Pistachio Salmon Salad

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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.

A pistachio salmon salad served in a white bowl. The bowl contains a baked salmon filet, chickpeas, shredded carrots, quinoa, chopped dates, spinach, and spicy harissa dressing.

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.
A pistachio salmon salad is served in a white bowl with a fork.

Harissa Dressing

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.

Ingredients measured out to make Pistachio Salmon Salad with Spicy Harissa Dressing: pistachios, salmon, lemon, dijon, chickpeas, salt, pepper, water, garlic, harissa, dates, spinach, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, carrots and quinoa.

Ingredients Needed

  • 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.
Collage of four photos showing how to make pistachio salmon: brushing a dijon lemon mixture onto the salmon, topping with pistachios and then baking.

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.

A pistachio salmon salad served in a white bowl. The bowl contains a baked salmon filet, chickpeas, shredded carrots, quinoa, chopped dates, spinach, and spicy harissa dressing.

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

More Meal Sized Salads to Try

Be sure to check out my full collection of meal-sized salads as well as all the salmon recipes on EBF!

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

4.43 from 7 votes

Pistachio Salmon Salad

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.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients  

Pistachio Salmon

  • 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

Salad

  • 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

Harissa Dressing

  • 1-2 Tablespoons prepared harissa paste
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons water
  • ½ Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Instructions 

  • 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.
    Two baked salmon filets topped with chopped pistachios on a baking tray.
  • While salmon is cooking, make dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
    A womans hand using a whisk to whisk the spicy harissa dressing.
  • 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

Serving: 1 salad bowl | Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 790mg | Potassium: 870mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 17g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: pistachio salmon salad
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About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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20 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    It’s hard to find a recipe that both me and my husband love. I don’t usually like salmon, but this was so unbelievably good! The flavors were superb and it filled me right up in the best way. Quick to prepare too!

    1. I’m so glad you loved this recipe, Kori. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

    1. 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!

  2. 5 stars
    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?

    1. I’m so glad you’re loving this salad, Catherine! Thanks for bringing that to my attention, we’ll look into that!

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