, “You’re welcome.”

      This my dear is the perfect answer or response I should say…KUDOS

  6. We don’t have a Whole Foods in my area, but we do have the Grand Rapids Downtown Market (Google it, it’s amazing). The fresh fish there, I dare say, is the best in the area. It’s expensive, though ~$21.00/lb for the wild caught salmon. So I make a big salmon or fish meal about once every 6 weeks for my boyfriend and myself, this is going on my list for sure!

    1. Your market sounds terrific, and the website makes me want to jump in the car to visit. I live about 28 miles from Grand Rapids . . . . . . . but unfortunately about 500 miles from you. There’s a Grand Rapids in Minnesota, too, about 200 miles north of the Twin Cities – and the closest decent markets are down there! Moved up north 10 years ago, not really realizing what we’d leave behind. But I printed the recipe, and I’ll hunt down some decent wild salmon! 🙂

  7. I think I need to post our fish cakes (crab & salmon) next time we make them. The main differences are chives and or chervil, sometimes dill and shallots as the veggies in there. Also we use Panko to help bind it together, or make our own bread crumbs. We brown them in clarified butter then finish in the oven. We also often serve over arugula, with either a remoulade or simple lemon juice (sometimes with mushrooms and or pine nuts.)

      1. Only homemade remoulade!!! (mayo, capers, dijon … can put some of the dill, chives etc too.) Now I’m jealous and need to get a “fix” soon too.

  8. I can get this particular Salmon. I do have a growing concern though, regarding the fish caught in the Pacific, because of the toxic spill in Japan. Reading more and more that the fish tested are considered radioactive ? Can you shed some light on this please ? I love all of your posts and recipe’s thanks Food Babe for all you do.

    1. I just read a report from Feb, 2014 that says the states of WA and OR are testing and the seafood is safe so far. Alaska and Hawaii are doing no testing at all. If you find something more up-to-date, please post. I live near the OR coast and purchase a lot of local fish product. People here don’t seem too concerned about it, which I guess doesn’t mean much.

  9. I like this recipe and I love the information I have obtained from your site since I was introduced to it. I will never go into Panera again and think I am eating something healthy. Regarding the interaction with your husband. It is hard for us sometimes to accept praise, or a complement. Many reasons, but we just think we are not quite good enough. You have an intense passion for food and healthy eating. To share that passion by cooking a meal for the man you chose to marry is a gift-to you and to him. He is expressing his gratitude to you for what you do and what you mean to him. How about next time simply say: “Thanks honey, I love you too.” Keep up the good work!

  10. The best comment I can suggest, when being complimented on a killer meal, is “Thank You!” and a smile. Works every time! 🙂

  11. Another great recipe. Two thumbs up. I’m a bigger fan every day. Good background on your cooking, you’d never know from the quality of the work. Restaurant quality is not a bad thing to say, restaurant quality but healthier is even better. Only thing I’d change is Himalayan salt over straight sea salt, and maybe a little bit of organic spelt bread crumbs. Just toast the bread, let it cool, and process into crumbs. The best seafood patties are barely breaded enough to hold them together, which lets you keep more of the original shape of the seafood. I do this with my crab cakes too.

  12. Dear food Babe,
    I was told by the owner of the seafood market not to freeze salmon. Freezing does something to the fat so we only eat fresh when we can get it. Do you agree? Also what do you know about Loch Duart salmon? I really could not find anything negative about it plus I understand it was served at the royal wedding. I know you can’t trust everything you read! LOL I do value your opinion!
    Kindest regards,
    PS I’ve been following Dr Mercola for many years.

  13. Food Babe,

    I would just say “thank you” and accept the compliment from your husband.
    This recipe looks delicious; I will have to try it. Thanks for all you do; I have learned so much from you and your amazing health advice!

  14. i been following you for long time and you give great tips. what kind of flour you recommend to use for salmon patties. and what kind of sugar you recommend to use. thank you

  15. This sounds very good – especially the avacado dressing for the salad. Will be trying it soon. Only Alaskan Wild Caught salmon for us. Hubby is from Alaska and I lived there for 4 years myself. We either go catch our own or have it flown into Bastrop, TX overnight for us. You really must try the White King Salmon!! Don’t know if Whole Foods will carry that. A great salmon patty recipe I absolutely love is found at: and type in the search for EASY SALMON CAKES and it comes with a link to the CREAMY DILL SAUCE to serve with it. I think you will find this recipe exceptional, too.

  16. When my husband and I eat a meal that we prepare with fresh, usually organic, veggies, fruits, meats, wine, we proclaim that we made money on this meal because the same meal in a restaurant would h ave cost $X and we only spent $Y to make it happen.

