Salmon Superfood Salad with power greens, pickled red onion, miso-glazed salmon, and lemon-cayenne dressing. This healthy salmon salad is packed with heart-healthy fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory foods.
Why You'll Love this Salmon Superfood Salad:
This superfood salad has it all: heart-healthy omega-3 fats, fiber, antioxidants, probiotics, and more. It starts with a hearty greens base of lacinato kale and shredded Brussels sprouts. I love that these greens can be dressed ahead and won't go soggy (which makes this a fabulous contender for meal prep).
Also in the mix is quick-picked red onion, avocado, nuts, and the option of adding fresh or dried fruit. My personal favorites are blueberries, golden raisins, and/or apple slices.
The crown jewel of this virtuous salad, however, is the miso-glazed salmon. If you're new to miso, it's a fermented soybean paste that is rich in gut-healthy probiotics. It has a funky, umami-rich flavor that brings dressings, marinades, and soups to LIFE.
So basically, if I could eat one salad every day for the rest of my days, it would be this one.
- Salmon: You need four 6-oz. salmon fillets for this recipe, which can be wild-caught or sustainably farmed. If purchasing wild, I suggest either King (or Chinook) salmon, which has a higher fat content and richer flavor. Sockeye, on the other hand, is much leaner and therefore easier to overcook.
- Greens: I like using a mix of lacinato kale and shredded Brussels sprouts, which are rich sources of vitamins A, C, and K. They're also sturdy enough to be dressed ahead without the risk of going soggy. Alternatively, you can use a mix of green curly kale, spinach, and/or shredded cabbage.
- Pickled red onions: Quick-picking is super simple and only requires three ingredients: vinegar, sugar, and salt. For these onions, I suggest using cider vinegar, which isn't as harsh as white distilled vinegar.
- White miso paste: Find all varieties of miso paste near the kimchi and meat alternatives section of your grocery store. Alternatively, purchase it from your local Asian market, where you're bound to find it at the lowest price.
- Avocado: Rich in fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, avocado is super satiating. If you're not a fan of avocado, however, feel free to leave it out or swap it for a scoop of hummus.
- Cayenne: Believe or not, the capsaicin in cayenne peppers has some metabolism-boosting benefits. The dressing only calls for ¼-1/2 tsp, however feel free to add more if you like the heat!
Step 1: Make the Quick-Pickled Red Onions
Combine the red onions, vinegar, water, sugar, and salt a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook 1 minute. Next, remove the pan from the heat and let stand while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Note: the onions can be pickled DAYS ahead. I even suggest prepping a double batch and keeping them on hand for sandwiches and salads throughout the week.
Step 2: Marinate the Mis0-Glazed Salmon
In a wide-rimmed bowl, combine the miso, oil, and soy sauce, and stir with a whisk. Add the salmon fillets and toss to coat, and let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature.
Step 3: Prepare the Lemon-Cayenne Dressing
While the salmon marinates, prepare the salad dressing by combining lemon juice, honey, Dijon, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil in a steady stream until the dressing is emulsified.
Step 4: Massage the Greens
Place the kale and Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and add half the Lemon-Cayenne Dressing. Use your hands to gently massage the dressing into the greens for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they start to soften. (Reserve the remaining half for drizzling overtop.)
Step 5: Broil the Salmon
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and transfer salmon to baking sheet. Position an oven rack 6"-8" from broiler and preheat broil setting to HIGH. Broil salmon until golden brown and just opaque in center, 6 to 8 minutes total. (If salmon starts to char, move it to lower oven rack.)
Step 6: Assemble the Salmon Superfood Salad
Start by diving the kale and Brussels mixture evenly between 4 plates. Next, divide the quick-pickled red onions, avocado slices, and blueberries, if usually, between each salad. Place one miso-glazed salmon on top of each, and drizzle evenly with remaining dressing. To garnish, scatter your favorite nuts or seeds overtop.
FAQs and Expert Tips
What is the Best Kind of Salmon to Buy?
You can use either wild-caught or farm-raised salmon for this recipe. However they will likely have different cooking times depending on the thickness and fat content.
If using wild, I suggest King salmon, also known as Chinook. This variety has a high fat content, which makes the flesh super buttery and rich. Coho salmon is also a good choice, which will have a more delicate texture than King, but similar flavor. I suggest avoiding Sockeye, if possible, because it's super lean and therefore easy to overcook.
If you purchase farm-raised as opposed to wild, look for the phrase “sustainably-farmed” on the label. This is generally a more responsible and environmentally-sound way to control overfishing.
What Does it Mean to Massage Kale?
Massaging the kale helps to break down the tough cell structure and gives the kale a softer, more desirable texture. To do this, rip the leafy part of the kale from the rib (discard the ribs), and place the greens in a large bowl. Next, add your dressing of choice (or just olive oil and some salt), and gently rub it into the greens.
After 1 minute, you'll notice the greens start to break down and soften. After kale is massaged, it will last up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container in the fridge. In addition to using it in superfood salads like this, you can add it to grain bowls, wraps, and egg scrambles.
What's the Best Way to Shave Brussels Sprouts?
There are actually a couple different ways to shred or shave Brussels sprouts.
Option 1 is in a food processor fitted with the slicing attachment, which will coarsely shred the Brussels sprouts.
Option 2 is by hand, in which you'll need a Chef's knife. Start by removing the tough outer layers, and then thinly slice each sprout cross-wise.
Option 3 is buying a bag of pre-shredded/shaved Brussels sprouts, which are now available at most grocery stores!
More Superfood Salad Recipes to Try:
If you give this Salmon Superfood Salad a try, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
Salmon Superfood Salad
- Sheet pan
- Small saucepan
- Mixing bowls
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- ⅔ cup cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. white miso paste
- 4 (6-oz.) salmon fillets *see notes for suggestions
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 12 oz. shredded/shaved Brussels sprouts
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (use more or less depending on desired spice level)
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine onion, vinegar, sugar, salt, and ½ cup of water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and let stand until ready to use.
- Combine olive oil, soy sauce, and miso in a wide-rimmed bowl. Add salmon and gently toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare Lemon-Cayenne Dressing by combining lemon juice, honey, Dijon, cayenne, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Gradually stream in olive oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified.
- Place kale and Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and add half of dressing. Gently massage dressing into greens for 30 to 60 seconds until they start to soften. Add blueberries and nuts; toss to combine.
- Place the top oven rack 6"-8" from broiler, and preheat broil setting to HIGH. Place the marinated salmon fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil for 6 to 8 minutes, or until just opaque in center. (If the salmon starts to burn, move it to lower rack.)
- Assemble salad by dividing kale mixture evenly between each of 4 bowls. Drain pickled red onions and scatter evenly overtop. Top each salad with one miso-glazed salmon fillet, plus some avocado slices. Drizzle remaining dressing evenly overtop.