In an alternate universe in which I run a high-end grocery store, this Salmon Salad is a customer favorite. Tender baked salmon that’s flaked, then tossed in a creamy, herby Greek yogurt dressing, it strikes the ideal balance between casual and fancy.
As a little girl, chicken salad was my go-to “grown up” order when my grammy treated me to lunch.
As an adult, chunky, protein-packed salads have moved from restaurant to refrigerator.
They’re healthy, keep me full, and make lunch something to look forward to, instead of a weekday drag.
After cooking a particularly large batch of Baked Salmon in Foil, I found myself with a hefty amount of leftover salmon and craving something new for lunch.
Enter, Salmon Salad!
This recipe takes the principle of tuna salad and chicken salad—lean protein meets creamy dressing meets all kinds of yummy, crunchy bits to liven things up—but swaps in flaked salmon, instead of tuna or chicken.
With as often as we eat fresh salmon fillets as a main (sometimes twice a week as this list of salmon recipes can attest) and use canned salmon to make the Salmon Quinoa Cakes in my cookbook, plus the fact that chicken salad and I go all the way back to childhood, I don’t know why it took me this long to make a creamy salad with salmon. I’m here for it now!
How to Make Salmon Salad
This salmon salad draws inspiration from a combo of classic Waldorf salad ingredients such as dill and nuts, with a touch of Mediterranean flair.
It’s creamy, crunchy, filling, and fresh. You’ll love having it in your refrigerator too!
- Salmon. A fantastic source of protein, high in essential Omega-3s which help your heart and brain, and superbly scrumptious, salmon is a great “gateway” fish. For the best results and max health benefits, look for wild caught.
- Greek Yogurt. This healthy salmon salad contains NO MAYO. Greek yogurt gives the same creaminess, but is low in calorie and high in protein.
- Red Onion. For the right amount of bite and balance.
- Cucumber. For freshness and the crunch factor. I like English or mini cucumbers because you don’t need to peel them.
- Lemon. It’s citrusy brightness helps the dressing sing.
- Cumin + Oregano. A surprising but sublime combo that makes the dressing a stand out.
- Dill + Cilantro. Fresh herbs are the move. They make the salad taste exciting and fresh.
- Feta. The creamy bits are a lovely contrast with the crunch of the cucumbers.
- Sliced Almonds. Nuttiness and crunch give the salad an additional layer of flavor, texture, and satisfaction.
- Currents or Raisins. My nod to the grapes in traditional Waldorf salad. They add a pleasant sweetness and yummy chewiness.
- Bake the salmon fillet in the oven.
- Flake it into a large bowl.
- Add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl with the salmon.
- Stir together the dressing.
- Pour it over the salad.
- Stir gently to combine. Taste for seasoning and ENJOY!
How to Serve Salmon Salad
- As a Sandwich. Pile this salad onto your favorite bread and enjoy a scrumptious salmon salad sandwich. (Salmon salad with avocado on bread would be especially tasty!)
- In Lettuce Wraps. Keep things light and healthy by serving this salad inside lettuce cups.
- Over Greens. For a more traditional salad, pile this recipe on top of a bed of greens.
- With Crackers. Give snack time a major upgrade by serving this salmon salad with crackers (these Ranch Crackers are my go-to).
- With Grains. For a more filling meal, I love serving this salad over a bed of couscous or quinoa. (This Moroccan Couscous would be delish!)
How to Store Salmon Salad
- To Store. Refrigerate salad in an airtight storage container. Three days is how long salmon salad will last in the fridge.
Meal Prep Tip
Toast the almonds up to 1 day in advance and store them at room temperature. Mix the dressing ingredients together up to 1 day in advance, and store the mixture in the refrigerator.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Dish. An essential kitchen tool. Pretty enough for serving.
- Parchment Paper. I love these precut sheets for convenience and easy clean up.
- Mixing Bowls. Easy to clean and you can always find the size you need.
My salmon salad might be packed in a mismatched Tupperware instead of a fancy grocery store deli take away box.
What’s inside the container, however, is bright, special, and worthy of even the most gourmet of deli cases!
- 1 1/2 pound center-cut, skin-on side of salmon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin divided
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano divided
- 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
- 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- Zest of 2 mediums lemon about 2 teaspoons
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove minced or grated garlic
- 2 mini cucumbers or 1/2 English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup currents raisins, or golden raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking dish large enough to hold the salmon with a sheet of parchment paper.
- Place the salmon in the pan and with paper towels, pat dry. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon oregano. Rub to evenly coat the salmon. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F on an instant read thermometer (I typically remove the salmon a few degrees early and let the carryover cooking finish the rest). The salmon should no longer be raw-looking in the center and flake easily with a fork. Let cool to room temperature.
- While the salmon roasts, place the red onion in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside to soak (this removes some of the onion’s harsh bite without losing its flavor).
- Prepare the dressing: In a small mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon oregano.
- Flake the salmon in chunky pieces into a large serving bowl (discard the skin).
- Add the cucumber, feta, currants, dill, and cilantro.
- Drain the red onion, then add it to the bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the top.
- Gently stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as desired (I add an extra pinch of each). Serve chilled or at room temperature as a wrap (or lettuce wrap), sandwich, on toast, over greens, or mixed with couscous.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate salad in an airtight storage container. Three days is how long salmon salad will last in the fridge.
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