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Creamy Tuscan Salmon (Paleo)

Creamy Tuscan Salmon made perfectly seared in a skillet with rich and creamy dairy-free sauce of sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and spinach. The whole meal comes together in about 30 minutes and is paleo friendly and healthy!

Salmon filets in a skillet with sun-dried tomato sauce.

After posting my tutorial on How to Cook Salmon in a Skillet, I figured we needed to investigate the topic further by adding an intoxicatingly creamy and delicious rustic sauce with all sorts of flair.

So here we are with one of my favorite recipes I’ve made so far this year!: Tuscan Skillet Salmon with an amazing dairy-free sun-dried tomato sauce.

If you’ve tried my Crispy Skillet Salmon with Lemon Dill Caper Sauce, you’re already familiar with the concept.

We simply make pan-seared salmon, then whip up a creamy cream-free sauce that includes garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, full-fat canned coconut milk, and spinach.

The end result is a restaurant quality meal with that perfectly crispy salmon with an amazing tender inside engulfed in what can only be described as…vacation. 

Serve this salmon dish with your choice of side dishes for an unforgettable meal! I love this salmon with my Lemon Garlic Rosemary Rice, which absorbs that incredible sauce.

Let’s discuss the fresh and simple ingredients needed to make this healthy salmon recipe!

Photo of a stainless steel skillet with four salmon filets in creamy Tuscan sauce

Ingredients for Tuscan Skillet Salmon:

Salmon: Fresh Atlantic Salmon, Wild Alaskan King Salmon, or sockeye salmon make for an amazing dish! If at all possible, I recommend using fresh salmon with the skin still attached rather than frozen salmon in order to get that amazing crisp on the outside.

You will need 1.5 to 2 pounds, depending on how many people you’re planning on serving. I generally plan for ½ pound salmon fillets per person.

Avocado Oil: Because we’re searing the salmon at a high temperature, we need a cooking oil that has a high smoke point. I love using avocado oil because of its high smoke point and its neutral flavor. I don’t recommend using olive oil in this application, as it will burn during the searing process.

Garlic: Loads of fresh garlic bring plenty of flavor to the rich and creamy Tuscan sauce. Feel free to adjust the amount depending on your personal taste.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes: The sun-dried tomatoes are the real star of the Tuscan sauce. They add bright, tangy flavor with a nice sweet and acidic touch to counterbalance the creamy sauce. Feel free to use more or less depending on your palate.

You can replace the sun-dried tomatoes with 1 cup of fresh cherry tomatoes but note that the sauce will not taste the same.

Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk: The creamy ingredient of the creamy sauce is full-fat canned coconut milk. It may sound strange to use coconut milk to replace cream in a sauce, but I promise you, it works! The end result is a silky smooth sauce that is jam packed with delicious flavor. 

If you aren’t dairy-free, you can replace the coconut milk with 1 ⅔ cups of heavy cream, but be sure you heat the cream carefully and don’t bring it to a full boil.

Rice Vinegar: A splash of vinegar provides a little tang to the sauce to mimic the flavor of dairy. It

Sea Salt, Black Pepper & Paprika: The seasonings! Sea salt enhances all of the individuals and brings the flavor profile into a cohesive whole. The paprika adds a rustic smokiness. You can also add Italian seasoning or garlic powder if you like it.

Baby Spinach: Fresh spinach adds some additional substance to the meal by infusing it with vitamins and minerals.

Optional Additions: Red pepper flakes for some heat, kalamata olives or artichoke hearts for some brininess, fresh basil or dill for some herby flavor, lemon juice for added acidity, parmesan cheese for some yum! You can also add 1/2 cup of dry white wine to the sauce if you love cooking with wine.

Let’s make this easy, delicious creamy Tuscan Salmon recipe!

Horizontal photo of creamy tuscan salmon in a stainless steel skillet

How to Make Tuscan Salmon:

Sprinkle the salmon filets with sea salt and heat the avocado oil in a large skillet (I recommend using a cast iron skillet or a quality nonstick skillet) over high heat. Allow the skillet to heat up for a few minutes until it is sizzling hot – you want it to be around 400 degrees Fahrenheit before you place the salmon on the skillet.

