Paleo Brazilian Fish Stew Recipe

Whole30 Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

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I’m not sure where I first heard about Moqueca aka Brazilian Fish Stew, but I’m definitely glad I decided to give it a try.

This creamy, coconut milk-based cod and plantain stew is paleo, dairy free, keto, and Whole30. But my favorite part is the full spectrum of flavors and colorful veggies!

What is moqueca?

Moqueca is a Brazilian recipe containing salt water fish, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and coriander. Traditionally, you’d cook moqueca in a terra cotta pot. (But spoilers, I don’t have one. I used a dutch oven).

Nowadays, true moqueca can be made two different ways: moqueca baiana and moqueca capixaba. While my version of paleo Brazilian fish stew can’t be called traditional, I’d say it’s closer to moqueca capixaba.

In addition to the staples of fish, tomatoes, onions, and garlic, I’ve added plantains. Because duh, I love plantains.

And damn, is this Brazilian fish stew good! Plantains and cod make such a good combo. Veggies like bell pepper, cilantro, and tomato add wonderful color and flavor.

Paleo Brazilian Fish Stew Recipe

How to ensure fast and easy cooking

This one’s simple and fun, as long as you’re game for a little prep work. The bulk of the recipe is in the prep, so my best advice is to get comfortable with mise en place.

Not familiar with that term? “Mise en place” is a French culinary phrase meaning “everything in its place.” Essentially, it means reading through a recipe and prepping all the ingredients before actually beginning step 1 of the instructions.

Frankly, mise en place is the unspoken step 1 of any recipe. I guarantee it makes cooking much less stressful and a helluva lot faster!

For recipes like this paleo Brazilian fish stew, it’s especially helpful because the actual cooking portion involves gradually adding ingredients to the same pot. If everything’s already cut up, measured, ready to go, making the stew becomes stupid easy.

Paleo Brazilian Fish Stew Recipe

How to make Brazilian fish stew

Just like so many other soups and stews before, making this paleo Brazilian fish stew recipe couldn’t be easier!

First, assemble your ingredients and prep them (mise en place — see above!). Next, you’ll start marinating the cod in some finely minced ginger and lime juice. Then, you’ll saute the veggies in the soup pot until they’re tender. Finally add the fish, broth, and coconut milk, finishing with a simmer to stew perfection.

And that’s really the meat and potatoes of it. This recipe is truly uncomplicated!

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Paleo Brazilian Fish Stew Recipe

Whole30 Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

  • Author: Chelsea at
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Stew
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Brazilian


Simple, spicy, and swimming with veggies, this Whole30 Brazilian Fish Stew makes a quick and comforting weeknight meal.


  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs cod, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 inch ginger, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (omit for less heat)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced very thinly
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 yellow plantains, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 14 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup bone broth or stock
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish


  1. Add cod pieces, lime juice, and ginger to a shallow bowl, gently mixing to coat the cod and distribute the ginger. Set aside and let marinate while you start the rest of the stew.
  2. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add garlic, crushed red pepper, onion, and bell pepper strips, sauteing for 5-8 minutes or until veggies have softened and garlic is fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and plantains and stir, cooking an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer cod from the marinade to the dutch oven, nestling the cod pieces in the veggies. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Discard the marinade. Stir the paprika, broth, and coconut milk into the dutch oven. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Stir in cilantro and serve immediately.

Keywords: Brazilian Fish Stew


Paleo Brazilian Fish Stew Recipe
Paleo Brazilian Fish Stew Recipe


I'm Chelsea, the author behind Chelsea Joy Eats! I believe life should be full of flavor. I enjoy creating recipes that are nourishing, flavorful, and satisfying. When not experimenting in the kitchen, I usually have a camera, barbell, or mug of coffee in hand. My posts may include affiliate links, which means if you click through a purchase something, I make a small commission at no cost to you. It helps me fuel my coffee habit and pay rent!

20 thoughts to “Whole30 Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)”

  1. Hello! Looks delicious but…when do you put in the plantains? Don’t see that step in the recipe…

  2. OMG, my stomach starts growling!!! Definitely going to try this but first I have two quesitons; 1) can it be done in a crock pot; and, 2) is avocado oil an acceptable substitute for the olive oil?

    1. I wouldn’t suggest using a crockpot for this recipe just because I think that would overcook the fish. But you should be able to substitute avocado oil for olive oil – as far as I’m concerned, they’re almost always interchangeable!

    2. Hi Chelsea- I finally got around to making this and just let me say this… WOW!!! SO DELISH! I shared with one of my life long friends and coworkers and this is what she wrote to me in the email… OMG!!!!! DELICIOUS!!!!! YOU ARE TALENTED!!! Actually, since I just followed the recipe to the Tee (except for I used Avocado Oil) all that praise should be yours. Thanks again, love it and what a delicious way to eat healthy! All I can say is what recipe of yours will I try next??? Have a great Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Katerina! Can you be more specific about your question? I reviewed the recipe and didn’t see any typos where water is mentioned, so I’m not sure what you’re asking about. As written, the recipe doesn’t use water – just lime juice, broth, and coconut milk as liquids!

        1. Oh! When I use broth, I don’t use bouillon or concentrate since those usually have crazy additives like corn syrup which I’d rather avoid. I use ready-to-go broths like this: or make it myself. Generally, though, you can dissolve a cube of bouillon in 1 cup of boiling water and use that as broth/stock in any recipe. This recipe calls for 1/2 cup broth/stock, so you’d need half a cube of bouillon in 1/2 cup boiling water.

          1. Oh, that makes sense. So 1/2 cups of water. Thank you so much for getting back to me! I did this recipe a few times and yesterday I added the least water and it was amazing!!!!!! The first time I added loads of water ?

  3. I made it with canned tomato veg stock, added shrimp and threw a scotch bonnet in there. I love the plantains; makes it so hardy! I saw another recipe served over rice but I’m SUPER glad I found this one!

  4. Do you think I could sub tilapia for the cod? I have a bunch of tilapia I need to use and this recipe looks delish!

    1. Yes, I think that could work! Just watch closely so you don’t overcook the tilapia – I’m not sure if the cooking time would change. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

    1. I replaced plantain with chopped up sweet potatoes. Best to add them with peppers…but they worked great!

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