This Easy 20-Minute Salmon Stew features flaky and tender cooked salmon in a delicious coconut and tomato broth. Topped with fresh bell peppers and cilantro, the rich and bright Brazillian-inspired flavors are completely irresistible! 

This Easy 20-Minute Salmon Stew is the perfect choice for dinner or meal prep. Made in one skillet using simple ingredients, you and your family won’t be able to resist the Brazillian-inspired flavors, tender salmon, and creamy tomato and coconut milk broth. It’s an easy and tasty spin on an authentic moqueca recipe!

I’m always reminded of home when I make this Brazilian fish stew. I grew up in Bahia, Brazil, which is home to the original fish stew. The bright flavors and rich textures encapsulate all of the feelings from my childhood, and I just know you’re going to love them too!

Why try this easy salmon stew for dinner tonight? Well, because it’s:

  • Easy to make in just one pot
  • Ready to eat after 20 minutes
  • Friendly for those with shellfish allergies
  • Warm, cozy, filling, and healthy!

Looking for more easy stew recipes? Then you’ll definitely want to try my Carne de Panela (Stew Beef) and Easy Shrimp Stew recipes.

Salmon stew vs. moqueca

Moqueca is a flavorful Brazilian seafood stew that’s almost identical to this salmon stew. While both are heavily influenced by Brazilian and Portuguese flavors, there are a few key differences between the two recipes:

  • Moqueca recipes begin with an easy and savory tomato broth. The broth is flavored with aromatics like onion, garlic, lime, and coriander before white fish and some vegetables are cooked in the same pot. Moqueca is usually made with one kind of white fish (like cod, tilapia, halibut) but can easily be adjusted to fit in shrimp (AKA moqueca de camarão) or salmon as well.
  • This salmon stew, on the other hand, features salmon and green bell pepper cooked in a tomato and coconut broth. A few simple seasonings, like red pepper flakes and cilantro, are added at the end to really brighten things up. The finished result is creamy, tangy, and slightly toned down compared to moqueca.

Ingredient notes

  • Salmon – Fresh salmon is best here, but you can use frozen if that’s all you have at home (just let it thaw first) or even swap it out for another fish, like cod. When you’re out shopping for salmon, look for wild caught salmon with bright pink flesh and no blemishes.
  • Garlic and onion – Starting with sauteed onion and garlic is the key to a great-tasting stew.
  • Tomato sauce – My multi-purpose tomato sauce would be a perfect choice.
  • Coconut milk – The secret to an incredibly creamy stew broth is full fat coconut milk. We use fresh coconut products and milk in Bahia but if you’re not up to the challenge of extracting your own milk, use a high quality can of coconut milk instead.
  • Green bell pepper – I like the pop of color from green bell peppers but any color will work!
  • Herbs and spices – Red pepper flakes, fresh cilantro or parsley, and salt and pepper will round out the flavors and give the stew a perfect finishing touch.

How to make easy salmon stew

This dish is best served over white rice but make sure to cook it ahead of time because the stew takes almost no time at all! Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: Heat some oil in a cast iron skillet and saute the onion and garlic until soft. Next, stir the tomato sauce and coconut milk into the pan. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

Step 2: Arrange the salmon pieces in the skillet, then top with green peppers.

Step 3: Cover with a lid (optional) and cook until the salmon is cooked through.

Step 4: Once the salmon is cooked, add the fresh cilantro or parsley and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Serve the stew over white rice and enjoy! 

Tips and variations

  • Instead of salmon – You can make this stew recipe with cod, tilapia, shrimp, or another kind of fish that you like.
  • Add tomatoes – Add chopped tomatoes in the stew for added tang, sweetness, and texture.
  • Not sure if the salmon is cooked? A meat thermometer will be your best friend when checking if the salmon is cooked through. You’ll know the salmon is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF. For more tips on cooking salmon, see my pan seared salmon recipe.
  • Palm oil in salmon stew – The original recipe that I grew up with is made with palm oil, which is readily available throughout Brazil. Even though it provides the stew with its rich and fragrant qualities, palm oil is a very questionable product. Try to get your hands on a reputable, environmentally-friendly palm oil (this is my favorite) if you want to experience the true flavors of a Brazillian salmon stew.

