This easy dinner recipe features fresh vegetables and buttery cod poached in coconut milk. Using just a few pantry staples, you can have Coconut Cod with Fennel and Spinach on the table in 20 minutes.
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One of my favorite lessons in the culinary class I took at Drexel for my nutrition degree focused on poaching fish. I remember thinking how easy it was, and how everyone would likely eat more fish if they knew this simple method!
So, it’s about time I taught you guys, right?! All you need is a liquid (preferably a flavorful one) and fish fillets. But since it is a Veg World (after all), I also added veggies to this coconut cod recipe. Fennel and spinach to be exact.
As the recipe name suggests, I poached the fish in coconut milk. All I can say about that is…YUM. The poaching liquid really reminds me of the one I used in my Coconut Braised Vegan Collard Greens.
It has a touch of tamari, lime juice, and crushed red pepper – the makings for a flavorful meal! Plus, of course, it has the wonderful sweet, anise taste of added fennel. Let’s get to it.
How to Make Coconut Cod with Fennel and Spinach
- Wash your bulb of fennel. Slice into quarters and remove the core with your fingers.
- Slice each quarter into half-moon pieces.
- Get the poaching liquid ready by pouring a can of full-fat coconut milk into a large skillet. Add the other ingredients.
- Place the fennel into the skillet and cook for ~5 minutes over medium heat.
- Stir in the spinach.
- Place the cod fillets on top of the skillet, and use your spoon to push the veggies to the side so you can submerge the cod. Cook for ~7-9 minutes.
Expert Tips and FAQ
- Make sure the cod fillets are fully (or almost fully) covered in the liquid. This is key to even and quick cooking.
- You want the fennel to be slightly tender before adding the spinach and cod.
- Feel free to adjust seasonings for this coconut cod as desired. Add salt and pepper or more crushed red pepper.
- If you’re using frozen cod, defrost it in a bowl of cold water before cooking.
- This is best when eaten right away. You can keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet for a few minutes or in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on high.
How long do you poach cod fillets?
Cod is especially easy to poach, and takes only 7-9 minutes to cook when submerged in liquid. You can also use halibut or walleye if you cannot find cod for this recipe.
More Easy Fish Recipes
If you like this coconut cod, check out these other flavorful dinners featuring seafood:
- Sheet Pan Maple Mustard Salmon and Brussels
- Summer Squash and Dill Salmon Burgers
- Garlic Lemon Butternut Squash Noodles with Shrimp
- Sheet Pan Orange Glazed Salmon and Broccolini
I’d love to hear how you like this recipe! Rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and follow the Veg World on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
Coconut Cod with Fennel and Spinach
- Prepare the fennel slices. Add the coconut milk, tamari, lime juice, and red pepper flakes to a large skillet over medium heat.
- Place the fennel slices in the skillet and cook for ~5 minutes, until slightly tender. Stir in the spinach (it will look like a lot but it will cook down) and place the cod fillets on top. Use your spoon to push the fennel to the sides and submerge the cod fillets fully (or almost fully) into the poaching liquid.
- Cook for an additional 7-9 minutes, or until the cod flesh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Transfer to 2 plates for serving, and enjoy!
- Storage: This is best eaten right away, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container. Reheat in a skillet for a few minutes or in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on high.
- Substitutions/additions: Feel free to add more red pepper, tamari or soy sauce, or lime juice to taste. Sub halibut, tilapia, or walleye if you can’t find cod. If using frozen cod, defrost in a bowl of cold water before using in the recipe. You can also use the fennel fronds for garnish.
Have a great week! – Lizzie
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