The Best Salmon Salad Recipe! This fresh salmon salad is healthy, delicious, and easy to make with a zesty lemon tahini dressing!
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This vibrant baked salmon salad is a healthy and satisfying meal that can be made in under 30 minutes.
Loaded with omega-3s and paired with the perfect creamy Lemon Herb Tahini Dressing, this salad is going to be your new favorite weeknight dinner.
You know we hate boring salads and if you need more delicious salad ideas, try our Strawberry Arugula Salad or Avocado Ranch Salad!
Why This The Best Salmon Salad Recipe
This vibrant and flavorful salmon salad is hard to beat. Here is why we love it:
- 30-minute meal – From start to finish, this meal can be made in under 30 minutes which is perfect for a busy weeknight.
- Nutrient Powerhouse – This salad is rich in nutrients like omega-3s, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate and so many more.
- Satiating and Satisfying – With healthy fats, almost 40 grams of protein per serving, and 7 grams of fiber, this salad will keep you full and satisfied.
Fresh Salmon Salad Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need for the salmon:
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- garlic powder, salt, pepper
For the dressing:
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- maple syrup
- fresh herbs: basil, parsley, chives
For the salad:
- romaine lettuce
You can find substitutions for all of these ingredients below in the green shaded box.
How to make Salmon Salad
- Cook the salmon. Brush the salmon generously with olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Bake on a foil lined sheet at 400° for 8-10 minutes, until flakey and moist but opaque.
- Prepare the dressing. Place the dressing ingredients (minus fresh herbs) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Finely chop the herbs and mix them into the dressing (do not blend!). Place in the fridge to thicken until you’re ready to use.
- Prepare the salad. Divide lettuce and salad toppings between bowls. Dress the salad with as much dressing as you would like and serve immediately.
Salmon Avocado Salad Variations
Salmon – Use whatever type of salmon you prefer. Wild-caught salmon tends to cook a little quicker because the salmon filets are thinner. I prefer to cook salmon with the skin on and just flake it onto the salad as I am eating it. If the skin is off-putting to you, you can always purchase salmon without the skin. If there is no skin, you will want to lightly spray the tinfoil with cooking oil to prevent the filets from sticking. The cooking time should remain about the same.
Romaine Lettuce – Crunchy, mild romaine tastes really great with the lemon herb tahini dressing, but you can use your favorite type of greens here as well. Spinach, kale, or spring mix are all good options!
Avocados – Pick perfectly ripe avocados to use for this recipe! A ripe avocado will be a very dark green color and have some give when you press your thumb lightly into its side. Avoid dark black avocados as these tend to be overripe. If your avocados are not ripe, store them in a brown paper bag with some bananas (or another ethylene-producing fruit) to help them ripen more quickly. If you are not a fan of avocado, you can try using a mild goat cheese to add an element of creaminess to this salad.
English Cucumber – English cucumber is nice because the skin is thinner so it doesn’t need to be peeled. Regular cucumber will work, but I would recommend peeling and scooping out the seeds before slicing (if the cucumber is particularly watery, scooping out the seeds can help prevent it from making the salad soggy). You will need about 2 cups of chopped cucumbers for this recipe if making 4 salads, which is about 1 large English cucumber or 1.5 regular cucumbers once peeled and sliced.
Shallots – Shallots can range in size pretty significantly. Two small or one large shallot should equal about ½ rounded cup once sliced. Shallots tend to be a little sweeter and milder than most onions. For this recipe, ½ a small red onion will work best as a substitute but it will have a sharper flavor.
Walnuts – You can use raw or roasted walnuts for this salmon salad. The walnuts add some nice texture and more healthy fats to this superfood salad. Other nuts like pecans or cashews can also be used. For a crunchy nut-free option, try roasted sunflower seeds or some homemade sourdough croutons.
Lemon Tahini Dressing Substitutions
Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice always makes a difference in recipes. If using store-bought lemon juice, don’t buy the lemon-shaped containers! Choose a lemon juice that is made from 100% fresh squeezed lemons. I like Santa Cruz Organics for consistent quality juice in the absence of fresh lemons.
Tahini – Tahini is a seed butter made from sesame seeds. I have only tested raw tahini in this dressing and did not test any substitutions for this ingredient because it really adds so much flavor to this dressing.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – A rich, fruity olive oil works so beautifully in dressings. You could probably get away with using neutral-flavored cooking oil in the dressing, like avocado oil, but I really think that the EVOO adds a lot to this dressing and should only be substituted if you are allergic to or do not enjoy the flavor of olive oil. The oil used to brush the salmon, on the other hand, can be any neutral-flavored cooking oil.
Cold Water – We use cold water in the salad dressing to thin the tahini while also causing the olive oil to solidify a little (like when you place a bottle of EVOO in the fridge). These reactions make the dressing super creamy and such a delightful texture once blended.
Maple Syrup – Such a small amount of maple syrup is used in this recipe that it can be replaced with honey or even a granulated sweetener without altering the finished dressing too much. If using a granulated sweetener you may want to add an additional 1 tbsp of water.
Kosher Salt – When cooking meat or fish, kosher salt is great to use when the preparation method is fairly simple because it really helps to bring out the flavor of the meat. Regular salt can also be used.
