Serendipitous Salmon and Sweet Potato Chowdah: Dairy-Free!

Salmon Sweet Potato Chowder

Salmon Sweet Potato Chowder

It seems to be salmon season around these parts. This just so happens to dovetail nicely with soup season, as luck would have it. Last weekend, I accompanied my precocious four year old, Lily, on a special school field trip to the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. Her preschool is currently doing a unit on salmon, includes obtaining their own salmon eggs to hatch, and they wanted to seize the seasonal opportunity. So I took the morning off work, packed our lunches, and headed east into the gorgeous Gorge.

As it happens, this was a place I had visited years and years ago with Donna, not long after we first reunited, on one of our early visits with her whole family. Understandably, the Kellys enjoyed showing off their fabulous state, and seeing the salmon jumping up a fish ladder and watching them pour through a counting station at an underground viewing window is quite the fascinating Oregon experience. But I hadn’t realized we were headed to the exact same place until we arrived and I instantly remembered my first experience there. I never would have predicted that one day I’d be living here myself – it’s amazing how life works out sometimes, is it not? We had a fabulous, if very wet, day, and I bought Lily a stuffed Chinook salmon (pictured above) at the hatchery gift shop.

Lily at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. I think the Kellys will agree she gets her fashion sense from her Auntie Kate.

A final serendipitous moment awaited me. Craving salmon after all this – I really have embraced my inner omnivore, haven’t I? –  I decided to hit a New Seasons (glorious Portland area food lover’s shangri-la) on our way back. Lo, whole salmon was on sale for $5.99 a pound! This soup was simply meant to be. Serendipity again. They were kind enough to sell me just half of one, filet it AND give me all the trimmings for stock, and thus I happily spent the remainder of the day making stock using this recipe. I froze two of the filets for future fun, seared one to eat immediately, and used the other in this impromptu gluten-free, dairy-free chowder.


1/4 cup coconut oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons almond flour
3 tablespoons coconut flour
6 cups salmon stock (or fish stock, or another stock of your choice)
2 large parsnips, peeled and finely diced
1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled and finely diced
1 large salmon filet (about 1 1/2-pound), skin discarded
1 can (14 0unces) regular coconut milk
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
pinch or two red pepper flakes
1 bunch scallions, chopped (whites and greens)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

Heat coconut oil over medium high in a large stockpot. Add onion and saute for a few minutes, then add carrots and celery and saute for 3-4 more minutes, until softening and starting to sweat. Add garlic and saute 2 more minutes. Whisk almond and coconut flours into the veggies and cook,  whisking constantly, for several minutes, until just starting to turn lightly golden brown. Stir in one cup of the stock and whisk to make sure bottom of the pan is completely deglazed, then stir in remaining stock. Add sweet potatoes and parsnips. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.

Add salmon filet, coconut milk, and remaining seasonings, reserving a handful of the scallions for garnishing. Simmer over low about 10 to 12 minutes,  stirring occasionally, until salmon is cooked through and begins to break up as you stir. Discard bay leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a scattering of scallions and extra lemon if desired.

Other fishy business from bloggers:
Crockpot Fish Chowder from A Year of Slow Cooking
Southwest Mussel Chowder from Food Renegade
Simple Seafood Chowder from Eating Richly

— posted by Anne



  1. says

    Hey Anne,

    So nice to get to know you and read about you, your family and your lovely food ideas. This soup does sound amazing and with the rain we’ve been having – it feels like soup weather. I look forward to trying it.

    Also, I have a request…any suggestions on any slow cooker soup recipes that you have recently come up with? I’m needing to sort my family Monday dinners. I watch the boys, set up dinner and head to work when husband has come home. Ideas that pack in nutrients, but can slowly bubble for awhile.

    Any thoughts?

    All the best, Audrianna Joy

  2. says

    Ooooh, this is so my kind of recipe! I crave both salmon and sweet potatoes. To have them together in this chowder recipe is fantastic! Love the super cute photo of the girlie, too. :-)

    And, as always, thanks so much for sharing my recipe link! Y’all are very kind!


    • says

      Thanks so much, Shirley! I love those two very much myself – was really happy with how the combination turned out.

      And you’re very welcome!

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