Pistachio Salmon Salad
Published May 15, 2023
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This pistachio salmon salad has a Middle Eastern feel with baby spinach, quinoa, chickpeas, carrots, dates and a flavorful harissa dressing. It’s a delicious meal-sized salad that will fill you up without weighing you down. Gluten-free.
I know I say this constantly, but I think I’ve found my new favorite salad… pistachio salmon salad! Perfectly baked salmon with a pistachio crust, sweet dates, crunchy carrots, chickpeas and quinoa all with a spicy harissa dressing… what more could you ask for?
Seriously though, I feel like this salad is something you’d find on the menu at a nice restaurant. It’s THAT good! The variety of flavors and textures, plus the fact that it’s meal-sized and filling allows you to have it for dinner and feel 100% satisfied instead of deprived or hungry again in a couple hours.
Why You’ll Love This Salad
- It has a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern feel and a nice balance of sweet, savory and spicy.
- It has all the components of a good meal-sized salad… protein, smart carbs, healthy fats, lots of veggies and satisfaction factor!
- One salad is loaded with over 30 grams of protein!
- The harissa dressing is packed with flavor and definitely takes this salad to the next level.
- You can easily prep parts of this salad ahead of time for quick assembly.
- It comes together in under 30 minutes for a quick and easy meal.
If I do say so myself, the harissa dressing makes this salad! It’s jam-packed with flavor and pairs nicely with the salmon, dates and chickpeas.
If you’re unfamiliar with harissa, it’s a spicy chile paste that’s used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking. It’s typically made from a blend of hot peppers, garlic, olive oil and various spices like cumin, coriander and caraway seeds.
Harissa paste can range from mild to very spicy, depending on the peppers used, and is available in different varieties such as green harissa or rose harissa. You can typically find it in the international aisle at grocery stores. My favorite store-bought brand is the Mina mild harissa sauce or Mina spicy harissa sauce, but Trader Joe’s sells it as well. You could also get fancy and make homemade harissa.
- salmon filets – choose fresh, high-quality salmon for the best results. Both wild salmon and farmed salmon have benefits! While wild salmon might be considered the better choice, it is more expensive and farmed salmon is still a great option! Frozen salmon filets are also a good option if that’s what you have on hand.
- lemon juice – adds a touch of brightness to the salmon marinade.
- dijon mustard – enhances the flavor of the salmon and helps the pistachio crust adhere.
- garlic – a single clove, minced, adds a savory depth to the salmon.
- sea salt and ground pepper – essential seasonings.
- salted pistachios – finely chopped for a delightful, crunchy crust on the salmon.
- spinach – the base of the salad, providing nutrients and volume. Feel free to use your favorite variety of greens if you aren’t a spinach fan.
- quinoa – adds extra protein, flavor and healthy carbohydrates! Check out my full post on how to cook quinoa. Instead of quinoa, you can totally swap in another grain like farro or rice.
- chickpeas – another plant-based protein source that complements the salmon.
- carrots – a colorful addition that adds natural sweetness and crunch.
- chopped dates – a touch of natural sweetness to balance the flavors in the salad.
- fresh parsley – for a burst of freshness and pop of color.
- harissa dressing – harissa paste, apple cider vinegar, water, maple syrup, and dijon mustard come together to create the perfect dressing for this salad. You can use spicy or mild harissa paste for this dressing.
How to Make
Cook salmon: Preheat oven to 375°F. Place salmon filets skin side down on a baking sheet lined with foil. Mix the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Spread mixture over both pieces of salmon and top each with 1 Tablespoon of chopped pistachios. Bake salmon in preheated oven until the salmon is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
Make dressing: While salmon is cooking, make dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Assemble salads: Start with a spinach base and add half of the quinoa, chickpeas, shredded carrots and dates to each salad bowl or plate.
Serve: When salmon is cooked, remove from the oven and place one filet on each salad. Top each salad with fresh parsley and drizzle dressing on top.
How to Prep in Advance
This salad is super simple to throw together, but you can also prep it in advance for faster assembly! Here’s what I would prep in advance:
- Quinoa – you can cook your quinoa up to 3 days in advance and store it in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Dressing – so simple to whip this up in advance!
- Additional ingredients – chop your pistachios and medjool dates, rinse and drain your chickpeas and make sure your carrots are shredded. Then all you have to do is cook your salmon and assemble!
How to Store Leftovers
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I would store the dressing in a separate container as the salad will get soggier as it sits.
The salmon will last for up to 3 days, and the salad components and dressing can be stored for up to 5 days.
More Salmon Recipes to Try
- Blackened Salmon
- Mediterranean Salmon Salad
- Teriyaki Salmon
- Superfood Salmon Salad
- Grilled Salmon Salad
- Miso Broiled Salmon
- Maple Glazed Salmon
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Honey Lemon Garlic Salmon
- Salmon Salad
- Easy Salmon Meal Prep Bowl
More Meal Sized Salads to Try
- Blackened Chicken Cobb Salad
- Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad
- Ranch Pasta Salad
- Cheeseburger Salad
- Kale Caesar Salad
- BBQ Chicken Salad
- Blackened Tempeh Salad
Be sure to check out my full collection of meal-sized salads as well as all the salmon recipes on EBF!
Pistachio Salmon Salad
- 2 4-6 ounce salmon filets
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons salted pistachios, finely chopped
- 5 ounce container of spinach, or green of choice
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
- ½ cup cooked chickpeas
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- ¼ cup medjool dates, chopped
- fresh chopped parsley, for serving
- 1-2 Tablespoons prepared harissa paste
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoons water
- ½ Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place salmon filets skin side down on a baking sheet lined with foil. Mix the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper together in small bowl. Spread mixture over both pieces of salmon and top each with 1 Tablespoon of chopped pistachios. Bake salmon in preheated oven until the salmon is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
- While salmon is cooking, make dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Prep two salads. Start with a base of spinach and add half of the quinoa, chickpeas, shredded carrots and dates to each salad bowl or plate.
- When salmon is cooked, remove from the oven and place one filet on each salad. Top each salad with fresh parsley and drizzle harissa dressing on top.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Loved this salad. The combination of the spicy Harrisa and sweetness of the dates was 👌. I added cucumber to bulk out the salad. Can I just check the calorie count for this recipe – 704 calories seems quite high for one portion?
I’m so glad you’re loving this salad, Catherine! Thanks for bringing that to my attention, we’ll look into that!
What is harissa sauce? Where do you buy it?
Hi Kathy – Harissa paste is a paste made of red chilis and other spices. I typically get mine at Trader Joes but most grocery store chains have it as well! Enjoy!
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