Ben rarely comes home for lunch, but the day I texted him a photo of this finished Whole30 Salmon with avocado sauce, he hopped right in the car and was home, fork in hand 10 minutes later. Moist, flaky salmon fillets flavored with cilantro and lime, this fresh, healthy meal is now one of his most-requested dinners. Since it’s so easy to make, it’s one I love cooking too!
Whenever I’m lacking healthy dinner inspiration or I need a quick weeknight meal for myself and Ben, baked salmon is my go-to. I find this absolutely hilarious, because I spent most of my adult life being afraid to cook fish.
We didn’t grow up eating fish at home, so I assumed cooking something like this Whole30 salmon recipe was fancy or complicated. I could not have been more wrong. (I felt the same way about this deliciously easy and elegant Salmon Meuniere.)
How to Make the Best Whole30 Salmon (Whether or Not You Are on Whole30)
This recipe is painless and appropriate for cooks at any level, and the flavor payoff is supreme.
- Arrange the salmon on a sheet pan.
- Stir together a quick mix of garlic, lime juice, and olive oil.
- Pour this tasty garlic-lime biz over the top of the fish (yep, right on the pan).
- Let hang out 10 minutes. I like to call this lazy girl marinade, because you don’t even need to place the salmon in a separate dish.
- Bake and serve!
I also opted to make a super fresh, you-won’t-believe-it’s-winter avocado “sauce” with tomatoes, cilantro, and even more lime. It’s fresh and zippy, and just when you think you’ve added enough to the top of the salmon, you’re going to want to go back and add some more.
For those doing Whole30 this month, this recipe is Whole30 friendly (and Paleo). Salmon is Whole30 compliant in general, so I’d also recommend checking out my other salmon recipes, including this Baked Salmon in Foil, Grilled Salmon in Foil, Soy Ginger Salmon (coconut aminos can be swapped for the soy sauce and the honey omitted to make it Whole30 compliant), and Pineapple Glazed Salmon with avocado sauce. From there, I have a list of 15 Whole30 Recipes for you to explore, the most popular being these Whole30 Vegetarian Power Bowls.
What to Serve with Whole30 Baked Salmon
- Cauliflower rice (pictured) is absolutely delicious and adds an additional serving of veggies.
- If you aren’t following a Whole30 diet, you can swap the cauliflower rice for prepared brown rice or quinoa if you prefer.
- Sautéed Zucchini (omit the Parm if needed)
- Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts or roasted vegetables of choice
Baked Salmon for Everyone!
Regardless of what diet you do or do not follow, I hope you’ll try this Whole30 Salmon recipe no matter what. (Or, try another from my list of other healthy salmon recipes. This Blackened Salmon is another favorite.)
It’s a lovely combination of creamy, flaky, and fresh. Every forkful tastes wholesome in a rich, nourishing way that feels restorative and satisfying and not at all like what you are eating is “diet” food. Because it is so fast and simple to prepare, it will be a trusty companion on busy weeknights too.
FOR THE SALMON:
- 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets - skin on or off
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic - chopped, about 2 teaspoons
- Zest and juice of 1 small lime - about 1/2 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Steamed cauliflower rice - optional for serving
FOR THE AVOCADO SALSA:
- 2 ripe avocados - peeled, pitted, and cut into a rough dice
- Juice of 1 lime - about 1 1/2 tablespoons
- 4–6 dashes hot sauce - to taste
- 1 clove garlic - finely minced or grated
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro - plus additional for serving
- 1 medium tomato - seeded and small-diced, or 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Arrange the salmon fillets in the center of the sheet.
- In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Drizzle and brush generously over the salmon. (You will have some run off and down the sides, but brush what you can onto the fish.) Let the salmon stand at room temperature for 10 minutes while the oven finishes preheating.
- Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork and reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, about 16 to 20 minutes.* Cover and let rest 3 minutes.
- While the salmon bakes, prepare the avocado salsa: In a large bowl, stir together the avocado, lime juice, hot sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, and cilantro. With a fork, gently crush pieces of the avocado and stir. You want them to break down a little and make the salsa creamy, but you should have plenty of chunkiness remaining. Stir in the tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Transfer the salmon to serving plates. Serve hot, topped with avocado salsa and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
- *The cooking time will vary based upon the thickness of your salmon. Thicker (2-inch-plus) slices will need several extra minutes, while thinner slices may cook more quickly. My salmon fillets were a little more than 1 inch thick and cooked in 18 minutes.
- This recipe is best enjoyed the day that it is made, as salmon usually dries out when reheated. If you have leftover salmon, try serving it room temperature over a salad the next day or flaking and scrambling it with eggs.
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