A creamy Thai Coconut Risotto with Blackened Salmon is an easy recipe to put together using Kevin’s Natural Foods pre-made sauce.
It almost seems impossible to think about going to a fancy sit down restaurant anytime soon – especially with kid number four coming home from the NICU hospital soon. The Neonatal doctor and the resident doctor were going over the plan for discharge and trying to figure out what day he would be released to us.
“We should aim for Monday,” said the resident. “This will give mom and dad a couple of date nights before he arrives.”
The other resident doctors and the Neonatal doctor all laughed and nodded in agreement like they were doing us a favor.
“But with the three other kids,” I said interrupting them, “we haven’t had a date night in years.”
Just the thought of us sitting in a restaurant alone is such a foreign concept. It’s been a couple of years. I think it was the night we went to Howie’s Bayou on Woodward Ave in Ferndale, Michigan before we went to the Tiffany concert down the street from it. Her choice, not mine – I promise. The concert that is. I picked the restaurant. I ordered the smoked sausage red beans and rice and she got the blackened chicken jambalaya. If it was her choice, it would have been a local Italian spot.
As the doctors were finishing off their quick meeting and sorting out the details of medicine and feeding plans, I thought of a dinner for two at an Italian restaurant and what that would be like – probably conversations about the kids. Isn’t that how it always goes?
Recently I was invited to participate in a blogger recipe challenge. The folks at Kevin’s Natural Foods sent me a box with four different pre-made sauces and challenged me to come up with a different recipe for each one. The other catch is that there are four categories, and I can only enter each category with one sauce. The categories are chicken, beef, vegetarian, and seafood. This Thai Coconut Risotto with Blackened Salmon recipe is my submission to the ‘Seafood’ category using the Thai Coconut Sauce packet that I was sent.
The Thai Coconut Sauce is amazing. It’s a mild coconut curry made with coconut milk, basil, and Thai spices. I can’t wait to try this again with a chicken or beef stir fry. The other sauce packs I was sent was a Lemongrass Basil, BBQ Sauce, and a Taco Sauce. A few days ago I shared my entry of the ‘Vegetarian’ category and used the BBQ Sauce with this Easy BBQ Baked Beans recipe.
So far, all of these sauces have been outstanding. Really. The best part is that these pre-made sauces are made without refined sugar, dairy, are gluten and soy-free, and allow you to have a delicious meal without skipping out on any of the flavors. And that’s what Kevin’s Natural Foods specializes in. Also, if you’re living a Paleo or Keto lifestyle, this is perfect for you.
And this meal came out perfect. The secret trick to making this healthy and clean eating, and not as stressful as a real risotto, is using cauliflower rice instead of short-grain rice. The authentic Italian way to make a risotto is to use butter and broth and to stir the rice for what can seem like an exhausting amount of time.
Instead of a butter-infused base, I used the package of Kevin’s Natural Foods Thai Coconut Sauce as the sauce of this risotto. And to keep your old Italian grandmother happy, there are a few minutes of constant stirring as the cauliflower heats up.
PRO TIP: Use frozen cauliflower rice. This is a quick way and you don’t lose any nutrients by using a frozen package. Plus, you don’t have the stress of having to rice a head of cauliflower.
The best part of this recipe is that everything can come together with ingredients you may already have on hand. I used already frozen wild-caught salmon filets. What better way to include salmon in this risotto than to blacken it first? It’s about building upon the flavors, right? Blackening seafood is an old Cajun technique made popular by Chef Paul Prudhomme at his restaurant in New Orleans, K-Paul’s, in the early 1980s. To make things simple, you can purchase your favorite brand of Creole or Cajun seasoning at the supermarket.
PRO TIP: By making your own seasoning blend, you can adjust the amount of heat you add by increasing or decreasing the cayenne pepper, as well as the salt intake. I do have some pre-mixed seasoning containers on hand, but I usually make the blend in the recipe so I have control over the flavor.
If you prefer not to include the salmon in the risotto and would like to prepare it all separate, it’s just as good. Here is the Blackened Salmon served on top of the Thai Coconut Risotto. What do you think?
If you’re in the same situation that my wife and I are in, and you’re looking for a tremendous restaurant-quality meal to serve at a stay-at-home date night, try this Thai Coconut Risotto with Blackened Salmon. Serve it with a side salad and a good wine. It combines a lot of different flavors with the coconut, the Thia spices, the salmon, the crispy blackened Cajun seasoning. For added flavor, and health benefits, I added canned asparagus spears.
Let me know what you think of the recipe in the comment section below. Enjoy!
Thai Coconut Risotto with Blackened Salmon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 12- ounce bag frozen cauliflower rice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 7- oz package of Kevin's Natural Foods Thai Coconut Sauce
- prepared Blackened Salmon shredded (see attached recipe)
- 1/2 cup asparagus spears from can, drained
- parmesan cheese
- green onions chopped, for garnishment
Heat a large pan over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add olive oil, frozen cauliflower rice, salt, and black pepper. Stir until the rice is thawed, about 8-10 minutes.
Add in the minced garlic and stir for 1 minute until fragrant.
Pour in the package of Kevin's Natural Foods Thai Coconut sauce. Reduce the heat to LOW and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes - keep stirring so the risotto doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Stir in the shredded Blackened Salmon and the drained cuts of asparagus. Let the pot simmer for another 5 minutes before serving.
To serve, top with parmesan cheese and chopped green onions.
- 1 lb salmon fillets
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix together the seasoning.
If salmon is frozen, thaw before cooking. Pat dry. Season the salmon filets on both sides with the seasoning mix.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over MEDIUM heat. Once the oil is hot, place the salmon in the pan and sear for about 5 minutes - or until browned and crispy. Flip and sear the other side for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned and crispy.
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Keep the red beans cookin’!
Eric Olsson is the food blogger of RedBeansAndEric.com. He publishes new recipes and interviews weekly. He has developed recipes and written articles for the famous Camellia brand in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been mentioned in Louisiana Cookin‘ magazine and has had recipes featured in Taste of Home magazine – with his Creole Turkey recipe being runner up in their annual Thanksgiving recipe contest. He lives outside of Detroit, Michigan, with his wife and four children.