  17. I have found WholeFoods in my area (NYC) to sell less quality food and more expensive than TraderJoes. I only shop at TraderJoes now, WholeFoods has become the new popular thing and they carry a lot of GMO Food, actually a lot more than TraderJoes does.

    I buy all my wild caught/sockeye salmon from TraderJoes.

  18. Looking forward to trying this! To your husband, I would just say, “this food makes me so happy”. Or something about being happy and grateful but use the word “happy”. I’ve noticed it seems to be a buzz word for men (and pay attention to how often they use it! )

  19. Regarding salmon from the Pacific. So far, all testing has shown that the radiation parts per million levels are far below dangerous levels. Stop listening to the hype about Fukushima and keep yourself up to date with the actual tests and facts.

    1. The actual facts are that the US government has raised the levels (by several thousand PPM) over what used to be considered safe. Recalibrating the safety mark every time radition is spewed into the environment is no source of comfort for me. Eat at your own risk.

  20. Vani- does massaging Kale & arugula help break them down and make the Crohn’s diet friendly ( low residue)… So far I’ve found I can only eat raw butter lettuce or cooked spinach… Looking for more options. Thanks!

    1. Hiya Val,

      Fellow Crohnie here,
      Any of the leafy greens are going to fall into the non-soluble fiber group. Massaging will not replace boilng to achieve a tolerable digestive state. I would recommend de-stemming then shredding and using enough to enjoy the flavor (like you would cilantro) adjusting for your own tolerances.

  21. I thought you were complimenting your own cooking. I would just say ” yum”. Regardless, this recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it.

  22. Food Babe, I go through this all the time with my partner. He is a Zagat follower when it comes to restaurants and we have dined in some pretty upscale restaurants. I am always thinking how much fresh organic food I could buy for what they cost. I always take note of their presentation and content though and I use it in my own kitchen. I am Italian and cooking is a big part of the culture so it is important, its nurturing. I like to hear that he enjoys it since I put Love into my cooking! Your husband should appreciate how wonderful you are and you are giving of your time to do this.

  23. Dear Vani,
    Thank you for your activism and helping us read labels. I have struggled with migraines for a long time and I have eliminated almost everything precooked from my diet. I always cooked from scratch but I was getting migraines from home made soup when I realized that even beans are canned with sodium benzoate and soy sauce is poison!!!! Keep up the good work and thanks for all your efforts.

  24. Great recipe! The salmon was spicy and it was a nice change not using almond meal for the caking agent. I usually pan fry them so baking was a nice change as well. The blender wasn’t very good for me, it blended the fish beautifully but the salmon got in the way and the herbs didn’t blend. I made it work but next time will be blending the herbs and egg first, then the fish :). The avocado added a great filler to the salad, thanks for the recipe!

  25. Thanks for the recipe…unable to eat wheat or egg….any substitutes you can suggest?

  26. Hi can’t wait to try this recipe 🙂 My co-worker goes salmon fishing in Lake Michigan Frankfort,Michigan and she brought me a fresh salmon filet out of the six that were caught this past weekend. I’ll let you know how they turn out..thanks again for your recipes and stellar website <3

  27. I’ll sometimes use coconut flour and then pan fry them using coconut oil. I love the flavor coconut adds to the salmon patties, but usually I simply broil or grill the whole salmon or the filets with just a little salt, pepper and fresh lemon. That’s my favorite way to prepare salmon.

  28. After our delicious home made meals we usually say “we couldn’t buy that” it’s a true statement for us that no food purchased is ever better than what we make at home ♡

  29. In “The Apprentice,” Jaques Pepin describes the differences between a professional chef and a home cook. He sums it up by saying: “Yet because of the time and attention a home cook can devote to one dish, some recipes are always prepared more successfully at home.” Home cooking (with whole foods) is healthier, fresher, and tastier than restaurant food.

  30. Stop any kind of comparison and enjoy your results by crediting yourself by saying “sometimes I amaze myself”…a line from Emeril, even though I don’t agree with most of his cooking. While flour should be avoided, I have learned at medical summits, that flour includes even whole wheat (and sprouted wheat) as we do not posess the enzymes to break down the amino acids in it. The focus should be on the grain whether to use or not to use as the hybridized grains cause inflammation and autoimmune responses in the body.
    Today’s health care revolution in functional medicine takes food to a different level (or better said, restores it to its rightful place) and puts the doctor in the kitchen. Keeping up with the medical research and how to interpret it is becoming a real necessity to stay in touch with this new breed of medical experts and not the journalistic reductionist medical conclusions which tend to mislead.

  31. Vital Choice has the best seafood straight from the source, shipped directly to your door beautifully packaged. I purchase from the “special offers” section and add in one of the week’s bonuses and this beats Whole Foods prices and quality almost any day.

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