Coconut Shrimp Cakes & Pineapple Salsa

coconutshrimpThis is a recipe from Primal Blueprint Publishing’s popular cookbook Primal Cravings: Your Favorite Foods Made Paleo. The 125 recipes in Primal Cravings are all are low-sugar, grain-free, gluten-free, and industrial oil-free. What’s more, unlike typical substitute recipes in many other paleo cookbooks, these new and original grain-free baking methods have almost exclusively eliminated the need for the typical expensive agents like almond flour and other nut flours and nut butters.

This week we’re bringing you another tropically infused recipe to warm your winter weather blues!

If crab cakes and coconut shrimp had a love child, I’d imagine it would be something like this. The Keatley’s have put a clever spin on the two classics and taken it a step further by pairing it with a lively Pineapple Salsa.

Perfectly sweet and savory, this recipe is sure to please Primal and non-Primal fans alike. And at around 25 minutes from prep to finish, you’ll have an impressive appetizer or light dinner that’s full of flavor but doesn’t have you spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Coconut Shrimp Cakes

Servings: 6

Time in the Kitchen: 20 minutes


  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound cod filets
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt to taste
  • Coconut oil
  • Pineapple Salsa (below)


Place shredded coconut in a bowl. Blend egg, cod, shrimp, and salt in a food processor until relatively smooth. Use your hand or a scoop to form the seafood mixture into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Pat them into disc shapes, and coat them in shredded coconut.

In a large skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Fry the cakes until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.


Pineapple Salsa

Servings: 6

Time in the Kitchen: 5 minutes


  • 1?2 pineapple, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste


Pure?e all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Alternatively, you can make the salsa a bit more chucky and roughly chop everything with a knife. Pair with Coconut Shrimp Cakes and enjoy!


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22 thoughts on “Coconut Shrimp Cakes & Pineapple Salsa”

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  1. If another edition of this cookbook is planned, please add macronutrient information. I don’t see it above, nor in the sample pages at the link. Had macros been included, I probably would have ordered one today.

    We are on an LCHF diet that pays attention to net carbs. We are accustomed to paleo/primal/LCHF cookbooks which have some recipes in range, and some out (and open to substitutions). We skip over those books that flat out don’t tell.

    And the sample pages available show eyebrow-raising ingredients like tapioca flour and coconut sugar (are those really considered “primal”?).

    1. Boundless, you seem rather hung up on numbers, if I understand what you mean by “macronutrient info.” I’m not being critical; I’m just curious. Are there specific health issues involved that make it necessary? Some medical diets are extremely strict.

      IMO, one of the real joys of being Paleo/Primal is that it’s almost effortless. You don’t really need to worry about macronutrients or counting carbs and calories when you eat very simply, cooking from everything from scratch using high-quality protein, whole fresh fruit, fresh veggies, and good fats. For many of us, the elimination of sweets and grain products is the only essential for maintaining normal weight and optimal health. Others find it best to exclude dairy and all starchy foods.

      1. Re: … you seem rather hung up on numbers, …

        Just one: net carbs (total carbs less fiber carbs).

        Re: … if I understand what you mean by “macronutrient info.”

        The stuff you’d find on the top of a product’s NF panel: fats, protein, carbs, with some breakdown below that.

        Re: Are there specific health issues involved …

        Nope. We’re just optimizing to keep the diet right at the glycemic/keto border, which is principally a matter of minding the net carbs.

        Re: … one of the real joys of being Paleo/Primal is that it’s almost effortless.

        Sort of. We count nothing else (like calories, fat, protein), but finding quality raw ingredients is an on-going challenge. The vast majority of processed foods/ingredients, of course, fail in epic fashion.

        Re: You don’t really need to worry about macronutrients or counting carbs and calories when you eat very simply, cooking from everything from scratch using high-quality protein, whole fresh fruit, fresh veggies, and good fats.

        A couple of the recipes linked above contain processed ingredients. Cooks need to know the consequences of using those ingredients. Coconut sugar, for example, is a simple sugar (~75% sucrose). The inulin and micronutrient content does not make it harmless from a blood sugar standpoint.

