Eat Like a Brown Bear: Baked Salmon with Blackberry Sauce

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Kids aren’t always easy to please when it comes to mealtime. Some meals you just KNOW they’ll love end up being boring or heaven help us, yucky and gross! Well, we have an approach that might just help your picky eater clean their plate. When the same old meals are making your kids want to go into hibernation, try encouraging your child to eat as a brown bear does. You read that right…we want you to entice your young diners by fixing a meal that’s bear-tested, kid-friendly,  and mother-approved. 

Over the next few weeks, we’re exploring meals and snacks kids will love because they are delicious and enjoyed all over the world by their favorite zoo animals. 

Brown Bear diet

Eat like a brown bear

Today, let’s talk about fresh produce and other foods brown bears love and why they are perfect for your little cubs at home too. 

Brown bears are known for their ferocious growls and hefty appetites, which is why they love protein-packed salmon and other fish. Beyond their taste for salmon, they also love many nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables. 

Brown Bear Fact Sheet

We’ve picked several of a brown bear’s favorite foods like salmon, blackberries, spinach, and sweet potatoes and made a recipe using them all. It’s a simple recipe that will prevent dinnertime from becoming a grizzly scene. 

Baked Salmon with Blackberry Sauce

How to make a brown bear dinner

Start by preparing your salmon. Whether fresh or frozen, simply salt and pepper the salmon and bake skin-side down at 400 degrees for 25-40 minutes or until cooked through. If the salmon is frozen you’ll likely be on the high end of that cooking time. 

While the salmon is baking, prepare the other items starting with the blackberry sauce. We’ve kept it simple by using jarred blackberries preserves, fresh blackberries, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and just a pinch of black pepper. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer until it starts to thicken. Turn off the heat and let it cool slightly. 

For the sweet potato, simply prick a few times with a fork and microwave for 5 minutes until cooked to your desired doneness. 

Lastly, heat a little avocado or olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. Cook until fragrant and then add spinach a little at a time. Cook until it’s just starting to wilt. 

Brown Bear Salmon Dinner

Now it’s time to make your plates. Add a portion of the wilted spinach and top with a piece of salmon. Top the salmon with blackberry sauce and then plate the sweet potatoes. We know many children prefer them mashed, so we mashed ours with just a little salt and butter. 

That’s it! Now your cubs are ready to dine just like their favorite furry friend. It goes without saying, but this dish is obviously ideal for adults too. Moms and dads will love the combination of sweet and savory in the salmon with blackberry sauce. The wilted spinach, although simplistic, provides a welcomed vibrance to the plate. And let’s face it, everyone loves sweet potatoes!

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Baked Salmon with Blackberry Sauce

Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings4 people



  • 2 lbs side of salmon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Blackberry Sauce

  • 1/2 cup blackberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 pinch black pepper

Wilted Spinach

  • 16 oz baby spinach
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mashed Sweet Potato

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Place salmon on a parchment-lined baking sheet skin-side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-40 minutes. NOTE: Frozen salmon will take longer, thawed salmon will take less time.
  • While the salmon is baking, prepare the sauce. Mix together all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Microwave sweet potatoes: For one sweet potato microwave for 5 minutes. For every additional sweet potato, add 2 minutes. (For 4 sweet potatoes microwave for 11 minutes.)
  • Remove sweet potatoes from microwave and mash. Top with butter and salt and pepper.
  • Wilt spinach. Heat avocado oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add spinach one handful at a time until it is all wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To plate: Place salmon on a bed of wilted spinach and drizzle salmon with berry sauce. Place mashed sweet potatoes on the side.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Kid-Friendly
Like this? Leave a comment below!

We want to know what you and your sleuth thinks. Tell us how your brown bear buffet went in the comments below or tag us in your dinner photos on Instagram @theproducemoms

View more recipes in our “Eat Like An Animal” series. 

Baked Salmon with Blackberry Sauce

Thanks to the Indianapolis Zoo for sharing their brown bear diets with us.

About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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