Summer may be long behind us as we fast approach the festive season, but that doesn’t mean salads should take a back seat. This Pan-Fried Salmon Rainbow Salad is nutrient-dense and flavour-packed. Oh and the Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing is finger-licking delicious.
I hope life is treating you well this week. And if not, hopefully, I’m here to change all that with this Pan-Fried Salmon Rainbow Salad with Roasted Garlic Tahini. That’s quite a mouthful. But let me tell you, what a tasty mouthful. I’ve also added a batch of sweet potato crisps for you to scoop everything up. Oh yeah!
There was time I didn’t much like salads. Back in the day, the monotonous limp iceberg lettuce, watery tomato and slimy cucumber trio that would find its way onto my plate were just inedible to me. At school or in a restaurant, the salad was just a garnish as far as I was concerned and back at home, my constant refusal to eat the dreaded greenery would likely end in an argument.
So what’s changed? Well firstly, consuming less sugar has retrained my taste buds so that natural foods taste more appealing. And, secondly, I’ve become much more adventurous with food these days, and an exciting, colourful variation of natural ingredients on my plate tends to give me the same ‘buzz’ that sugar does. But, instead of a 5-minute sugar rush, it’s an “I’ve done something bloody great for myself”, kinda buzz.
The salmon in this recipe is simply pan-fried with salt and pepper in some extra virgin olive oil. That’s it! It’s all about the texture—crisp on the skin, crisp on the flesh and then succulent in the middle. Just heavenly coated in the Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing.
Tips for Pan Frying Salmon
- Room Temperature – Take the Salmon out of the fridge 15-20 minutes before cooking to bring it up to room temperature. If the fish is too cold, it will likely overcook on the outside before the inside warms up.
- Season – Generously season your salmon fillets with salt and pepper for maximum flavour.
- Non-Stick Skillet – Use a non-stick skillet or frying pan, so you don’t leave half your salmon in the pan!
- Cook – Cooking over a medium heat will give you enough heat to get a nice crispy exterior without overcooking the inside.
- Don’t Overcook – It’s so easy to overcook salmon. A 150g fillet needs about 3 minutes skin side down and then 2 minutes on the other side.
Rainbow salads are all about getting a variety of colourful whole food ingredients onto your plate. Those whole foods can be anything you’d like them to be. The idea is that you pick from a broad spectrum of colours so that you can benefit from an array of antioxidants.
Most Vibrant Colours + Wide Variety of Colours = Most Antioxidants
Antioxidants are potent compounds that help to protect your cells from the damage caused by potentially harmful free radicals (Source).
This recipe includes:
- Cavolo Nero (Kale) – the base of this salad is kale. When it comes to buying kale for salads, I would recommend you avoid the pre-cut stuff in the supermarket because you’ll be there forever and a day trying to pick out the blinking tough rib that seems to be attached to every single bit of leaf. With the leaves intact, you can pull/chop out the whole rib in one go. As kale is super fibrous and can be on the chewy side, be sure to slice finely. And lastly, by rubbing the leaves between your fingers with a little oil will tenderise them a little, taking the edge of what is otherwise pretty hardy roughage.
- Beetroot – For ease, pre-cooked beetroot is used in this recipe and chopped finely, so you get a piece with every mouthful.
- Radishes – So easy to prepare – wash and thinly slice for a pop of peppery spice.
- Cucumbers – Not a fan of larger cucumbers I tend to opt for the mini varieties. I find the seeds less offensive. But, use your favourite type for a touch of freshness.
- Edamame Beans – These healthy protein bombs bring a bright green pop of buttery goodness to the salad.
- Spring Onions – A subtle hint of onion is all this salad really needs.
- Puy Lentils – These babies add some bulk to the salad. I like to use the precooked Merchant Gourmet Puy Lentils because they’re already seasoned and taste great, which is fab because this meal already has a few other components to contend with, it doesn’t need another. The lentils are another great source of fibre and protein as well as an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
- Sweet Potatoes – Some salads need croutons, some need a generous grating of parmesan, this one needs homemade sweet potato crisps. The little round discs are perfect for scooping up a bit of salmon, a little green and lashings of the garlic tahini dressing!
ROASTED GARLIC TAHINI DRESSING
This is such a fist-pumping good dressing. So much so that I’m making up words again. Haha! It has 6 ingredients that blended until smooth. No blender? No worries. Just mix the ingredients in a small bowl, until well combined.
- Roasted Garlic Clove
- Lemon Juice
- Fine Sea Salt
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Cayenne
IS SALMON HEALTHY?
I love salmon. It’s my favourite fish. I eat it with a smile on my face because I know how much good it is doing me. Here’s why:
- Salmon is full of heart-healthy OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS which are well known for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
- It’s an excellent source of high-quality PROTEIN which will help you to maintain muscle mass during weight loss.
- If you have hypertension, salmon is a good source of POTASSIUM which may contribute to lowering high blood pressure.
