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When you’re craving something fresh and healthy for dinner, this Salmon Salad comes to the rescue! Tender salmon, spinach, avocado and goat cheese are especially delicious drizzled with a homemade honey mustard dressing.
I love making a big salad for dinner because it’s a delicious way to pack lots of flavor and nutrients into a meal. Some of our favorite dinner salads include this Taco Salad, BBQ Chicken Salad and, of course, this salmon salad. It’s an easy dinner idea that will fill you up without weighing you down.
There is so much to love about this salmon avocado salad. Crisp fresh spinach is topped with flaky salmon, creamy avocado, tangy goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Fresh blueberries add a pop of flavor and color. If you’re not a fan of fruit in savory salads, cherry tomatoes are a perfect alternative.
You won’t need much in the way of side dishes with this salmon salad because the salmon, avocado and walnuts add satiating protein, fiber and healthy fats. Enjoy it on its own, or, if you’re a carb lover like me, round out the meal with sliced Whole Wheat Bread.
Salmon Salad Ingredients
- Fresh Salmon Fillets: When buying salmon, the flesh should look moist and vibrantly colored and the salmon should smell fresh, not fishy. You can ask the seafood counter to cut the salmon into individual fillets if it is a larger piece of fish. I prefer to cook salmon with the skin on. The fish will be easy to remove from the skin once it is cooked.
- Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper: These simple seasonings allow the flavors of the salmon and other salad ingredients to shine. You can also squeeze on a bit of fresh lemon juice after cooking.
- Baby Spinach: Fresh baby spinach pairs so well with the other ingredients in this salad. If you prefer salad greens with more crunch, try romaine lettuce instead.
- Red Onion: Thinly slicing the red onion allows you to get a punch of flavor without the onion overpowering the other flavors.
- Walnuts: Toasting the walnuts enhances their nutty flavor. The simplest way to toast nuts is to place them in a small skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes. As soon as you smell them toasting, they are done. If you don’t have walnuts on hand, sliced almonds or toasted pecans are good substitutes.
- Avocado: One of my favorite ingredients, I’m not sure there is a salad out there that isn’t better with avocado.
- Fresh Blueberries: I love adding fresh berries to salads. If you prefer, you can substitute cherry or grape tomatoes.
- Goat Cheese: Goat cheese brings an irresistible creaminess and tang to the salad. Feta cheese would also work well in this recipe.
- Honey Mustard Dressing: My favorite easy Honey Mustard Dressing is the perfect salad dressing for this salmon salad.
Find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions below.
How to Make Salmon Salad
Cook the Salmon
You can bake the salmon in the oven or pan sear it in a skillet on the stove. I find that baked salmon is the most foolproof. You simply rub the salmon with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 12-18 minutes, until it’s cooked through. My easy Baked Salmon recipe offers additional tips. Pan seared salmon will have more of a crust since it sears in a hot skillet.
Make the Dressing
While the salmon cooks, make the salad dressing. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl: olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.
Assemble and Serve
To assemble the salads, divide the spinach between four large salad bowls. Top the spinach with the sliced red onion, toasted walnuts, sliced avocado, blueberries and crumbled goat cheese.
Place a cooked salmon fillet on top of each salad. You can add the salmon to the salads when it is warm, or let it cool to room temperature. Drizzle the dressing over the salads and serve.
Salmon Salad Recipe Tips
- The recipe below includes instructions for cooking pan seared salmon and for baking salmon in the oven. You can also use Grilled Salmon, Air Fryer Salmon, smoked salmon or canned salmon in this salad.
- Salmon is cooked when the internal temperature registers 145° F on an instant read thermometer. For the most tender, moist salmon, try not to overcook it.
- Looking for other salad dressings to go with salmon salad? This salad is also delicious drizzled with this simple Vinaigrette or Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- This recipe can be halved if you are cooking for two.
Make Ahead Tips
- The salmon can be cooked up to one day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Since you’re serving the salmon on the salad, it works great chilled, or you can warm it slightly in the microwave or a 350° F oven.
- The salad dressing can be made up to one week ahead. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Whisk or shake to recombine the dressing before using.
- You can toast the walnuts a day or two ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
More Delicious Salmon Recipes
- 4 salmon fillets, about 1 pound total
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
Honey Mustard Dressing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon Kosher salt or fine sea salt
- pepper, to taste
Other Salad Ingredients
- 8 cups baby spinach, or other salad greens
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
- 1 avocado, pitted and diced or sliced
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Cook the Salmon
- To cook salmon in the oven: Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper for easy clean up. Place salmon skin side down on the pan. Gently rub salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake salmon for 12-18 minutes, until the thickest part of the fish reaches 145° F. The cook time will depend on the size of the salmon pieces; be careful to not overcook. Let salmon cool slightly before serving on salad.
- To pan-sear salmon: Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Add salmon to the pan, skin side up, and cook for about 5 minutes, until salmon has a nice sear on it (do not move the salmon around as it cooks). Flip salmon and continue cooking, skin side down, until cooked through to 145° F, about 3-6 more minutes. The cook time will depend on the size of the salmon pieces; be careful to not overcook the fish. Remove to a clean plate and allow salmon to cool slightly.
Make the Dressing
- Whisk together olive oil, honey, Dijon, and apple cider vinegar until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Assemble the Salads
- Place two cups spinach in each of 4 large salad bowls. Top with red onion, walnuts, avocado, blueberries, and goat cheese. Top with the cooked salmon (you can remove the skin if desired, the salmon should easily release from the skin after cooking). Drizzle dressing over salads and serve.