Salmon Mac and Cheese Bowls

Upgrade your typical mac and cheese with these salmon mac and cheese bowls. They are perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner and something that the whole family will love!

Mac and cheese will forever be one of my favorite meals. I do have an upgraded healthy mac and cheese and a vegan mac and cheese recipe on the blog, but whenever I’m craving a bowl of mac and cheese (and don’t have a ton of time on hand for a fancy pasta dish) these salmon mac and cheese bowls are my go-to!

Isaac and I found the idea for this recipe on Self.com and have been making a version of it almost every month since. It just such a cozy and comforting meal that requires minimal prep work, ingredients and time so it’s quickly become a house favorite.

An overhead photo of a bowl with macaroni and cheese, kale and a filet of salmon. Lemon slices top the salmon filet.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s the perfect recipe for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. From start to finish this recipe comes together in under 15 minutes!
  • This recipe is loaded with flavor and packed full of protein thanks to the addition of salmon.
  • It requires minimal ingredients. All you need is your favorite box of mac and cheese, salmon, kale, a little oil and salt + pepper… that’s it!
  • It’s the perfect family-friendly dinner. Even if your kiddos won’t eat the salmon, try to sneak in some kale for added veggies!
Ingredients to make salmon mac and cheese kale bowl measured out: salmon, boxed mac and cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper, kale and lemon.

Ingredients Needed

  • salmon filets – you’ll want two 6 ounce evenly sized filets of salmon with the skin on. I recommend getting individual filets from your grocer but don’t be afraid of frozen filets, either! Flash frozen fish can be just as healthy. Just make sure the salmon is thawed if you are using frozen filets.
  • macaroni and cheese – use your favorite box of macaroni and cheese here. My go-to’s are the Banza gluten-free chickpea mac and cheese and Annie’s classic mac and cheese.
  • lacinato kale – you can use any type of kale or leafy green, but I prefer to use lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale, black kale or tuscan kale. This type of kale is a very dark green and more tender than curly kale. It’s great for uncooked or lightly cooked dishes. 
  • olive oil – you need 1 Tablespoon divided, to rub on the salmon and sauté your kale in. Alternatively, you can use unsalted butter instead of oil for your salmon.
  • sea salt and black pepper – to bring the flavors of the dish together. 
  • lemon – a slice of lemon for serving elevates this simple salmon dish.
Collage of four images: pot of prepared boxed mac and cheese, two filets of cooked salmon on a baking dish, skillet of cooked kale, and finally a photo of a salmon, mac and cheese kale bowl topped with lemon slices.

How to Make Salmon Mac & Cheese Kale Bowls

These salmon mac and cheese kale bowls require just 4 simple steps and come together in about 15 minutes! Easy peasy! Here’s how to make them:

Make mac and cheese: Boil water in a large pot and follow instructions on package for making the mac and cheese.

Bake salmon: While the pasta cooks, coat each salmon filet with with 1 teaspoon olive oil and liberally season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 475°F. Bake salmon for 5-6 minutes. You may need to cook longer, depending on the size of your salmon filets. Turn oven to broil and broil for 1 additional minute, just to get the outside a little crisp and for the salmon to turn golden brown. Another option is to use my air fryer salmon recipe to cook the salmon. It’s so good!

Sauté kale: While salmon is baking, heat 1-2 teaspoons oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chopped kale and sauté for 5 minutes or until kale is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve: Remove salmon from the oven and serve. Grab two shallow bowls and plate salmon with fresh lemon slices on top with sautéed kale and a portion of mac and cheese on the side.

A bowl with macaroni and cheese, kale and a filet of salmon. Lemon slices top the salmon filet.

Substitutions

The great thing about this recipe is that you can customize it to your liking! Here are some suggestions for variations and substitutions:

  • Switch up the greens – if you’re not a kale fan or don’t have any on hand, feel free to use your favorite leafy green instead. Spinach would be my second option of greens for this bowl.
  • Switch up the protein – don’t love the salmon + mac and cheese combo? Swap the salmon for another protein like chicken, tuna, tempeh or tofu. Even cooked chickpeas would probably be delicious!
  • Make this vegetarian or vegan – simply swap the salmon with chickpeas, tofu or tempeh (this maple balsamic tempeh would be delicious) and use a vegan mac and cheese! This Annie’s vegan mac and cheese looks like a good option.
An overhead photo of a bowl with macaroni and cheese, kale and a filet of salmon. Lemon slices top the salmon filet and a fork is breaking up the salmon filet.

Can You Eat Salmon Skin?

You sure can! The skin contains the same nutrients found in salmon. Just make sure you’re eating high-quality fish from a reliable source if you choose to eat the skin. Of course, it’s a personal preference and you can just slide the flesh off before eating as well!

How to Store Leftovers

We usually never have leftovers but if you do they should be fine in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. I would recommend storing the mac and cheese and kale and salmon separately.

Reheat everything together on a stovetop or in the microwave.

More Salmon Recipes You’ll Love

Be sure to check out all of the popular salmon recipes here on EBF!

Salmon Mac and Cheese Bowls with Kale

5 from 2 votes
Upgrade your typical mac and cheese with these salmon mac and cheese kale bowls. They are perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner and something that the whole family will love!
An overhead photo of a bowl with macaroni and cheese, kale and a filet of salmon. Lemon slices top the salmon filet.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 2 6 oz salmon filets
  • 1 box your favorite macaroni and cheese pasta, I like Annie’s or Banza
  • 1 bunch dinosaur, Lacinato kale, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • sea salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • lemon slices, for serving

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 475°F.
  • Follow the package directions for making the mac and cheese.
    Boxed macaroni and cheese prepared in a sauce pot. A wooden spoon rests in the bowl.
  • Meanwhile coat each salmon filet with with a little olive oil (about 1/2 teaspoon per filet) and liberally season with salt and pepper. Add salmon to baking dish and bake for 5-6 minutes. You may need to cook longer, depending on the size of your salmon filets. Turn broiler on and broil for 1 additional minute, just to give the outside a little crisp and for the salmon to turn golden brown.
    Baked salmon filets in a baking dish.
  • While salmon is baking, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped kale and sauté for 5 minutes or until kale is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Sautéed kale in a sauté pan.
  • Remove salmon from the oven and serve. Grab two shallow bowls. Add salmon with fresh lemon slices on top, sautéed kale and a portion of mac and cheese. Enjoy warm.
    Macaroni and cheese, salmon and kale added to a bowl.

Notes

  • Recipe inspired and adapted from this article on Self.com.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 salmon filet w/ kale and mac and cheese Calories: 650kcal Carbohydrates: 46g Protein: 66g Fat: 24g Saturated Fat: 4.5g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 16mg Sodium: 1139mg Potassium: 912mg Fiber: 8g Sugar: 6g
Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: salmon mac and cheese bowls

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    3 comments
    1. helene
      February 20, 2022 AT 3:04 am

      5 stars
      excellent post thank you for sharing

    2. Savannah bon
      February 17, 2022 AT 4:23 am

      I’ll try it! Right now I’m on dieting 😀

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 17, 2022 AT 9:35 am

        Let me know how it turns out for you when you try it, Savannah!

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