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This salmon salad recipe has been my go-to meal prep lunch for weeks! It’s quick to prepare, stores very well, and is bursting with flavor. Out of over 1000 healthy recipes here on Wholsome Yum, it’s probably my favorite lunch of all.
When you need a change from classic crab salad, creamy chicken salad or simple tuna salad, make this one instead using tender and flaky baked salmon. With fresh veggies you won’t find in your typical creamy salads, every bite offers lots of textures and fresh ingredients to keep you satisfied. It’s perfect for lunch or a light dinner, and takes just half an hour!
Salmon Salad Recipe: Why You’ll Love It
- Refreshing, savory, and tangy
- Crunchy veggies, succulent and flaky salmon
- Fresh, simple ingredients
- Ready in just 30 minutes
- Naturally gluten-free, low carb, dairy-free, and high in protein
- The best salmon salad recipe for sandwiches and more!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for cold salmon salad, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
The salmon is the star of this dish! It doesn’t need any fancy seasoning because the dressing and other ingredients already add so much flavor, but you could follow my baked salmon recipe instead to make it with garlic, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Otherwise, for the basic version you’ll only need:
- Salmon Fillets – This salmon salad recipe bakes this fish, but you could do salmon on the grill, make pan seared salmon in a skillet, or even use air fry salmon. If you don’t have any fresh salmon fillets, 3 1/2 cups of canned salmon would also work, but fresh tastes much better.
- Olive Oil – You could also use avocado oil or coconut oil.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
This salmon salad dressing is creamy, herby, and needs just 5 ingredients:
- Mayonnaise – I make homemade avocado oil mayonnaise, but store-bought also works. You could also use plain Greek yogurt as the base.
- Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice will give the best flavor, but you can use bottled lemon juice for convenience. Lime juice would also work instead.
- Dijon Mustard – Gives this salad a richer taste. Use whatever mustard you like.
- Fresh Dill – If you can’t find fresh dill or prefer a different flavor, you can use other fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, or basil instead.
- Smoked Paprika – I love the smoky flavor, but you could also use regular paprika.
It’s best to dice the veggies finely so that they blend well into the recipe for salmon salad, but you can do slices if you like.
- Bell Pepper – Use red, yellow, orange, or green.
- Onion – I used a red onion, but you can use a white onion, scallions, or shallots instead for a different flavor.
- Cucumbers – You could also use zucchini for a similar crunch.
- Salt & Black Pepper
VARIATION: Add other veggies or cheese!
You can add any summer vegetables to this salad, including shredded radishes, shredded carrots, tomato, kalamata olives, or celery. Crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese also make nice additions.
How To Make Salmon Salad
This section shows how to make a salmon salad with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Prep. Preheat oven. Place the salmon fillets in a large baking dish (or baking sheet), with spaces between them. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Season. Brush both sides of the salmon with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake the salmon. Place salmon in the oven (make sure it’s skin-side down if your salmon has skin), until it flakes easily with a fork. Let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 10 minutes and flake with a fork.
- Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, dill, and smoked paprika.
- Combine the salad. In a large bowl, combine diced bell peppers, red onions, and cucumbers. Add the flaked salmon.
- Mix with dressing. Pour the dressing over the salmon salad and mix gently. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
TIP: Fold the salad ingredients with dressing gently.
Use a folding motion to mix, so that some of the salmon pieces stay intact.
- Store: Keep the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Meal prep: This salmon salad recipe is perfect for meal prep! It tastes just as good for several days, so you can make it ahead and enjoy (almost) all week long. If you prefer, you can also cut the veggies, cook the salmon, and mix the dressing, and store the components in the fridge separately.
- Freeze: Avoid freezing salmon salad, as this will ruin the texture of the fresh veggies and dressing.
Ways To Serve Salmon Salad
Like other creamy salad recipes, you can enjoy this one in so many ways! Personally, I’ve been eating it plain and it’s so satisfying on its own. Here are some other ideas:
- Sandwiches – Make a salmon salad sandwich on your favorite bread! For lighter options, try it on almond flour bread or super fast 90 second bread. You can also make a veggie-centric “sandwich” by stuffing the salad into cucumber subs or a bell pepper sandwich.
- Lettuce – Use it as a filling for lettuce wraps, or simply top a bed of romaine lettuce.
- Crackers – You can even enjoy this as an appetizer with your favorite crackers. Any cracker is great for scooping, but I like to use flax seed crackers, crisp almond flour crackers, or even cheese crisps.
- Grains – Spoon this salad on rice, quinoa, or riced cauliflower for a filling meal (much like a salmon bowl).
More Easy Salmon Recipes
Love salmon? Here are more quick and healthy recipes to try any day of the week:
Salmon Salad (30 Minutes!)
Make the best salmon salad recipe in just 30 minutes! With fresh veggies, flaky salmon, & creamy herb dressing, it's an easy, flavorful meal.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).
Place the salmon fillets in a large baking dish, with spaces between them. Use paper towels to pat them dry.
Brush both sides of the salmon with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the salmon internal temperature reaches 135 to 140 degrees F (57 to 60 degrees C) . It should flake easily with a fork. Let the salmon cool to room temperature. (This takes 15-20 minutes.)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the dressing:mayo, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, fresh dill, and smoked paprika. (You can season with salt and pepper to taste here if you like, but I prefer to do this at the end when you taste the whole salad.)
In a large bowl, combine the diced bell peppers, red onions, and cucumbers.
Once the salmon has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for 10 minutes. Then, flake the salmon with a fork and add to the bowl with the other salad ingredients.
Pour the dressing over the salad and mix gently. (Use a folding motion to mix, so that some of the salmon pieces stay intact.) Adjust salt and pepper to taste if needed.
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Serving size: 1 cup
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