This Kale Salmon Salad is a nutritious and flavor-packed meal. It features tender salmon fillets, protein-packed lentils, and crisp salad veggies smothered in a delectable roasted garlic tahini dressing with a tangy lemon bite.
For more crazy-delicious salads, try my Roasted Beetroot Pumpkin Salad with Feta and Walnuts, this beautiful yet super-simple Fresh Tomato Salad, or my hearty Couscous Spinach Salad next.
*NEW AND IMPROVED RECIPE*
There was a time when I didn’t much like salads. The 80’s limp iceberg lettuce, flavorless tomato, and slimy cucumber trio that would find its way onto my plate at school or in a restaurant were just inedible to me.
We’re so fortunate to have access to a wider variety of ingredients nowadays; there’s no excuse for a boring salad. This is a favorite of mine, and I hope it becomes your new go-to kale salad!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s a breeze to whip up. Yep, this quick and easy salmon kale salad recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes!
- Meal prep-friendly. Kale holds up well, even sitting in the dressing for longer periods, so make it ahead and take some stress out of mealtimes.
- It’s delicious AND nutritious. Every single ingredient in this recipe is nutrient-dense and super-flavorful at the same time. No need to sacrifice one for the other here!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this fantastic salmon salad recipe.
Please note this recipe has been simplified and no longer includes sweet potato.
- Cavolo Nero: When buying kale for salads, I recommend avoiding the pre-cut packs in the grocery store because you’ll be forever trying to pick out the tough stems they leave behind. With the leaves intact, you can pull/chop out the whole rib in one go. As kale is pretty hardy roughage, the best way to tenderize it is to first slice it thinly. And then, rub the tough kale leaves with extra-virgin olive oil. This makes kale much more pleasant to eat raw.
- Beetroot: For ease, this recipe uses pre-cooked beetroot that’s diced, so you get a piece with every mouthful.
- Cucumbers: I like to use baby or mini cucumbers; however, use your favorite variety.
- Edamame Beans: You can use either fresh or thawed frozen beans.
- Scallions (Spring Onions): All this salad really needs is a subtle hint of onion. Green onions or some finely chopped red onions would make great subs.
- Puy Lentils: I like Simply Cooked Puy Lentils by Merchant Gourmet. They’re pre-cooked, ready to eat, and only contain real food ingredients. Plus, they taste great. But you can cook them from scratch if you prefer.
Did you know that cavolo nero is known by various names, such as Tuscan kale, Lacinato kale, black kale, dinosaur kale, and dino kale?
FOR THE GARLIC LEMON TAHINI DRESSING
Now you need a fantastic salad dressing to drizzle over your entire salad. All you need is:
- A Garlic Clove
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Fine Sea Salt
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Cayenne Pepper
This is going to take a good salad to an insanely delicious salad!
Here are some quick step-by-step instructions on how to make your Kale Salmon Salad. Exact ingredients and detailed instructions can be found in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. ⇩
Step 1: Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel. Rub them with olive oil and season. Place each fillet skin-side down on the lined baking sheet. Add the garlic clove to the baking sheet, and then bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.
Step 2: Meanwhile, place the chopped kale into a large bowl and drizzle with sesame oil. Rub the oil into the leaves for a few minutes to tenderize them. Then, add the ready-to-eat lentils, beetroot, radishes, edamame beans, cucumber, and scallions to the bowl. Gently toss the ingredients together and set aside.
Step 3: Remove the salmon and garlic from the oven once cooked. Let the salmon rest.
Step 4: Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh into a small blender with the rest of the dressing ingredients. If you don’t have a blender, mix the ingredients with a spoon in a small bowl.
Step 5: Divide the salad ingredients between two plates and top each with a salmon fillet. Drizzle the tahini dressing over the salmon and veggies and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!
- Protein: If you’d prefer a different protein source, you can use haddock, tuna, chicken, steak, shrimp, tofu, or canned salmon instead of fresh salmon.
- Lentils: Puy lentils are ideal, but green or brown lentils work too. If the lentils are uncooked, cook them according to the package instructions before adding them to the salad.
- Kale: This salad welcomes a variety of dark leafy greens! What about curly kale, collard greens, chard, or even red cabbage is a fab choice.
- Edamame: Green peas or roasted chickpeas make good subs for edamame beans, providing added texture and protein.
- Cucumber: Any cucumber works, so use what you have on hand, whether it’s baby cucumbers, English cucumbers, or regular cucumbers.
- Grains: For a different grain base, you can use quinoa, couscous, farro, or bulgur instead of lentils.
- Nuts and Seeds: Different ways to add crunch and extra nutrition is to add some toasted almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds – these Roasted Chili Lime Pepitas are just divine!
- Fruits: For sweetness, consider adding diced apples, pears, or dried cranberries to your salad.
- Cheese: Crumbled feta, goat cheese, or shaved parmesan cheese are great options for extra flavor and creaminess.
- Dressing: Instead of the Roasted Garlic Tahini dressing, you can try a lemon vinaigrette, my delicious Sumac Dressing, or another of my favorites, a creamy Caesar dressing.
- Vegan: For a delicious and nutritious substitute for salmon in this recipe, try creamy avocado, thinly sliced or cubed. It’s rich, satisfying, and full of healthy fats.