Fresh Herbs – I don’t recommend substituting the fresh herbs in this recipe for dried herbs. They are really important for the flavor of the dressing which ties the whole salad together.
What makes this salmon salad healthy?
This baked salmon salad is loaded with the best types of fats with over 100% of your daily needs for anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
The fat in this recipe is extremely blood sugar stabilizing and helps to keep you satiated. This vibrant salad contains over 10% of your daily value for 17 vitamins and minerals making it extremely nutrient-rich.
One serving also contains 37 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, keeping hunger at bay for hours. Throwing this flavorful salad into your weekly meal rotation ensures that you are able to get some serious nutrition in your week!
Make extra dressing – This lemon herb tahini dressing is so tasty! If you are a salad person and have extra herbs, make a double batch of this dressing and store it in the fridge for a simple and delicious homemade dressing to use throughout the week. For other dressing ideas, check out our 11 Healthy Salad Dressings.
Use the dressing as a sauce – The lemon herb tahini dressing can also be used as a sauce to make almost any type of fish so much more flavorful! Save this recipe and whip up the sauce to really make an otherwise bland meal over-the-top flavorful! It also is a great sauce to drizzle over roasted or steamed veggies.
Watch the salmon cook time – When cooking the salmon, keep in mind that the cooking time will be affected by the thickness of the filets. Don’t be afraid to flake off a piece of the fish to see inside and assess doneness. Salmon is something that some people enjoy eating at various internal temperatures. For most people, a fully cooked piece of salmon is flaky and fully opaque (it turns a creamy orange color on the inside), but will still be moist and tender.
Should I leave the skin on the salmon when cooking?
If you purchase salmon that has the skin on, I recommend leaving the skin on for baking because it can be pretty hard to remove when the salmon is raw.
Both salmon with and without skin can be used in this recipe, but if using skin-on salmon it is much easier to just flake the salmon off the skin using a fork after it has been cooked than trying to remove it beforehand.
Salmon Salad FAQs
Yes, you can reheat salmon for a salad, but stick with a low temperature. It’s best to reheat in the oven or toaster oven.
Yes, you can eat salmon cold on a salad!
No, we do not recommend eating salmon raw on a salad due to the risk of infection.
How to store a Salad with Salmon
Storing: If you are not serving all 4 servings of this recipe, just prepare as many as you need and leave the remaining ingredients unassembled. All ingredients should be stored in airtight containers in the fridge.
The lettuce, sliced shallot, and cucumber can be stored together, but the avocado should be added when you are ready to enjoy your salad because otherwise, it will brown.
The salmon should be stored separately from the salad so that it can be reheated and won’t wilt the lettuce. You can also eat the fully cooked salmon cold on the salad.
The dressing should be stored in a separate container with a lid and may need to be shaken or blended if it separates.
Consume the salmon within 4 days of cooking it (keeping the ‘use by’ or ‘sell by’ date in mind), but the dressing will be good for at least 1 week if stored properly.
The veggies will remain safe to eat but should be discarded when they lose their crunch.
Reheating: If you want to reheat the salmon, it’s best to do it you can reheat it in the toaster oven, oven, or on the stove.
Salmon Avocado Salad
For the salmon:
- 20 oz. salmon cut into 4 5-oz. filets
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup lemon juice about 2 small lemons
- ¼ cup raw tahini 65 g
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 tbsp)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup fresh basil finely chopped (about 1 .75-oz. clamshell, or 10 g chopped)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley finely chopped (about ¼ bunch, or 6 g chopped)
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives finely chopped
For the salad:
- 12 cups romaine lettuce chopped (about 4 large heads of romaine or 2 9-oz. packages of chopped romaine)
- 1 medium ripe avocados pitted, peeled, and sliced
- 1 large English cucumber sliced into half-moons (about 2 cups sliced)
- 2 small shallot peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
- ½ cup walnuts raw or roasted
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a sheet pan with tin foil and set aside.
- If not pre-cut, use a very sharp knife to cut the salmon into 4 filets. Using a paper towel, pat the salmon filets dry and place them on the foil-lined sheet pan.
- In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Brush the salmon filets generously with the oil/lemon juice mixture. Coat each filet liberally with kosher salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.
- Place the salmon in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of doneness. Avoid overcooking. You want the meat to be flakey, and moist but opaque.
- While the salmon is cooking, prepare the dressing. Place the ¼ cup of tahini, ¼ cup of olive oil, 1/3 cup of lemon juice, ¼ cup of cold water, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and ½ tsp kosher salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Finely chop the herbs and mix them into the dressing (do not blend!). Place in the fridge to thicken until you’re ready to use.
- Prepare the salad. Chop the romaine into bite-size pieces and divide between 4 bowls (or a bowl for each salad you plan on serving). Halve the avocados, remove the pit, scoop out the flesh, and slice. Halve the cucumber and slice it into half-moons. Peel the shallot and slice it very thinly.
- Divide the veggies between the bowls. Top each bowl with walnuts and a piece of salmon. Dress the salad with as much dressing as you would like and serve immediately.
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