Red Curry Salmon with Veggies is not only a show-stopper to look at, but it’s seriously delicious – and easy to make! Yep, this one-pan, 30-minute meal is E-A-S-Y to throw together on a whim, and we can’t get enough it. We take center-cut portions of Atlantic salmon, sear them until irresistibly crispy on the outside and buttery on the inside and then simmer them in a sweet and spicy coconut curry sauce. We nestle in tons of veggies – portabella mushrooms, baby corn, spinach, red peppers, and onions – and then sprinkle it with a little bit of fresh basil. SO good.
Red Curry Salmon and Veggies
If you think our Red Curry Salmon is reserved for special occasions only, think again. And, while the ingredient list may seem slightly long, I promise, this is a one-skillet, 30-minute weekday-worthy dinner you’ll come back to time and time again.
Bonus? It’s healthy! And packed with veggies. So there’s that.
We have our fair share of red curry recipes around here (Coconut Curry Soup and Curry Meatballs are recent faves), and there’s a reason – that sweet, spicy, completely intoxicating combination of red curry, brown sugar, and coconut milk is something I could literally drink with a straw.
Throw in a perfectly seared center-cut piece of buttery salmon, tons of veggies, and a hint of basil, and I’m in food heaven. You will be too.
Ingredients in Red Curry Salmon
Our red curry sauce is pretty standard, and the same one we use in our Curry Burgers. It’s a simple combination of red curry paste, coconut milk (full fat), a good amount of brown sugar, peanut butter, and a little squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice for a hint of acid.
If you’ve never used red curry paste before, this is the brand I always use, and I’ve never been to a grocery store that doesn’t carry it. Red curry paste is typically synonymous with a high-level of spice, but this version has only a hint of heat to it, and is instead packed with SPICES aka tons of flavor. Some of the more prominent ingredients are red bell peppers, garlic, red chiles, ginger, and shallots. It’s a lovely combination and when paired with something sweet like coconut milk and brown sugar, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
I don’t find that you HAVE to have lime juice, but adding a touch of acid helps to round out the other flavors.
You can honestly use whatever veggies you want, my veggies of choice were red bell peppers which compliment the bell peppers in the curry paste), baby corn (because I can’t get enough of it), hearty portabella mushrooms, and baby spinach.
If you can, I’d recommend using salmon filets that are center-cut with the skin-on. Keeping the skin on ensures the salmon stays together while cooking, but it also helps to keep the center nice and moist. A center-cut piece of salmon is thicker than an end cut, and allows for more even cooking.
Let’s make Red Curry Salmon!
Sear the salmon. The key too getting an ultra-crispy salmon without any sticking, is in my opinion, to use a cast-iron skillet. (We love this one!!) A cast-iron skillet heats up evenly and retains heat wonderfully. When paired with just a touch of olive oil or coconut oil, you can get the top of the salmon crispy enough to rival even the best of restaurants.
- First, I heat the cast-iron skillet up to a medium-high heat.
- Once it’s hot. I swirl in just a little bit of oil. Only enough to very lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
- Season the salmon with lots of salt and just a teeny bit of pepper. You’ll need more salt than you think, be generous. Not only does this season the salmon but it also helps to get the surface crisp.
- Place the salmon skin-side up in the skillet. Don’t move it! Let it still for about 3-4. minutes – it will easily release from the pan when it’s ready. Flip and do the same for the other side.
- If you want to eat the skin, I’d recommend doing it in the opposite order and cook until the skin is ultra crispy.
Sauté the veggies. Once the salmon is seared, remove from the filets from the pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms, onions, and peppers. Sauté until slightly softened, about three minutes. Add the garlic, cook another minute or so.
Make the sauce. Whisk in the curry paste. Cook for a minute. Whisk in the coconut milk, peanut butter, salt, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the spinach. Stir until wilted. Add the salmon back to the pan and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook until the salmon is cooked to desired donees, another 2-3 minutes for medium-well.
Sprinkle with basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Dig in!
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Use any variety of veggies you’d like. Zucchini, squash, any kind of bell pepper, or snow peas would be nice.
- If you can’t find Thai basil, regular basil will also work. Also, you can leave it out altogether if it’s not in season, no problem.
- I like the mouthfeel of full-fat coconut milk, but you can swap out low-fat coconut milk as well.
- Don’t cook your veggies too long, you want them to be tender, but not mushy.
- For even cooking, I like to cut the salmon filets in half. If the thinner portion of the salmon cooks first, remove it from the sauce so it doesn’t overcook.
What can I use instead of of red curry paste?
Unfortunately unless you’re going to make your own curry paste, there’s isn’t a great substitutions. If you’re in a bind, you can use curry powder if you have it on hand.
What should I serve with curry salmon?
- For this particular recipe I went simple and just steamed some plain basmati rice.
- You could also pair it with our favorite Fried Rice with Egg.
- These 5-Ingredient Lo Mein noodles would also be a great pairing.
- 5 tsp coconut or olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced and divided
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 3/4 cups chicken stock, divided
- 14.5 oz can coconut milk
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp packed brown sugar, divided
- 4 6 oz salmon filets
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- 4 oz sliced portabella mushrooms
- 1/2 cup baby carrots, chopped
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 2 tsp peanut butter
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup thai or regular basil
- Cast iron skillet
- Heat a medium saucepan over a medium-low flame. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, chopped onion and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Sweat the onion and garlic until fragrant and slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice. Toast for 1-2 minutes. Pour in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, 1/2 cup of the coconut milk (reserve the rest for later) and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the rice sit, covered for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
- While the rice cooks, sprinkle salmon generously with 1 teaspoon salt, followed by garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons brown sugar. Heat a large cast iron skillet to a medium-high heat. Drizzle the skillet with 2 teaspoons coconut oil. Swirl the pan to coat. Place the salmon, skin-side up in the pan. Sear until crispy, about 4-5 minutes. The salmon will easily release from the pan when it's crisp. Flip and sear the other side. Remove the salmon from the pan and set aside.
- Add remaining coconut oil to the pan. Add sliced onion, red bell peppers, and mushrooms. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining two cloves of garlic, baby carrots and curry paste. Cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in remaining coconut milk, 1/4 cup chicken stock, peanut butter, brown sugar, and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add lime juice, spinach and basil. Stir until wilted. Add salmon back to the skillet. Continue to simmer until the sauce is thickened and the salmon is cooked all the way through, about 2-3 minutes.
- Serve salmon, veggies and sauce over rice. Garnish with extra basil.