Room temperature. Remove the salmon from the fridge 15-20 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature. If the fish is too cold, it will likely overcook on the outside before the inside warms up.
Line your baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper (baking paper) so the salmon doesn’t stick as it cooks. Alternatively, lightly grease the baking sheet.
Crispy skin. Baking the salmon filets skin side down allows the skin to crisp up and become deliciously golden brown. It also helps protect the flesh from drying out.
Storage and Reheating
Fridge Storage: Leftover Kale Salmon Salad can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
To maintain freshness, store the Roasted Garlic Tahini dressing separately in a small airtight container and drizzle it over the salad just before serving.
Remove your salad from the fridge 10-15 minutes before you plan to eat it. This will bring it up to room temperature slightly and take the cold edge off.
Leftovers are best served cold. However, if you want to, you can reheat the salmon. Just do so gently to avoid drying it out. Don’t reheat the salad ingredients, as they will wilt.
Freezer Storage: This salad is not suitable for freezing as a whole. However, you can freeze individual salmon fillets in a freezer-safe, airtight container or freezer bag for later use. When ready to use, defrost it in the refrigerator and incorporate it into a fresh salad.
Health Benefits of Salmon
Heart health: Loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, salmon may reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and provide protection against cardiovascular disease [Source, Source].
Muscle health: Salmon is a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids the body needs but can’t make itself. This is important for building and repairing muscles, fueling the immune system, and optimizing hormone production [Source].
Brain health: Salmon contains vitamin B12, which may help to reduce fatigue, sharpen your memory, boost focus, improve mood, and relieve symptoms of depression [Source].
Bone health: Salmon contains vitamin D for strong bones and a healthy immune system [Source].
Metabolism: Salmon is an excellent source of selenium and iodine, essential for a healthy metabolism [Source].
The general recommendation is for at least two servings of fish per week, one being an oily fish like salmon. However, this advice is different for girls, women planning to have a baby, and pregnant or breastfeeding women due to higher levels of mercury and pollutants in oily fish. For more information, visit the NHS website and talk to your healthcare provider or registered dietitian.
Salmon is a delicious and nutritious seafood, but navigating the options at the fish counter can be daunting. Follow these tips to ensure you’re getting the freshest, most flavorful, and ethically sourced salmon for your next meal:
Color: Depending on the species, look for vibrant pink or orange-red flesh. Wild salmon tend to be deeper in color than farmed. Avoid any dullness, graying, or discoloration.
Firmness: Gently press the flesh. It should spring back without leaving an indentation. Soft or mushy flesh indicates spoilage.
Shine: If the salmon has skin, it should be shiny and iridescent, not dull or slimy.
Smell: Fresh salmon should have a mild, ocean-like scent. Avoid strong, fishy odors, which indicate spoilage.
Sustainability: To ensure the salmon was sustainably sourced, look out for certifications like MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) or ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council).
More Kale Recipes
Looking for more healthy recipes with kale? Try these next time:
Did you enjoy this Kale Salmon Salad? I’d love to know! Be sure to leave a comment and a star rating. Love and health, Cheryl ~ xo!
Kale Salmon Salad with Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing
If you love this recipe, rate it with 5 stars below!PRINT PIN RATE
- Cutting Board & Sharp Knife, to prepare the veg
- Baking Sheet, to bake the salmon and roast the garlic
- Large Salad Bowl
- Smaller Blender, or small bowl and fork to mix Garlic Tahini by hand
- 2 salmon fillets, skin off if you'd prefer
- ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, skin left on
- 5 ounces (140 grams) cavolo nero, (aka Tuscan kale or Lacinato Kale), tough ribs removed, and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1¼ cups (240 grams) cooked puy lentils
- 4 baby beetroot, small dice
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- ½ cup (75 grams) edamame beans, fresh or thawed from frozen
- 2 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions (spring onions), thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Prepare: Preheat oven to 375ºF/ 190ºC/ Gas Mark 5 and prepare your ingredients. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (baking paper).
- Bake: Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel (kitchen roll). Rub them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place each fillet skin-side down on the lined baking sheet. Add the garlic clove to the baking sheet, and then bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. The salmon is cooked when the flesh easily flakes apart with a fork and appears opaque in the center. The internal temperature should reach 145°F (63°C).
- Kale Salad: Meanwhile, place the prepared kale into a salad bowl and drizzle with sesame oil. Rub the oil into the leaves for a couple of minutes to tenderize them. Add the ready-to-eat cooked lentils, diced beetroot, sliced radishes, edamame beans, sliced cucumber, and sliced scallions (spring onions) to the bowl. Gently toss the ingredients together and set aside.
- Rest: Once cooked, remove the salmon and garlic from the oven. Let the salmon rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and keeps the fish moist and flavorful.
- Salad Dressing: Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh into a small blender. Add the tahini, lemon juice, salt, ground cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a blender, mix the ingredients with a spoon in a small bowl.
- Serve: Divide the salad ingredients between two plates and place a salmon fillet on each. Or, flake the salmon into smaller pieces. Drizzle the tahini dressing over the top of the salmon and veggies and add a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Then, serve and enjoy!
Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Nutrition Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimated using an online nutrition calculator. For accuracy, we recommend you calculate using the exact ingredients and brands you used.