This delicious salmon quinoa salad has perfectly seared salmon, crisp cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a vibrant lemon vinaigrette. Serve it for lunch, make it for meal prep, or bring it along to your next picnic or BBQ!
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- Why You'll Love Salmon and Quinoa Salad
- What You'll Need for Salmon Salad with Quinoa
- How to Make this Quinoa and Salmon Recipe
- Recommended Equipment
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How to Store Leftover Salmon Quinoa Salad
- Expert Tips
- How to Serve this Salmon Quinoa Bowl
- More Salad Recipes to Try
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Why You'll Love Salmon and Quinoa Salad
This salmon quinoa salad is a play on a quinoa tabbouleh recipe using fresh, simple ingredients that I make often.
It takes nutty quinoa, crunchy cucumbers, sweet tomatoes, tons of fresh herbs, and ties them all together with a zesty lemon dressing. Adding the savory, tender salmon makes this salad a meal.
It's a combination of flavors and textures makes every bite something delicious and new. Plus, it's a nutritious option, with plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. It's even gluten-free, so it's great to bring to parties and events.
You can make this recipe for lunch or dinner, or whip it up for meal prep! Since the dish is served cold, it's perfect to bring to school or work or just have in the fridge for a snack.
Looking for more quinoa salads? Jennifer Aniston's quinoa salad, put together by our pal Sage over at Sage Alpha Gal, is another super delicious option!
What You'll Need for Salmon Salad with Quinoa
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Quinoa I used tricolor quinoa, but feel free to use a single color of quinoa.
Tomatoes Cherry tomatoes add some sweetness and texture to this dish, but you can also use a finely diced globe, beefsteak, or roma tomato.
Cucumber There is no need to peel the cucumber if you are using an English hothouse cucumber, but I would remove the seeds if using a regular slicing cucumber.
Parsley Fresh parsley is best. I would not recommend replacing this with any dried herb or spice.
Mint Fresh mint is also needed for this recipe. Any variety of mint will work well.
Scallions Also called green onions, you should be able to find scallions at any local grocery store.
Olive Oil A high-quality brand of olive oil is always a treat, but any brand of extra virgin olive oil will be great in this recipe.
Garlic I wouldn't use garlic powder in this recipe. Freshly minced garlic will provide the best flavor!
Lemon Juice Fresh lemon juice is best for this recipe, but if you don't have access to fresh lemons, feel free to use bottled lemon juice.
Salt I recommend using kosher salt for all of my recipes. It has a unique shape that helps it to more evenly coat your food and it is less salty per teaspoon than sea salt or table salt.
Pepper This is optional. Freshly ground black pepper will add the most flavor if using.
Olive Oil A neutral oil like grapeseed or avocado oil would also work well.
Salmon Fillets I use fresh salmon fillets here, but you can also defrost frozen salmon to use.
Salt & Pepper I recommend kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as above.
How to Make this Quinoa and Salmon Recipe
Step One Cook the quinoa. Place 3 cups of water to boil over high heat on the stovetop. Add the quinoa to the water. Bring up to a boil, and then down to a simmer, covering the pot with its lid.
Step Two While the quinoa cooks, prepare the remaining ingredients. Mince the garlic.
Step Three Then, in a small bowl or jar with a lid, add the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and cumin. Whisk or shake until well combined.
Step Four Finely dice the cucumber.
Step Five Slice the cherry tomatoes into halves.
Step Six Chop the parsley.
Step Seven Chop the mint.
Step Eight Slice the scallions.
Step Nine Then, cook the salmon. Pat salmon dry using paper towels. Season with salt on both sides. Place a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil. Then place salmon in the pan skin side down and cook for about 4 minutes.
Step Ten Flip the salmon and cook for an additional 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. It should reach an internal temperature of 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit and flake easily. This will result in medium-rare fish.
Step Eleven Remove the salmon from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes.
Step Twelve Flake the salmon.
Step Thirteen Once the quinoa has finished cooking, it will have a white ring around each of the individual grains. This will take 15 to 20 minutes. If there is any water remaining in the pan, you can strain the quinoa using a fine mesh sieve and place it back in the pan or on a flat surface, like a plate, to cool more quickly.
