This Baked Salmon Kale Salad recipe with Tahini Dressing is made up of flaky baked Alaskan salmon served over a bed of sweet kale. It's topped with creamy avocado and tart pomegranate and finished with a homemade tahini dressing. It's healthy and delicious!
Salmon Kale Salad
I get ideas for recipes I want to make on Running in a Skirt all of the time. Sometimes they come to me when I'm running... sometimes when I'm driving. Sometimes recipes come to me when I'm standing in the fridge trying to decide what to make. That's what happened with this Salmon Kale Salad recipe. This salad is basically ALL of my favorite things that I usually keep stocked in my fridge or freezer. Sometimes throwing a bunch of stuff together is a miss... but this salad was a HIT and too good not to share.
I love all the superfoods in this salad including vitamin-packed kale, tart pomegranate, avocado, and of course... a perfect piece of baked salmon.
Why I love this Baked Salmon Kale Salad Recipe...
I almost always have a big bag of curly kale, avocados, and the ingredients to make my Lemon Tahini Dressing on hand. Just those three ingredients alone make for one spectacular salad. But since I was trying to make dinner for both the Hubs and myself, I went digging in our chest freezer for some of the wild salmon the Hubs caught in Alaska last summer. He usually craves more substance on a salad than I do.
I decided to simply bake or oven roast it with lemon. I used my favorite fish seasoning, but you could also just use salt and pepper. The fish he caught has been incredible and I'm going to be so sad when it's gone!
The salmon paired perfectly with the kale. I love the heartiness of curly kale next to the fish and the dressing is perfection. To give it some extra jazz I added some pomegranate arils and pine nuts... but you could also use dried cranberries if they are out of season. Either way, just a touch of crunch and sweetness adds so much to this meal.
Sometimes I plan out recipes for weeks, but often it's the ones that come together with the most natural that really are the best. This is one that I have a feeling will be a repeat performer on our dinner table. I hope you'll give it a try on yours.
How to Pick Good Salmon
I know I'm pretty lucky to have the stocked freezer of good Alaskan salmon BUT I'm a firm believer you can find and enjoy good fish almost anywhere. Here are some tips on how to pick good salmon at the store for this Salmon Kale Salad.
- Look for salmon steaks or fillets that are moist and don't have a strong fishy odor. It's not a good thing if it actually smells like fish.
- Check to see if the fish at the fish counter is really fresh or just thawed out from the store's frozen selection.
- If it is thawed out it might be best for you to just buy it frozen and thaw it out yourself! That way you know how long it's been thawed and know it's fresh. Frozen fish has come a long way and unless you live near the coast and have access to a fresh fish market, it might be your best option.
- Look for any preservatives added to your fish.
Ingredients in the Salmon and Kale Salad:
- Salmon: Fresh or frozen salmon can be used in this recipe. Just thaw out your fish ahead of time if you pick that option.
- Olive oil: A light olive oil is perfect for cooking salmon.
- Lemon: Lemon brightens the salad and brings out the flavor of the fish.
- Kale: I like to use curly leaf kale, but you can substitute it with other varieties if desired. Any other salad green can also work.
- Avocado: Adds the perfect touch of creamy texture to the salad.
- Pomegranate seeds: Adds a nice sweetness to the salad. If pomegranate is hard to find or out of season you can use dried cranberries.
- Pine nuts: Adds some crunch to balance out the other textures. Pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds can also work.
- Tahini lemon dressing: This dressing is so easy to make, and it's the perfect way to top off this salad. You can mix a batch ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.
How to Make the Baked Salmon Kale Salad:
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Drizzle the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top each piece of fish with lemon.
- Cook for 8-12 minutes.
- Massage the kale and coat with the dressing.
- Divide the salad between two bowls and top with avocado slices, pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts.
- Place the baked fish on top of the salad. Finish with an extra drizzle of dressing.
How to Prep Salmon for Cooking
- If you aren't familiar with cooking salmon, it's really easy. Before you start cooking it rinse it and pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Put it in a baking dish and then continue by adding the oil and seasoning mix for the recipe.
How to Massage Kale
Have you heard of massaging kale before? It's the secret to enjoying a raw kale salad! All you do is put the dressing on the kale and use your hands to massage it in. You want to break up and tenderize the kale for better texture and flavor. Do it for about 30 seconds! It makes a big difference.
Pro Tips and Variations
- You could use any dense flaky fish in this recipe.
- Any salad green would work for this dish. Try mixing it up with spinach or mixed salad greens.
- This Salmon and Kale Salad would also be delicious with my homemade Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing.
How do you know when salmon is done?
When salmon has been cooked for the correct amount of time it will gently flake when lightly pressed with your finger. The best temperature for medium to medium-rare salmon is 125F-135F. This guarantees your salmon will be done without being overcooked.
How do you prepare raw kale?
The trick to preparing kale is to massage the leaves with your hands for around 3 minutes. This helps the leaves become soft and tender, so it is more enjoyable to eat.
More healthy salmon recipes to enjoy:
- Baked Lemon Salmon with Creamy Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce
- Salmon Foil Packets with Rainbow Veggies
- Balsamic Glazed Salmon
- Easy Lemon Pesto Salmon
- Salmon, Asparagus and Tomato in Foil
- Garlic Dill Salmon & Brussels Sprouts One Pan Meal
Salmon Kale Salad recipe with Tahini Dressing
For the Salmon
- 2 pieces Salmon
- 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
- 1 Lemon
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
For the Salad
- 4 cups Kale, stems removed and chopped
- ½ Avocado, sliced
- 2 tablespoons Pomegranate Seeds
- 2 tablespoons Pine Nuts, toasted
- 1 recipe Tahini Lemon Dressing ***
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Cut the lemon in half and cut two thin circles out of the middle. Squeeze the remaining lemon over the fish.
- Drizzle the fish with the olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Top each piece of fish with one of the lemon slices.
- Cook for 8-12 minutes until the fish flakes. Time will depend greatly on how thick the fish is.
- Massage the kale and coat with the dressing. Use your hands to make it more tender.
- Divide the salad between two bowls and top with the avocado slices, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts.
- When the fish is done, place it on top of the salad. Finish with an extra drizzle of dressing, if desired!
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