Looking for a light, refreshing meal to bring into regular rotation? How about fish and a hearty salad? Simple Baked Salmon with Kale Salad just kinda hits the spot when you’re tired of winter meals.
Salmon tends to be the go-to because it’s pretty easy to find wild-caught frozen salmon year round. But if salmon isn’t your thing, you can still make this with your choice of protein — be it beef, chicken, pork, plant-based protein (tofu and tempeh), or other types of fish.
But forget about the salmon for a bit, because the real star here is the citrus. Winter is the season of citrus, so why not welcome it with open arms. So many different types of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons, limes, and more! It’s glorious and you can use every meal as an attempt to add more citrus into your day. This kale salad is full of yummy ingredients and drizzled with a bright and refreshing Blood Orange Mint Dressing.
You’ll feel so good after eating this! And it’s delicious. You’ll love the fresh crunch of raw cucumber and pepitas, and the pungency of the red onion. If you can find them, try blueberries too. There’s a whole lotta flavors going on — and then there’s the avocado! So creamy and decadent.
Simple food really is the best kind of food. It’s not fussy. It relies on excellent ingredients and easy, straight forward cooking. Salmon is so good seasoned with just a sprinkle of salt and fresh ground black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar, if that’s more your thing. That’s really all it needs here. And if you don’t feel like turning on the oven, you can certainly cook the salmon (or your protein of choice) on the stovetop.
As for the greens, you can pick your favorite leafy green as the base for the salad, whatever that is. Kale is what is used here. The peppery flavor of arugula, or mild spiciness of watercress would also go well with the sweet and tart flavors of the citrus and other ingredients. And you know what else? If it’s not salad to you unless there’s cheese in it, by all means add a sprinkle on top. A salty feta or creamy crumbled goat cheese would work really well here.
Now let’s talk about this dressing because it’s going to become one of your favorites. Fresh squeezed blood orange juice and mint are a perfect dressing combo. You can drizzle it all over the salad and the salmon. And on the quinoa too. Totally acceptable.
Because the blood orange juice is sweet and not very acidic, you’ll add a little lemon juice to balance things out. But because it’s not as tart as vinegar, it doesn’t need quite as much oil to tame it. So this is a little lighter than most dressings.
Simple Baked Salmon with Kale Salad
For Simple Baked Salmon:
Four (4- to 6-ounce) salmon fillets
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
For Kale Salad:
1 bunch kale (or 6 cups of your favorite salad greens), washed well and patted dry
1 cup fresh blueberries (can substitute another berry, or another fruit)
1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
For Blood Orange Mint Dressing:
1/4 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh mint, thinly sliced or minced
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a casserole dish or line a baking sheet with parchment. Place salmon in casserole dish or on pan.
In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and pepper. Drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon fillets. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Fish should flake easily with a fork.
While salmon is baking, prepare salad.
Tear or cut the kale leaves from the fibrous stems. Discard the stems. Stack the leaves on a cutting board and cut crosswise into very thin ribbons. Place in a large bowl. Add the blueberries, cucumber, avocado, red onion, and pepitas. Gently toss and set aside until ready to eat.
To prepare dressing, place all of the dressing ingredients in an 8-ounce jar with tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Chill until ready to use.
When salmon is finished baking, serve warm with kale salad on the side.
Other serving suggestions — serve with a side of quinoa, rice, baked sweet potato, or a steamed veggie.
Created for Design Mom by Lindsey Johnson.
15 thoughts on “Recipe: Simple Baked Salmon with Kale Salad”
I’ve seen so many salmon salad recipes over the last year and I still haven’t tried any of them… and I love salmon! That blood orange dressing sounds incredible, I’m definitely going to have to buy the ingredients to make this soon!
I never knew you lived in Greece as newlyweds! Is there a blog post about that somewhere?! Sounds like a great big adventure.
Good question! I’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t know if I’ve ever dedicated a whole blog post to it. I’m going to have search my archives and see if I can find a link. The short story: We moved to Greece while we were undergrads — I worked at Ogilvy & Mather in Athens, and Ben Blair did a research project in the Greek school system.
I had never had a blood orange until I moved to Sicily 2.5 years ago. Now they’re coming into season and I just bought 5 pounds of them today. I eat them like candy and I look forward to them all year long!
Yes! Totally like candy.
I definitely get those fresh-food cravings in January! I’ve been eating a lot of these apple oregano salads: http://cedarandbloom.com/2015/10/apple-oregano-salad-my-favorite-salad-dressing/
Also, I’ve been drinking a green smoothie almost every day: http://cedarandbloom.com/?s=Green+smoothie+
This salmon meal looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it!
Sounds delicious! I love fresh oregano! And I’m a HUGE fan of green smoothies. I drink one every day too – kinda can’t quit the habit. :)
I have not seen any blood oranges at the grocery store this year! I did find Cara Cara oranges though.
What kind of mint do you use? I always get confused since there are so many types of mint available at the garden shop. I grew peppermint and sweet mint last summer.
That’s a great question! I don’t have any in my garden right now, but typically I believe the kind I find at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s is spearmint. I have used almost every other type of mint before in some way (I had a friend who had a bunch of different varieties in her garden) and this should work with any of those, except maybe chocolate mint. :) Peppermint would be fine too.
I love Cara Cara oranges! And now that I’ve written that I have a craving for one but it’s summer where I live and they are not in season!!!!
This recipe looks like a winner! I already have salmon in the fridge! Can’t wait to make this! Thanks!
I need to get KALE in my life! I’ll do the smoothies, but actually putting it in meals, not so much. I’m always looking for ways to add a little health in my life :)
Yes, I always get a winter food overload! During January I start craving fruit and veggies, and am especially drawn towards fresh juice. Just this week I pulled out my juicer and made a carrot, apple, cucumber, ginger blend. This week I also had several green smoothies, meals made entirely of roasted sweet potatoes or steamed broccoli.
Made the salad yesterday, and it was wonderful!
Super helpful thank you!