IS IT SAFE TO EAT SALMON AND SALMON SKIN?
Unfortunately, this question does not have a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Here’s why.
The skin is where most of the omega-3 fatty acids are found in salmon. Consuming Omega-3s may help reduce inflammation and support heart and brain health. As another bonus, the skin helps to keep the salmon flesh stay moist and retain nutrients while it’s cooking.
However, should you be ignoring the current debate around the safety of eating salmon in general? It certainly seems to be a big topic of conversation among nutritionists, health coaches and online foodies all discussing whether the pollutants absorbed (particularly in the skin) during the fish’s lifetime at sea, should be a cause for concern.
Fortunately for us, experts are on the case, and it seems for most of us at least, the benefits of eating salmon likely outweigh the risks.
According to the NHS, groups that should eat no more than two portions of oily fish per week are girls, women who plan to have a baby or pregnant and breastfeeding women. (Source)
We all have to make decisions based on what we think is right for us. I’m certainly not into scare tactics. But, I do like to stay informed and look at what the research is saying. That’s the geek in me that comes out in this blog.
My two pennies worth: salmon and its skin are far better than some of the processed rubbish I have shovelled into my trap during my many thousands of binge sessions. So yep, I eat salmon. And I eat A LOT of salmon. Those omega-3s are crucial for my weight loss journey, my mental health and general wellbeing. That will be my position until updated research tells me otherwise!
PAN-FRIED SALMON IS IDEAL FOR MEAL PREP
This salad recipe is ideal for meal prep because all the salad ingredients, including the leaves, are pretty hardy. It would be best if you kept the Roasted Garlic Tahini Sauce separate from the salad when refrigerating; otherwise, the ingredients will go soggy, and you’ll find the entire salad will perish quicker.
When it comes to eating the salad, remove 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.
Are you thinking of making this Pan-Fried Salmon Rainbow Salad with Roasted Garlic Tahini? I’d love to know how it turns out for you. Get in touch in the comments and let me know!
Looking for more meal prep recipes? Check out these ideas
- One-Pot Chicken and Chorizo Savoury Rice
- BBQ Chicken Enchiladas
- Bolognese Sauce with Hidden Vegetables
Pan-Fried Salmon Rainbow Salad with Roasted Garlic Tahini
- Chopping Board & Sharp Knife
- Baking Tray (Sheet)
- Skillet or Frying Pan
- Large Bowl
- Smaller Blender (Or small bowl and fork to mix Garlic Tahini by hand)
- 1 Garlic Clove Whole and skin left on
- 1 Medium Sweet Potato Scrubbed and sliced into 2 mm thick discs
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil Divided
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper Freshly Ground
- 2 Salmon Fillets Skin off if you'd prefer
- 250 g (1¼ cups) Cooked Puy Lentils
- 140 g (2 cups) Cavolo Nero (Lacinato Kale) Washed, touch rib removed and thinly sliced
- 2 tsp Sesame Oil
- 2 Beetroot Small dice
- 4 Radishes Thinly sliced
- 85 g Edamame Beans I used frozen and thawed. Fresh would be great too.
- 120 g (1 cup) Cucumber I used baby cucumbers, washed and thinly sliced
- 2 Spring Onions (Scallions) Washed and thinly sliced
- Pinch Sesame Seeds
- 75 g (¼ cup) Tahini
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- ¼ tsp Fine Sea Salt
- ⅛ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 5 and prepare your ingredients.
- On a large baking sheet, add the garlic clove and arrange the sweet potato discs out on a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil and season with ½ tsp of the salt and ¼ of the pepper. Pop the tray on the top shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once the crisps are nice and crispy, remove from the oven and set to one side.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over a medium heat and then add the salmon fillets and season with salt and pepper. Sear for 3 minutes, flip and then sear the other side for 2 minutes. So the fillets don't continue to cook, remove from the pan, put on a plate and place to one side.
- Next, heat the puy lentils as per packet instructions. I am using the Merchant Gourmet Puy Lentils that take 45 seconds to cook in the microwave.
- You can now start pulling the rainbow salad together. First, put the cavolo nero in the bowl with sesame oil and rub the leaves between your fingers for a couple of minutes to tenderise them. Add the lentils to the bowl, along with the beetroot, radishes, edamame beans, cucumber and spring onions. Gently toss and set to one side.
- Now, make the Roasted Garlic Tahini dressing. Grab the garlic clove from the baking tray and squeeze the flesh out into a small blender. Add the tahini, lemon juice, sea salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and blend. If you don't have a blender, you can mix all the ingredients together with a spoon in a small bowl.
- Divide the salad ingredients between two plates and place a salmon fillet on each. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, add a dollop of Roasted Garlic Tahini and then serve and enjoy!
You can also stay up to date with new posts and healthy real food recipes by subscribing to The Real Food Geek mailing list below.
Thank you so much for reading.