This Salmon and Quinoa Salad is made with tender salmon, fluffy quinoa, crunchy cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, and a zesty lemon dressing with fresh lemon juice and a little olive oil that is key to pulling the flavors together.
When to make Salmon and Quinoa Salad
This salad is a perfect option for days you want something clean and fresh. I personally love making it on Mondays when I'm craving a healthy meal after a little bit too much eating out over the weekend. And it might just be your new favorite way to use up leftover salmon! 🙂
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy 30-minute dinner: easy peasy is the name of the game in my kitchen. This dinner will be on the table in just about 30 minutes.
- Nourishing: it's full of nourishing ingredients like healthy fats from salmon and extra virgin olive oil, fiber-rich tricolor quinoa and fresh vegetables that are rich in vitamins including tomatoes, cucumber and red onion.
- GF/DF with no added sugars: this recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and contains no added sugars.
- Loaded with fresh flavor: the perfect balance of crisp flavor in every bite. What's not to love?!
Salmon and Quinoa Salad Ingredients
This is one of my favorite salmon recipes because it uses the most simple ingredients.
- Salmon fillet: you can use either Atlantic Salmon or Wild Fresh Salmon Fillets. I personally use Atlantic Salmon, but choose the best salmon for you!
- Tricolor Quinoa: a great source of whole grains, fiber and plant-protein. Actually, nutty quinoa is a complete protein which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids!
- English Cucumber: I recommend using either an English cucumber or small Persian cucumbers for this recipe since they have less seeds and are more crisp.
- Cherry Tomatoes: the perfect pop of sweetness and rich in lycopene-- an antioxidant that give tomatoes their red color!
- Red Onion: to add another pop of color and a bit of a peppery flavor.
- Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice: I wouldn't recommend using bottled lemon juice for this one. The fresh lemon really makes the dressing have the amazing zesty flavor that brings this whole salad together perfectly.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: high in oleic acid, Omega-9 fatty acids, and essential for adding a robust flavor that combines perfectly with the fresh lemon!
- Italian Seasoning: you can absolutely use fresh herbs for this dressing, but using Italian Seasoning keeps things simple.
- Dijon Mustard: just a small amount of dijon to add some extra zip!
- Salt & Pepper: to taste
*Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list in the recipe card below.
Instructions for Salmon and Quinoa Salad
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400℉. Sprinkle salt and pepper on your salmon fillet and place salmon skin side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake it in the oven for 18-20 minutes until flaky. Let salmon cool and flake it with a fork.
Step 2: In a small bowl, make the lemon herb dressing by whisking together extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3: Prep other ingredients. Cook the quinoa on the stove following the instructions on the package and let it cool to room temperature. Dice your tomatoes, cucumber, and red onions.
Step 4: Combine the ingredients in a large bowl and toss until the dressing is coating the mixture. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Hint: Letting the quinoa and salmon cool before you make this gives the best result. So go ahead and meal prep ahead of time by making a batch of quinoa and some baked salmon and store them in the fridge until you're ready to put the salad together! You can also prep the veggies by chopping them and make the lemon herb dressing ahead of time, too.
Customize it to your taste bud's desire. Below are some ideas but feel free to get creative with it!
- Spicy - add red pepper flakes or some black pepper to make it a bit spicier.
- Deluxe - red bell peppers, fresh lemon zest, or feta cheese are great additions.
- Kid friendly - let your kiddos dip some chips in it or serve it with their favorite dressing!
Meal Prep and Leftover Storage
- Cook the quinoa and salmon ahead of time. Store them in separate containers in the fridge until ready to make the salad.
- Chop the veggies ahead of time. Store them together in a container in the fridge until ready to make the salad.
- Make the dressing ahead of time and store in an airtight container like these mason jars until the salad is made. The dressing will stay good in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Fridge: This salmon quinoa salad is perfect to have for dinner one night and still have plenty leftover for lunch the next day! Store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. In fact, the flavors of the dressing get even better as they soak into the salmon quinoa bowl.
Freezer: These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing so I wouldn't recommend freezing it.
I love serving this Salmon and Quinoa Salad recipe in my Famiware bowls with some fresh mint on top!
While healthy means something different to everyone, I have to say this recipe is jam-packed with nutrition! Salmon has been shown to be anti-inflammatory and good for mental health and brain health, fiber-rich ingredients like quinoa to support gut health and can help with balancing hormones, and antioxidants from the quinoa, salmon, and veggies support your overall health!
Yes! Quinoa is naturally gluten-free.
The best way is to use a cooking thermometer. The salmon should reach an internal temperature of 145℉ at the thickest part of the fish. Alternatively, you can check to see if salmon is done cooking when it flakes easily with a fork.
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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! I would love to hear from you! If you made this recipe, please leave me a review below or tag me in a photo or story on Instagram....I LOVE knowing there’s people out there trying out my recipes! 🙂 IG: @mallorythedietitian
Salmon and Quinoa Salad
- 8 oz Atlantic salmon
- ½ cup quinoa, uncooked about 1 ½ cups cooked
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ an English cucumber diced into small pieces, about ¾ inch (about 1 ½ cups)
- ½ a red onion about ½ cup chopped
To make the Lemon Herb Dressing
- ⅓ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice juice of about 2 large lemons
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- To bake your salmon fillet, preheat oven to 400℉. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with an oil spray. Generously season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place it skin side down on the baking sheet. Bake it in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until it is opaque and flakes with a fork. Set salmon aside to cool.
- While salmon is baking, make the quinoa according to the instructions on the package. Typically, you will need to rinse the quinoa. Then add 1 cup of water and ½ cup quinoa to a boil in a small pot. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. When quinoa is done cooking, remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.
- Prep your vegetables. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves, dice the English cucumber into about 1 inch pieces, and chop the red onion.
Make the Dressing
- To make the Lemon Herb Dressing, mix together the extra virgin olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, dijon mustard, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl with a whisk until well combined. Then, add salt and pepper to taste!
Assemble the Salad
- Combine the salmon, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, English cucumber, red onion, and lemon herb dressing in a large bowl. Mix until dressing coats the entire mixture. Feel free to add a bit more salt and pepper if needed! Enjoy. 🙂
- Salmon: you can also use Wild Salmon if you prefer. This is a great recipe if you're looking for a way to use up leftover salmon, too.
- Veggies: feel free to customize this recipe by adding different vegetables. Red bell peppers make a great addition!
- Quinoa: if you don't like quinoa, you could use another grain like brown rice or even a chickpea pasta.
- Dressing: if you don't have time or the ingredients to make the fresh Lemon Herb Dressing, you can use your favorite store-bought dressing. I suggest finding one with lemon or a good balsamic vinaigrette. But the recipe is definitely best with the homemade Lemon Herb Dressing in my opinion. And it only takes a couple minutes to throw the homemade dressing together!
- Meal prep by cooking the salmon and quinoa ahead of time. You can also make the dressing ahead and chop your veggies. That way, when mealtime rolls around, all you have to do is throw the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and serve.
- This is one of those recipes that just gets better the next day as the quinoa soaks up the dressing. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! I would love to hear from you! If you made this recipe, please leave me a review below or tag me in a photo or story on Instagram….I LOVE knowing there’s people out there trying out my recipes! 🙂 IG: @mallorythedietitian