Make ahead, storing, and freezing

Whether you need a simple dish for weekday lunches or are just looking to indulge in some leftovers, salmon stew is an excellent choice. Use these tips to store your batch:

  • Making ahead and storing: The stew can be made 3 to 4 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Freezing: Cook the stew without the salmon and keep it in an airtight container or sealed bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Ahead of serving, cook the fresh salmon filets and reheat the broth in a skillet. Add the salmon to the broth in the last few minutes of cooking, then serve.

Looking for more easy one-pot salmon recipes?

brazilian salmon stew moqueca
5 from 5 votes

Easy 20-Minutes Salmon Stew

by Silvia Dunnirvine
This Easy 20-Minute Salmon Stew is a tasty spin on an authentic moqueca recipe. Featuring tender cooked salmon, green bell peppers, and cilantro in a coconut and tomato broth, the rich and bright Brazillian-inspired flavors are completely irresistible!
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 lb wild salmon cut into smaller pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 small white onion sliced
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk full fat
  • 1/2 whole green pepper round slices
  • 1 pinch sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro or parsley

Instructions 

  • Start by heating the oil in a cast iron skillet. Add in garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant 2-3 minutes. Then add the tomato sauce and coconut milk and quickly stir. Let this simmer for another 2-3 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile slice the bell pepper and set aside. 
  • Arrange the salmon pieces in cast iron allowing the broth to surround the salmon.
  • Top with bell peppers and season to taste. You can cover the skillet if you like but you don’t have to. Most times I don’t cover. Cook for 10 minutes then carefully turn the salmon. 
  • At this point you can add the fresh cilantro and/or parsley and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until salmon is cooked through and internal temperature is 145F degrees. 
  • Serve over white rice.

Notes

  • Instead of salmon – You can make this stew recipe with cod, tilapia, shrimp, or another kind of fish that you like.
  • Add tomatoes – Add chopped tomatoes in the stew for added tang, sweetness, and texture.
  • Not sure if the salmon is cooked? A meat thermometer will be your best friend when checking if the salmon is cooked through. You’ll know the salmon is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF. For more tips on cooking salmon, see my pan seared salmon recipe.
  • Palm oil in salmon stew – The original recipe that I grew up with is made with palm oil, which is readily available throughout Brazil. Even though it provides the stew with its rich and fragrant qualities, palm oil is a very questionable product. Try to get your hands on a reputable, environmentally-friendly palm oil (this is my favorite) if you want to experience the true flavors of a Brazillian salmon stew.

Nutrition

Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 427mg | Potassium: 1139mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 472IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Keyword: Fish Stew, Moqueca, Salmon Stew, Seafood
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Brazilian
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Hi! I’m Silvia.

My goal is to make cooking simple and enjoyable.

Garden in the Kitchen is full of easy and balanced recipes for busy families. Classics get a healthier twist with additions of veggies or alternative ingredients.

I hope my recipes will inspire you to cook more home meals and above all have fun in the kitchen!

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15 Comments

    1. That’s awesome! I am so glad you tried and liked it. I make this so much and it works with all types of fish 🙂

  1. I loved it although I have to admit I added half a bag of frozen ochra to the tomato sauce and a big handful of baby spinach at the very end

  2. Soooo delicious just tried this recipe. Only difference is I added mushrooms, garbanzo beans, and Mexican oregano. Will definitely be made more often in our home.

  3. Delicious! This will be one of our favorite recipes for family gatherings! It turned out very well when cooked in a standard aluminum pot with lid on a wood stove heated to 500-550 F (by IR thermometer). The cook time was about 30 min but we figured that we could not overcook it so it was probably done in less time. To simplify further, we omitted the oil and simply heated all the vegetables together with the salmon. That seemed to work fine for us. Many thanks for putting it together and explaining it so well!

    1. Awe that’s wonderful, I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed my salmon stew recipe. Love the changes and adaptations to fit your needs better. That’s really great Joe and thanks for taking the time to share your feedback!