Baked sole flowers on coconut pea puree is one of my favourite dishes to enjoy the green pea and spinach season. It’s a perfect light meal for the warmer days and free of all major allergens. This coconut pea puree and baked sole flower dish takes less than 30 mins to make, and so beautiful and elegant to serve to your guests for a special occasion!
Baked sole flowers has been one of my very special dishes for the past years. I love that the baked sole flowers on coconut pea puree is a light summer meal, yet still satisfying. You can make this dish with fresh farmer’s market peas and spinach in the summer months.
It may not come to mind at first, but I also made it for many years on St.Patrick’s day, for it’s beautiful green and white colour theme! Even when spinach and green peas can no longer be found fresh in the grocery stores, the frozen peas and frozen spinach are available all year around.
Oxalate in Spinach
I want to talk a little bit about spinach and traditional practice from the east. When I grew up in China, we never ate raw spinach. In Asian countries, people only eat a small variety of raw vegetables on a regular basis, such as cucumber, tomato, lettuce, garlic, scallion and cilantro etc. There is a big emphasis in Asian food culture on cooking to increase nutritional values and digestibility of certain foods.
Spinach stands out as a vegetable with high level of Oxalic acid. Cooking spinach can greatly reduce the level. A common practice to cook spinach in Asia is to blanch it quickly and discard the water. It’s a big NO-NO to cook spinach with high calcium foods such as tofu. Oxalic acid and calcium bind together easily and is believed to cause kidney stones. But once spinach is blanched, it’s considered safe to eat along with other foods that contain high amount of calcium – at least what I was told.
This is something that many Chinese people are aware of and my grandma would talk about in casual conversations, so it’s very much ingrained in me. Raw and live foods have their values, but raw isn’t always the best. I have expanded the variety of raw foods I eat since I moved to Canada. I won’t fret about a few spinach leaves in a bowl of salad at a restaurant. However, when I am cooking in my own kitchen, raw spinach is one that I can not feel comfortable putting in my smoothies, from the childhood habits.
Keep in mind that fish cooks really fast. So if there is one important tip for this recipe, that is to be careful not to overcook the fish. I also find that everyone’s different when it comes to how much garlic flavour they like in their food. For those who prefer a mild garlic flavour, I highly recommend you to lightly fry the garlic in the butter first, before using it to dress the fish. I wrote both options for making the garlic butter sauce in the recipe section below.
Gluten-Free Baked Sole
I love that this baked sole flowers on coconut pea puree is quick to make and so beautiful that you can serve on special occasions! This dish is completely grain free and gluten free. Easily adaptable for paleo. I use a little butter to dress the fish and as a topping a little home-made organic milk kefir at the end. But feel free to replace them with coconut oil and coconut cream or coconut kefir to make the dairy-free version.
Related: Other Grain-Free and Gluten-Free Dinners You Will Love
- Butternut Squash and Beef Meatballs
- Chinese Herbal Healing Oxtail Soup
- Smoked Salmon Potato Salad with Pickle Juice Dressing (a Probiotic Twist)
- Keto Cauliflower Fried Rice /w Hot Dog and Eggs
- Sheet-Pan Keto Zucchini Noodles and Shrimp (Paleo, Whole 30, Keto)
Coconut Pea Puree + Baked Sole Flowers
- 3 tbsp organic grass-fed butter (Dairy-free option: use coconut oil instead)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ground black pepper
- 4 cups spinach
- 4 fillets of sole
Coconut Pea Puree
- 2 cups green peas
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp organic whole milk kefir (Dairy-free option: use coconut cream or coconut kefir instead)
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Blanch the spinach until wilted. Spinach cook down significantly, so 4 cups of raw spinach isn't going to be too much for this dish. It should take only 30 seconds to 1 minute in boiling water to blanch the spinach. Take the spinach out and drain thoroughly. Gently squeeze the water out of the spinach.
- Melt the butter. Mince the garlic as fine as possible. Combine minced garlic, melted butter, 1/2 tsp of salt and a pinch of ground black pepper to taste, to make a garlic and butter sauce. A garlic press can come in handy for making finely minced garlic, or use a small blender to blend this mixture so that the garlic is thoroughly broken down.
- For a milder flavour of garlic in this dish, you can fry the garlic and butter mixture lightly in a frying pan. Cooking the garlic in butter will bring out the aroma of the garlic and tone down the pungent garlic taste. For the garlic lovers, you may choose to skip this step. The garlic and butter dressing on fish will be baked in the sole flowers in step 5. But because the fish doesn't require long cooking time, there will be a slightly stronger presence of the garlic taste, if not pre-cooked.
- Brush the garlic and butter mixture over the fish fillet, wrap the fish fillet over cooked spinach. Repeat 4 times to make 4 sole flowers.
- Place the sole flowers in a baking dish. Drizzle the leftover garlic and butter mixture on top of the spinach in the centre of the sole flowers. This will add some saltiness and flavour for the spinach. Bake the sole flowers in a pre-heated oven, for 10-15 minutes at 350ºF.
- Combine 1 cup of coconut milk and 2 cups of green peas in a pot. Add 1/4 tsp of salt. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes until the peas are cooked. For best flavour, use a full-fat organic coconut milk, the kind that comes in a can. The paper cartoon coconut milk is very diluted and doesn't taste as good.
- Puree the cooked coconut milk and peas in a blender until smooth. Divide the coconut pea puree into 2 dinner bowls. Arrange 2 sole flowers in each bowl.
- (Optional) Too finish off, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil, the leftover pan juice from the baked sole flowers, then top with a few sprinkles of hemp hearts, and a few drops of organic whole milk kefir.
- For dairy-free, use coconut oil instead of butter, use coconut kefir or coconut cream instead of milk kefir.
- The calorie calculation is based on 1 serving.