How to Make Grilled Salmon Salad for an Easy Summer Dish

Need dinner on the table in a hurry? This grilled salmon salad is the healthy and delicious (not to mention quick) meal you're looking for.

When it comes to healthy proteins, salmon is at the top of the list. This nutritious powerhouse food is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids and is also a great source of vitamin B12. Add it to a bed of greens and you’ve got a simple-to-make grilled salmon salad that will please nearly any palate.

Choosing the Right Salmon

Not sure where to start when buying salmon? The two main options for purchasing salmon are farm-raised and wild-caught. We recommend wild-caught salmon (typically sourced from the Pacific Ocean) whenever possible. In addition to it being the more sustainable option, wild-caught salmon is more flavorful and is lower in fat and calories than farm-raised salmon.

There are several types of salmon; both sockeye and coho are great options for grilling. To help maintain tenderness, we recommend purchasing salmon with the skin still on. The skin will also help the fish to stay together while grilling. However, skinless fillets will also work in this recipe using the same grilling techniques you’d use for skin-on fillets.

When it comes to prepping and cooking the salmon, fresh (never frozen) is ideal; however, frozen salmon will work in a pinch. Just plan to double the time it takes to cook.

How to Make Grilled Salmon Salad

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  • 4 salmon fillets (4 ounces each)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 package (10 ounces) salad mix
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup salad dressing of your choice


Step 1: Prep the salmon

Rub salmon with garlic; place in a shallow bowl. Then add the teriyaki sauce; turn salmon to coat. Let stand 10 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: No teriyaki sauce? No problem. Try a brown sugar glaze instead. Even just a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper is a tasty option.

Step 2: Cook the salmon

Preheat your grill. (You’ll be using the direct heat cooking method for this recipe.) Place the salmon skin-side down on an oiled grill rack over medium-high heat. You should grill the fish, covered, until it just begins to flake easily with a fork, 4 to 6 minutes per side or 10 to 12 minutes on one side if you prefer not to flip.

Editor’s Tip: You will know the salmon is done when its interior temperature reaches 145°F. (Our Test Kitchen uses this instant-read thermometer.) When the salmon is done, the meat will be opaque and should flake easily with a fork.

To learn how to oil grill racks, check our complete guide to grilling salmon.

Step 3: Make the salad

Combine the greens, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. Toss salad mix with salad dressing; place on four plates. Top with salmon. To finish, sprinkle with your favorite healthy salad toppings. We love to use fresh fruits, like sliced strawberry or citrus wedges; dried fruit such as cranberries or golden raisins; or something that adds crunch, like toasted nuts, wonton strips or homemade croutons.

Tips for Making Grilled Salmon Salad

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What dressings should I use for salmon salad?

Top this grilled salmon salad with a creamy Caesar dressing or a vinaigrette made with fresh herbs. You can choose your favorite packaged dressing or make your own dressing at home.

How do you grill salmon without drying it out?

Choosing a thicker-cut fillet (ideally center cut fillets at least 1-inch thick) will help ensure the salmon cooks evenly and does not dry out during grilling. Covering the fish while cooking also helps to retain moisture. Try not to peek during the first 4 to 6 minutes of cooking to retain the heat.

Which side should I grill salmon on first?

You should grill the salmon skin-side down. The skin will crisp, allowing it to release easily from the grill. You only really need to flip the salmon while grilling if you would like grill marks on both sides of the fish. To achieve grill marks on both sides, flip the fillets after 4 to 6 minutes and grill for just a few additional minutes.

Susan Bronson
Susan Bronson is a writer and editor based in Northern Wisconsin.