After the quinoa has cooled, combine cooked quinoa, remaining salad ingredients, and lemon salad dressing in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Step Fourteen Taste for seasoning and serve!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This salmon quinoa salad has plenty of fiber and healthy fats and is high in protein. The tomato adds vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants, while the cucumber promotes hydration and may help lower blood sugar levels.
Fresh herbs are also a healthy choice. Check out this article on the health benefits of fresh herbs for more info. For full nutritional information, check the recipe card below!
Salmon is a flavorful, fatty fish, so I like to pair it with fresh, light elements that will balance a dish, like fresh herbs, lemon juice, fresh produce, and grains.
On its own, quinoa isn't particularly flavorful. Adding rich olive oil and bright citrus juice can go a long way toward making your quinoa flavorful. You should also be sure to add salt.
Experiment with different fresh herbs and spices to see what flavor combinations you like best. Parsley and mint are both excellent with quinoa, as are basil and fresh cilantro!
- Red Onion You can add a little extra bite to this salad with thinly sliced red onion.
- Arugula Add a peppery flavor to this salad with a handful of arugula.
- Red Bell Pepper I will sometimes swap out the tomato for a finely diced red bell pepper.
- Paprika For a more smoky flavor profile and a hint of color, add a pinch of paprika to the vinaigrette.
- Red Pepper Flakes Want to make this salad a little spicy? Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the dressing.
How to Store Leftover Salmon Quinoa Salad
This salad stores very well. In fact, sometimes I like it better the next day when the flavors have had a chance to meld.
Fridge Store leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge. It will stay good for 3 to 4 days.
Freezer I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
If you find the mixture a little tight after storage, try letting it come to room temperature. If it still seems a bit dry, drizzle in a little olive oil and mix well, then serve.
- To cool your quinoa faster, try spreading it out on a baking sheet on your counter.
- For fluffy quinoa, you can absorb extra moisture by placing a kitchen towel between the top of the pot and the lid of the pot after the quinoa is fully cooked. Be sure the pot is not hot enough to burn the towel.
- Be sure to taste as you go! The lemon vinaigrette should be flavorful and well-seasoned. Don't hesitate to add a little extra salt to the dish at the end if it is needed.
How to Serve this Salmon Quinoa Bowl
This quinoa salad is a healthy meal that's perfect for dinner or lunch. Try serving it with the recipes below!
Serve it with a sweet and savory watermelon feta salad for a light, fresh meal.
More Salad Recipes to Try
Salmon Quinoa Salad
- Screw-top Jar or Small Bowl
- Salad Bowl
- Serving Spoons
- Cook the quinoa. Place 3 cups of water to boil over high heat on the stovetop. Add the quinoa and a pinch of salt to the water. Bring up to a boil and then down to a simmer, covering the pot with its lid.
- While the quinoa cooks, prepare the remaining ingredients. First, mince or grate the garlic.
- Then, in a small bowl or jar with a lid, add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and cumin or coriander. Whisk or shake until well-combined.
- Finely dice the cucumber.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes into halves.
- Then, cook the salmon. Pat salmon dry using paper towels. Season with salt on both sides.
- Place a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil. Then place salmon in the pan skin side down and cook for 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish. It should reach an internal temperature of 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit and flake easily. This will result in medium-rare fish.
- Let the salmon rest for a few minutes, remove the skin, then flake the salmon.
- Once the quinoa has finished cooking, it will have a white ring around each of the individual grains, around 15 to 20 minutes. If there is any water remaining in the pan, you can strain the quinoa using a fine mesh sieve and place it back in the pan or on a flat surface, like a plate or a baking sheet, to cool quicker.
- After the quinoa has cooled, combine cooked quinoa, salmon, remaining salad ingredients, and lemon salad dressing in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Taste for seasoning and serve!
- If using table salt or sea salt, use half of the amount recommended in this recipe. Table salt and sea salt are up to twice as salty per teaspoon as kosher salt. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Taste the salmon for seasoning after cooking and add more salt if needed.
- For a smokier, more deeply flavored dish, use cumin. For a more floral dish lighter in flavor, use coriander.
- Fridge Store leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge. It will stay good for 3 to 4 days.
- Freezer I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
- If you find the mixture a little tight after storage, try letting it come to room temperature. If it still seems a bit dry, drizzle in a little olive oil and mix well, then serve.