This Blackened Salmon Salad is part of my ongoing Big Ass Salads project where I post, well, very large salads.
While most of the salads in this series are vegetarian, this one does have roasted salmon on it. I like the protein boost and I find salmon in salad to actually be fine cold if you are eating it for lunches or something.
That said, I do give some substitutions below the recipe if you are looking for something else to top on this salad or it’s fine to just leave the salmon out.
The real star of this salad is the horseradish dressing. Think of it like a blue cheese dressing, but a bit zingier! Gotta try it!
What is a big ass salad?
A Big Ass Salad is just what I’m calling this series of salads I’m coming up with over the next month or so. Right now I have ten on the list to work through and they are all amazingly big. The goal of a big ass salad is that you can toss it together in about 30 minutes (maybe some are 40 minutes) and they will feed you for MANY meals.
The salads all keep pretty well for a few days and are veggie-packed with a base of grains and greens so they are plenty filling. Most are vegetarian, but there are some with meat.
All of them are HUGE though and SO delicious.
How to make blackened salmon
This salad has some big protein elements to it and this blackened salmon is the main component there.
I like to season the salmon with blackening seasoning. If you haven’t had this Cajun spice before, it’s relatively easy to find or you can order some on Amazon.
Just don’t overdo it on the spice as it can be too spicy for kids if you add to much. A drizzle of olive oil, some of this spice mix, and some salt and pepper and your salmon is ready to roast.
Toss the salmon in a 400˚F oven for 8-10 minutes and it’ll be ready to go. You can easily flake it apart when it’s ready.
I think it’s best to let the salmon cool to room temperature before adding it to the salad so it doesn’t wilt the greens.
How to make horsey (horseradish) dressing
This is a really easy dressing to make. It starts almost like a homemade ranch or blue cheese with buttermilk, sour cream, chives, lemon and then some horseradish.
If you can find raw straight horseradish, that’s best as you can use less of it and it packs a real punch. You can also use the horseradish sauce which has other stuff in it and it’s more mild.
Whatever you use, start small! You can always add more. I usually start with just a teaspoon and work up until I hit the spice level I want.
Other ingredients in this blackened salmon salad
I love the mix of other ingredients in this blackened salmon salad including:
- Quinoa – Cook the quinoa according to the instructions and let it steam and fluff it with a fork. Make sure to let the quinoa cool before adding it to the greens.
- Baby arugula – Love this peppery mix in this salad but you could use any green.
- Purple cabbage – great crunch!
- Cucumbers – Wonderful crunchy veggie with fresh flavors.
- Sweet corn – Great color and the sweetness helps balance out the spicy salmon and dressing.
Blackened Salmon Salad with Horsey Dressing
- 1 ½ pound filet salmon
- 1 tablespoon blackening seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 2 cups chopped purple cabbage
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced
- 1 cup sweet corn
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup chives
- 1-2 teas horseradish paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and Pepper
- For dressing, Whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, chives, horseradish, honey, lemon, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I reccomend starting with 1 teaspoon of horseradish paste and then adding more if you want more of a kick.
- For salmon, Preheat oven to 400˚F. Remove pinbones from salmon with some tweezers (if they are there), then cut salmon into 4 ounce portions so it roasts faster. Drizzle with olive oil, blackening seasoning, salt and pepper. Roast for 8-10 minutes until the salmon easily flakes apart.
- To finish salad, Cook quinoa in water according to directions on package. I like to boil it for 12-15 minutes and then drain off any extra water using a mesh strainer. Then return the quinoa to the pot, cover off the heat, and let steam for 3-4 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and allow to cool in a large bowl.
- Toss quinoa with arugula and add the corn, cucumber, and purple cabbage.
- Divide salads between bowls and top with salmon and then drizzle with dressing. You can also flake salmon into the salad if you prefer.
- Leftovers are best stored separately (the salmon and the salad) and combined before serving. Dress right before serving as well. Salad will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge if stored correctly.
Did you make this recipe?
Easy Substitution Ideas
This blackened salmon salad is very substitution ready. Here are a few ideas!
- Ditch the salmon. You could leave it out entirely and the salad is still very good or substitute it with blackened chicken or steak.
- Instead of arugula try other greens like baby kale or spring mix salad.
- Instead of quinoa, try other grains like farro.
A few other great salmon recipes to try!
Salmon is one of our favorite foods to cook during the week. Our kids love it, which I know isn’t always the case. Here are a few of our favorite recipes to try!