AKA Rainbow salad! Just look at all of those colors! Green, purple, and all of the orange! This Asian Citrus Salad with Marinated Salmon is exactly what you need to lift your spirits during any dreary, blah January days. TASTE THE RAINBOW!
We need to discuss the dressing for a moment, it is creamy, sweet and citrus-y, garlicky, with plenty of ginger for a kick. The base is tahini paste, which lends a beautiful creaminess and bitterness, it is rounded out with honey and fresh squeezed orange juice. I seriously can’t get enough of the stuff! I want to put it on all of my salads for the rest of my days! THE END!
Now, about the salmon. It is marinated in citrus-y, ginger-y, garlic-y, salty goodness that mimics the flavors in the salad dressing. You let the salmon sit in all those lovely flavors while your prepare the remainder of your veggies. When it’s time to eat you give the salmon a quick saute in a pan and throw it on top of your salad. You can really taste those citrus juices and zest, and the garlic and ginger in that salmon. Perfection! A side note about the salmon: If you are not a salmon eater then you can swap the salmon with some chicken breast, just keep in mind that the cook time will increase for the chicken. Friends, I really don’t want you to miss out on this salad! It’s that’ good!
All the rainbow veggies. We start with a good helping of greens, whatever you prefer: spinach, mixed greens, kale, anything goes. Next we top it with some quick pickled red onions that we whipped up while the salmon is marinating away. Those tangy, crunchy mild red onions belong on anything and everything – I’m obsessed! We’ve also got some shredded purple cabbage, sugar snap peas, plenty of cilantro, a few lime wedges for an extra tangy kick, shredded carrots, and of course some fresh juicy mandarin orange segments – because it’s a citrus salad after all! Dear, Asian Citrus Salad with Marinated Salmon, thank you for making me want to eat ALL of my veggies!
A word about soy sauce: I love it! But some people are sensitive to soy or prefer to avoid it for other health reasons. Have you heard about coconut aminos? It tastes very similar to soy sauce, but doesn’t contain any soy, is gluten free, and vegan. The flavor is slightly sweeter than soy sauce and a little less salty than soy sauce. I played around with using coconut aminos rather than soy sauce in both the marinade for the salmon and the dressing and it worked just as well as soy sauce would have. I did add a little bit of salt to both to help bump up the saltiness flavors that soy sauce would normally offer, easy solution. However, generally I would say that the swap of soy sauce and coconut aminos is 1 for 1, extra salt is optional. I just wanted to point it out to anyone who is looking for an alternative to soy sauce for all your Asian eating needs, or marinates, or whatever!
I hope you enjoy Asian Citrus Salad with Marinated Salmon as much as I do. It’s hearty, healthy, and beautiful to look at. It’s perfect for those days when you know you should eat a salad but it sounds so blah. It would also work great as a meal prep for lunches or dinners. Just assemble all of the veggies, make up the dressing, cook the salmon. Store dressing and salmon separately and then when it’s time to eat dress the salad and add the salmon. The salmon is just as delicious cold as it is warm.
Look at us! We’ve got this healthy veggie eating thing down!
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- zest and juice of 1 lime + juice of ½ lime
- ¼ cup coconut aminos* (or sub gluten free soy sauce)
- ½ teaspoon salt (omit if using soy sauce)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 garlic cloves, micro planed
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 1 pound salmon fillets (wild caught when possible)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- PICKLED ONIONS
- ¼ cup hot water
- ½ cup distilled vinegar
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup room temperature tahini + 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Juice and zest of 1 orange
- Juice of ½ lime
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons coconut aminos (or sub gluten free soy sauce)
- salt to taste (omit if using soy sauce)
- 3 cloves garlic, micro planed
- 2 inches ginger, grated
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 handfuls of greens of choice (spinach, mixed greens, kale etc)
- ¼ to ½ head of purple cabbage, shredded
- 4 to 5 carrots, shredded
- sugar snap peas
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- 4 to 6 fresh mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented
- 1 lime cut into wedges (optional)
- Mix all ingredients except the salmon and coconut oil in a dish that will easily fit all of the salmon, such as a 9x9 baking dish. Or in a ziplock bag. Add the salmon to the marinade, cover and refrigerate. Allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
- PICKLES ONIONS
- In a medium-sized jar or other heat-proof container with a lid, add the hot water, distilled vinegar, agave nectar, and salt. Close the lid and shake to combine well. Add the onion slices and submerge them in the liquid. Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. 30 minutes is best.
- While the salmon and pickled onions are resting make the dressing. To a small bowl whisk together all of the ingredients. If the tahini paste is too cold and is not mixing together well add a splash or two of hot water. Taste and adjust any flavors as needed. If the dressing is too thin add a tablespoon or two of tahini paste until you reach the right consistency. It should be thick but pour able. Set aside until the salad is ready.
- Get the veggies ready. Add the leafy greens to a serving bowl or to each individual bowl. Note: I used the slicing blade on my food processor to shred my cabbage and I used the shredding blade on my food processor to shred my carrots. You could also use a knife to thinly slice the cabbage and the large holes on a box grater to grate the carrots. Or you can buy them both pre-shredded at the grocery store.
- To the leafy greens add all of the veggies, mandarin orange segments, cilantro leaves, and lime wedges in a rainbow design, if desired.
- COOK THE SALMON
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt the 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Add the salmon to the pan along with 2 tablespoons of the marinade mixture. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until the salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. The cook time will depend on how thick your salmon is.
- FINISH ASSEMBLY
- Add the salmon to your salad and the pickled red onions. Drizzle the dressing over top and serve immediately. Squirt a lime wedge over the salad, if desired.
- If making ahead for meal prep or if you have leftovers. Store the veggies in an air tight container. Store the salmon, and the dressing separate. Allow the dressing to come to room temperature before eating, or stir in a splash of hot water to warm up and thin it out. Either heat the salmon gently in a microwave or eat it cold.
If you like a lot of dressing on your salad I would suggest doubling the salad dressing recipe, although it may be enough for some. I also recommend tossing your salad with the dressing right before you eat it, this helps to coat the dressing on all of the veggies so that you end up needing less of it.
You could swap the salmon for chicken breasts. follow the same instructions for marinating it. You will need to increase the cook time until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.