        On this macronutient data point, I might add that Dr. Davis made the same mistake with his first Wheat Belly cookbook. He made sure each recipe met WB targets, but deliberately omitted the macro numbers (which he had). He got a lot of feedback about that, and the next two cookbooks included it.

        “Primal” (or even “paleo”) is still a relatively small market. In addition to keeping numbers wonks happy, including that macronutrient data in a cookbook makes it accessible to people with differing dietary goals. Increases sales. Everybody is happy.

        1. Thanks for your response. It’s always interesting to see how others go about being Paleo or low carb since I don’t sweat any of the numbers myself. Simply eliminating sweets, grains and most dairy (except butter) most of the time does the trick for me. The small amounts that do fall through the cracks get chalked up under the 80/20 rule.

    2. I agree including the macros would be nice, but you can easily work them out if you have an app that includes macros. There are many of them out there, free or very cheap.

      Tapioca flour & coconut sugar fall into the occasional indulgence category as I recall. This recipe looks pretty soundly Primal, though probably the salsa wouldn’t work for a VLC diet.

      1. This recipe really looks really good, particularly the pineapple salsa. However, I would have to replace the coconut products with something else. I seem to be somewhat allergic to all things coconut, plus I’ve never really liked the taste.

    3. While I agree that it may do you good to not get hung up on the numbers, I just checked the book and there is a table with the macro breakdowns for each dish in the back. I have had this book for a while and it is easily one of my favorite cookbooks. It does have several dessert recipes which are high on the carbs from tapioca flour and sugar, but they are frankly some of the best primal desserts I have ever and there is still a ton here even if you never touch the desserts.

    4. There’s a nutrition index included in the back of the book, covering each recipe.

      Hope this helps!

      1. re: There’s a nutrition index included in the back of the book …

        Thanks. A copy is in my cart for the next Amazon order.

  2. Chop some jalapeño into that salsa for a little kick. We have made fresh pineapple salsa for years and it’s SO good. The canker sores are worth it!!

    1. Haha Marti, we clearly think alike when it comes to heat! I only get a sore mouth when I really overdo it with the pineapple though. A small amount seems fine.

  3. Oh yum! This looks like my kind of recipe. Though I’ll probably add some heat in the form of fresh peppers or hot sauce. 🙂

  4. I might give this a try! For my husband who is allergic to eggs I might consider looking into pureed avocado, which works well as an egg substitute in cakes/pancakes. Or, a little less primal but less green colored, ground flax and water creates an egg-white-like goo that some people say acts like eggs in recipes.

  5. What do you do with the egg? Mix into the shrimp and cod? Or use to dredge prior to coating the cakes with coconut?

  6. I love this cookbook, and actually just perused the entire thing last night looking for something to make. I settled on the carrot cake cookies–I’m not much of a baker and rarely make sweets, but I had some extra time and was craving something warm and comforting. These really hit the spot! I appreciate this cookbook for those rare occasions I feel like baking a primal dessert. The other recipes are wonderful as well. I hope there’s a Primal Cravings 2 in the works!

  7. That picture doesn’t really make clear what you are using for the coating. I am guessing it is really just ordinary desiccated coconut rather than the much coarser shredded coconut.

    Pictures are useful for sorting out these international naming issues.

    You are weighing the prawns still in their shell, right? So given I usually lose just under half their weight when peeling, that is roughly 2/3 any bland white fish, and 1/3 prawn meat.

  8. Typo?
    Alternatively, you can make the salsa a bit more chucky and roughly chop everything with a knife.
    Alternatively, you can make the salsa a bit more chunky and roughly chop everything with a knife.

  9. Just made this and found that 1) I needed double the coconut flakes to coat all of the cakes and 2) it was harder cooking “balls” on all sides, so after the first batch, I flattened each one so I just had to cook it on two sides. That helped a lot, though not as pretty as a ball. This took 5 batches to make, so I wonder if I used too much of the shrimp/cod. My 1 lb of each was after it was peeled/deveined/deboned. I couldn’t even fit that much in my Ninja pulse blender, so had to blend in two batches.

    I made the pineapple salsa and also dipped some in this jerk chicken sauce my Jamaican husband made the other day (to go with his jerk chicken). Both were great additions and made me feel like I was eating on the beaches of Negril!