This grilled salmon chopped salad is both warm and cool, meaty and fresh; and with minimal fuss in preparation, it's a gourmet meal made simple and costs a fraction of what it would at your favorite cafe, because it is prepared at home, and with love.
Grilled Salmon Chopped Salad, Good Clean Eating
After all of the culinary indulgences of the recent holiday season—the sugary treats, carb-y goodies and generally more decadent eating (which I must admit that I do enjoy)—I am quite ready for some healthier and fresher options.
I’m looking for meals that will bring back those higher energy levels and help us to start off this new year with gusto and clarity, feeling revitalized, like our bodies are getting those good vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats they need.
And while we may not necessarily think salad during this time of year, this is a actually a wonderful season for all sorts of very flavorful produce and fresh ingredients.
Because those ingredients tend to be on the heartier side, preparing a big, delicious chopped salad filled with romaine, fragrant fennel, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, hearts of palm, and chickpeas tossed with a seasonal citrus vinaigrette actually sounds quite enticing. And when paired together with an omega and protein-rich chunks of delicious, marinated grilled salmon, we're really in business!
A meal like this is “clean eating” at its best, and cleaner eating is what so many of us are all about, especially at the moment.
Chock Full of Flavorful Hearty Ingredients
I love this classic Italian Chopped Salad, love the flavors of that slightly sharp vinaigrette and all of the other surprising bits and morsels it contains. And while I used that as my general inspiration, I went a bit more in the directions of a seasonally inspired chopped salad for this recipe. I even put to good use a couple of our very own oranges and Meyer lemons from the trees out back for the citrus vinaigrette, since bright, tangy citrus is so plentiful during this time of year.
The addition of the warm, grilled salmon provides more delicious protein to this meal, and more substance.
Simply cubed into bite-size pieces and marinated with a some good olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a drizzle of honey, and a bit of juice from the oranges and Meyer lemons, plus a pinch of cayenne for spice, the salmon is succulent and tender, even a touch “smoky” from the grill pan.
Here's to our health, wealth and happy taste buds!
Tips & Tidbits for Grilled Salmon Chopped Salad:
- Use your favorite kind of salmon: I like to use Atlantic salmon—it’s firmer and tends to be a bit more hearty, and not quite as flaky and delicate to handle. But feel free to use your preferred variety.
- Quick marination: The marination time on the salmon is only about 20 minutes, but feel free to leave it overnight in the fridge and prepare it the next day.
- Do ahead: If you're looking to save a little prep time, you can chop your salad items and have them ready in a bowl, prepare your citrus vinaigrette, and have your salmon marinating so that things are ready to grill/assemble when you're ready to serve.
- Regular lemons will do just fine: Because we have our own Meyer lemon tree in the backyard, I chose to use those; but feel free to substitute regular lemons for the sake of convenience.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Grilled Salmon Chopped Salad
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes (includes marination)
Cook time: 8 minutes
• 2 (6-8 ounce) skinless salmon fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
• Olive oil (about 1 tablespoon)
• Black pepper
• Couple pinches of cayenne, to your liking
• 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 tablespoon orange juice (squeezed from a fresh orange, preferably)
• 1/2 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon)
• 1 medium-large heart of romaine, chopped finely
• 6 ounces asparagus (bottom of stalk trimmed), chopped into small pieces
• 1/2 fennel bulb, cored, sliced and chopped
• 8 Brussels sprouts, halved and shaved thinly
• 1 (15 ounce / 425 gram) can organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
• 2 hearts of palm stalks, chopped
Citrus Vinaigrette Ingredients:
• 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice from an orange
• 1 tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon)
• 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot (about 1/2 of a medium shallot)
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
• 1/2 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest (or regular lemon)
• Salt (couple of pinches)
• Black pepper (couple of pinches)
• 6 tablespoons olive oil
-To prepare your salmon, add it to a bowl and drizzle in about a tablespoon of olive oil, along with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, plus the cayenne, orange zest, honey, and orange and Meyer lemon juice; allow the salmon to marinate for 20 minutes (can be done overnight, as well), while you prep your salad and vinaigrette.
-Add all of your salad ingredients to a large bowl, and keep cold while you prep your vinaigrette and grill your salmon.
-To prepare your citrus vinaigrette, add all of the ingredients up to and including the black pepper to a bowl, and while whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil; or, you can add all ingredients to a mason jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake vigorously until completely combined and emulsified; check to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed.
-To grill your salmon, place a grill pan on medium-high heat; once hot, add in the chunks of salmon, working in batches if necessary, and grill the pieces for about 1-2 minutes per side, or until cooked through to your liking.
-To assemble, add the grilled salmon chunks to the chopped salad ingredients, and drizzle in some of the vinaigrette; toss to combine everything well, divide equally in shallow bowls, and garnish with an extra lemon or orange slice, if desired.