This citrus oven baked salmon salad is bright and fresh with crunchy roasted chickpeas and a delightful zesty dressing that is going to have you coming back for more!
This is the recipe that changed our lives!! Our very first week of being totally unpacked in our new place, it was time to get back in the kitchen and cooking again. I’ve felt so out of it with the stress of moving and when our oldest daughter mentioned she really wants to learn to like fish so she can incorporate some healthier foods into her diet, I timidly said yes.
I’ve hated salmon since the day I was born but I do secretly wish seafood wasn’t such a nemesis of mine so I jumped in. In the past I’ve liked it ok, but this citrus baked salmon salad absolutely sold me! It’s all about the flavors so do not substitute other seasonings unless you’re crazy.
I adapted this recipe from Tiffany Angela.
Ingredients for Salmon Salad
I’m going to recommend not substituting any of these ingredients because each one has an important role in bringing all the flavor to your plate! I’ve divided the ingredients into categories – dressing, salmon, chickpeas and the salad. Don’t get overwhelmed! None of the ingredients are weird or hard to find. Here is what you will need:
- Olive Oil – the base of the dressing
- Mayonnaise – adds creaminess
- Lime Juice – I don’t want to live in a world without limes! Fresh lime juice is highly recommended!
- Cilantro – roughly chopped
- Garlic – fresh cloves, finely minced
- Honey – adds natural sweetness
- Salt – enhances all the flavors
The dressing can be made up to a week ahead of time.
- Salmon Filets – look for vibrant pink salmon with the skin removed
- Traeger Citrus Black Pepper Chicken Rub – this rub is heaven, a little spicy and so citrus-y
- Chili Powder – adds a little heat and delicious smoky flavor
- Chickpeas – canned chickpeas work great, drain them and rinse them, then pat them dry
- Olive Oil – helps the chickpeas get crispy and crunchy
- Kosher Salt – adds flavor
- Smoked Paprika – gives the chickpeas a savory smokiness
- Arugula Mixed Spring Greens – any sort of spring mix that include arugula will work great or feel free to make your own mix
- English Cucumber – I prefer English cucumber, but you can use regular cucumber, just peel and seed them first
- Tomatoes – grape or cherry tomatoes halved
- Avocado – adds creaminess and richness to the salad
- Red Onion – slice thinly
- Pepitas – lightly toasted, adds a nice crunch
- Pine Nuts – lightly toasted, adds texture and a great nutty flavor
- Cotija Cheese – a delicious, salty and crumbly Mexican cheese, feta or parmesan would make a decent substitute
- Cilantro – chopped and used as garnish
The measurements for all these ingredients as well as the instructions for carrying out this recipe can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post. You can also print or save the recipe there.
Chef Tip for the Cucumber!
I actually used our leftover Asian cucumber salad (drained) for about 1/3 of the cucumbers in this recipe and the rest I used fresh cucumbers. It had this brightness that I totally loved so if you think ahead to have that salad the day before then use leftovers.
How to Choose Good Salmon
When you go to the grocery store, there are a few things you should look for when choosing good salmon…
- Find a fishmonger who you trust!
- Look for a bright vibrant pinkish orange color.
- Smell the fish, it should not have a fishy smell at all if it’s fresh.
- The filets should look moist and not dried out.
- Avoid salmon with brown spots or bruises.
How to Know When Salmon is Done
As salmon bakes, it will change color from a bright vibrant pink to a lighter pink and it will begin to flake when it is done.
You can also use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the salmon. In the center of the thickest part of the salmon filet, a safe temperature for salmon is 110 to 140 degrees.
How Long Will Salmon Salad Keep?
Like most salads, this won’t keep really well. It is best eaten fresh. If you know you are going to have leftovers, then I would recommend keeping the salad, salmon, chickpeas and dressing separate and just dishing up individual servings rather than mixing everything together in one big bowl. Then everything can be stored separately and it will keep much better in the refrigerator.
I have gone from salmon hater to salmon lover after eating this citrus oven baked salmon. It is so flavorful and so tender. I love it over this arugula cucumber salad with homemade cilantro lime dressing and crunchy roasted chickpeas. Yum. Just yummmmmm!
More Tasty Salmon Recipes:
- Sweet and Spicy Orange Salmon
- Asian Sticky Salmon
- Garlic Butter Salmon
- Apricot Lemon Salmon
- Maple Glazed Salmon
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Citrus Oven Baked Salmon over Arugula Cucumber Salad
For the Dressing
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
- 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
- 1/2 Cup Cilantro
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 3/4 Teaspoon Honey
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
For the Salmon
- 4 Salmon Filets skinned
- 3 Tablespoons Traeger Citrus Black Pepper Chicken Rub
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
For the Chickpeas
- 1 Can Chickpeas drained
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 3/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
For the Salad
- Arugula Mixed Spring Greens
- 1/2 English Cucumber or Japanese cucumber, halved and sliced
- 2 Small Tomatoes (we used orange) chopped
- 1 Large Avocado sliced
- 1/4 Red Onion sliced thin
- 2 Tablespoons Pepitas
- 2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
- 1/3 Cup Cotija Cheese
- Cilantro for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 450.
- In a blender, combine the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside in the fridge.
- For the salmon, drizzle each side with olive oil. Mix the rub and chili powder together and sprinkle thoroughly over the front and back of the salmon. Place on a baking sheet.
- Meanwhile, drain and pat dry the chickpeas. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and smoked paprika and shake the bowl to evenly coat. Spread on another baking sheet (I use 1/4 sheets so that both the salmon and chickpeas can bake side by side) Place both baking sheets in the oven for 14-18 minutes or until desired temperature.
- Shake the chickpeas pan halfway through baking. Remove from the oven.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pepitas and pine nuts until golden, shaking the pan often until light browning begins. Set aside and assemble the salad.
- Toss together the greens, veggies, seeds, nuts, chickpeas and seeds. Add the avocado and salmon and drizzle with the dressing. Garnish with lots of cheese and cilantro and serve.
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