Place the salmon in the hot pan flesh side down and sear for 5 minutes. I recommend setting the timer on your phone or a kitchen timer rather than guessing the time ;).

Carefully flip the salmon and cook for another 5 minutes on the skin side, or until the salmon has reached your desired level of doneness. Check the internal temperature of the salmon with a meat thermometer. The FDA considers salmon to be fully cooked at 145 degrees F.

Transfer the salmon filets to a plate and set aside.

Crispy salmon in a skillet

Place the skillet back on the stove top and adjust the heat down to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two, until it is very fragrant.

Add the coconut milk, vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, and paprika to the skillet and stir well.

Allow the sauce to cook at a full boil, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened to your desired thickness, about 8 to 12 minutes. 

Add the baby spinach and continue cooking until the spinach has wilted.

Transfer the salmon back to the skillet and spoon the sauce over the salmon. Cook for a few minutes, until the salmon is piping hot.

Serve Tuscan Salmon with your favorite side dishes, and enjoy!

I recommend serving this dish with steamed rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, or cauliflower rice to soak up some of that lovely creamy sun-dried tomato sauce.

Because I eat veggies at every single meal, I would be remiss if I didn’t also recommend enjoying the salmon with Crowd-Pleasing Roasted Vegetables, Smashed Sweet Potatoes, or Balsamic Roasted Vegetables.

Store any leftover salmon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

close up image of Tuscan salmon in a stainless steel skillet.

If you love rustic recipes using sundried tomatoes, also try my One Pot Creamy Tuscan Chicken or my Instant Pot Creamy Tuscan Chicken.

That’s it! Everything you need for a romantic evening in, featuring the absolute best salmon!

More Healthy Salmon Recipes:

Enjoy this magical easy Tuscan Salmon recipe!

Salmon filets in a skillet with sun-dried tomato sauce.

Creamy Tuscan Salmon (Paleo)

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Creamy Tuscan Salmon is a healthy salmon recipe featuring a creamy dairy-free sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and spinach. Serve it with steamed rice, noodles, or your choice of sides for an amazing meal!

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1.5 to 2 lbs salmon, cut into filets
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar or rice vinegar
  • ⅔ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 cups baby spinach, optional

Instructions

    1. Sprinkle the salmon filets with sea salt and heat the avocado oil in a large skillet (I recommend using a cast iron skillet or a quality nonstick skillet) over high heat. Allow the skillet to heat up for a few minutes until it is sizzling hot - you want it to be around 400 degrees Fahrenheit before you place the salmon on the skillet.

    Crispy Salmon - a simple, quick and easy approach to cooking salmon that wins every time!

    2. Place the salmon in the hot pan flesh side down and sear for 5 minutes.

    Salmon cooking flesh-side down in a cast iron skillet

    3. Carefully flip the salmon and cook for another 5 minutes on the skin side, or until the salmon has reached your desired level of doneness. Check the internal temperature of the salmon with a meat thermometer. The FDA considers salmon to be fully cooked at 145 degrees F. Transfer the salmon filets to a plate and set aside.

    Crispy salmon in a skillet

    4. Place the skillet back on the stove top and adjust the heat down to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two, until it is very fragrant.

    Garlic sautéing in a stainless steel skillet.

    5. Add the coconut milk, vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, and paprika to the skillet and stir well. Allow the sauce to cook at a full boil, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened to your desired thickness, about 8 to 12 minutes. 

    Creamy Tuscan Sauce in a skillet

    6. Add the baby spinach and continue cooking until the spinach has wilted.

    Skillet with finished Tuscan sauce ready for the salmon

    7. Transfer the salmon back to the skillet and spoon the sauce over the salmon. Cook for a few minutes, until the salmon is piping hot. Serve Tuscan Salmon with your favorite side dishes, and enjoy!

    Horizontal photo of creamy tuscan salmon in a stainless steel skillet

Notes

I recommend serving this dish with steamed rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, or cauliflower rice to soak up some of that lovely creamy sun-dried tomato sauce.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1 Serving (of 4)
Amount Per Serving Calories 508Total Fat 33gCarbohydrates 9gNet Carbohydrates 7gFiber 2gSugar 6gProtein 39g
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Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Tuscan Salmon recipe that is dairy-free, easy to make, and loaded with flavor.

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