Grilled Salmon Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing

4.72 from 277 votes
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Light, fresh, and healthy grilled salmon salad recipe. Crisp vegetables are tossed in a tangy lemon basil dressing and topped with flaky salmon.

Grilled salmon fillet on top of a greek salad.

Are you looking for a light, fresh, and healthy protein-packed meal? This Greek salmon salad is loaded with crisp, fresh vegetables and tossed in a tangy lemon basil dressing. For quick and easy preparation, grilling and making the dressing in a blender are real-time savers.

To minimize the cleanup, fire up your grill. The salmon recipe cooks in under 10 minutes! Add all dressing ingredients into the blender to create the fastest creamy dressing in under a minute. It’s a tasty Meditteranean-inspired dish for everyone strapped for time but still need a wholesome and satisfying meal.

Key ingredients

Salad ingredients with homemade lemon basil dressing.
  • Salmon: Choose your favorite type of salmon. I use sockeye salmon filets, about 4 ounces in size, for this recipe. If you prefer a more rich and soft texture, use Atlantic salmon. Wild salmon will be darker in hue and leaner. Cook with the skin on or off. It’s easy to remove after cooking or leave intact if you like a crispy texture.
  • Lettuce: A combination of different types of lettuce, like crisp romaine and tender spinach or kale adds nutrition to each bowl. When cutting romaine, slice it into 1/2-inch thick pieces.
  • Mix-ins: Juicy and sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy cucumber, bell peppers, red onions, tangy and creamy feta cheese, and chopped walnuts.
  • Dressing: A lemon basil dressing is made in a blender for a quick vinaigrette to add on top.

Grill the salmon

The salmon filets are seasoned with salt and pepper. A generous coating of olive oil adds a fruit flavor and prevents the pieces from sticking to the grill. I always ensure the grill is cleaned, pre-heated over medium-high heat, and oiled before adding fish. Place the fish on a 45-degree angle to the grates to achieve beautifully striped sear marks.

Don’t move the fish at all until ready to flip! The seared salmon will naturally release and easily lift off when given enough time to cook on the grill, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Feel free to use tongs or a spatula to lift one side to check, but be careful as the fish is delicate.

Make the salad

Here are my rules for building the ultimate salad; use ingredients that are crunchy, creamy, savory, tangy, and a hint of sweet. If you have these five elements, your salad combinations will be a hit!

For the crunch, I like a mixture of salad greens. I’ve got chopped romaine, kale, and spinach in this recipe. Cucumbers, red bell peppers, and red onions add even more crisp textures. The ripe baby tomatoes add a natural burst of sweetness, plus a little bit of honey in the dressing. The creaminess from the feta and walnuts contrasts the crunch nicely. The cheese also adds a savory and tangy fermented note.

Make the dressing

Grab a blender for a quick and easy salmon salad dressing. To make the lemon basil dressing, process the lemon juice, zest, mustard, honey, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs like basil and oregano. The lemon juice from the dressing adds just the right amount of acidity to brighten and bring all of the elements in the salad together.

Drizzle in the olive oil while blending; it’s packed with healthy fats that provide richness and thickness to the vinaigrette. It’s one of my favorite dairy-free dressings! You can also make the dressing recipe by hand by chopping up the herbs and whisking everything together in a medium bowl.

Serving the salad

Drizzle the lemon basil dressing over the salad ingredients in a large bowl. If you’d like, toss them together to coat them evenly. Serve the salad with salmon on top in individual bowls. I always like adding some extra cheese and dressing.

This is a great entree salad for meal prep. You can portion the dressing and pour it on top right before eating. The salmon tastes delicious cold too! I often serve the cooked salmon in a lettuce wrap for a quick low-carb meal.

Bowl of greek salad with a grilled piece of salmon on top.

Flavor variations

This grilled salmon salad recipe is easy to customize. Try these delicious flavor variations:

Serving suggestions

Salmon fillet placed on a bed of lettuce and tomatoes.

How to tell when salmon is done grilling

Grill the salmon fillets uncovered and flip them when it’s about 70% cooked, then finish cooking the other side. The fish is ready when the flesh easily flakes apart with a fork, don’t overcook! Cook to about a medium-rare to medium doneness, between 130 to 140°F (54 to 60ºC).

Grilled Salmon Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing

I absolutely love making grilled salmon salad because it's a healthy and delicious way to get in my daily dose of protein and veggies. Plus, the combination of the warm grilled salmon with cool, crisp greens and vegetables creates a perfect balance of textures and flavors.
4.72 from 277 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine Greek

Ingredients 
 

Salmon Salad

  • 1 pound salmon fillets, 4 pieces
  • kosher salt, as needed
  • black pepper, as needed
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 8 cups lettuce, romaine, spinach or kale
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced, ¼" thick
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced, ¼" thick
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 8 basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, or 1 teaspoon fresh
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil

Instructions 

  • Season the Salmon – Lightly season both sides of the salmon fillet with salt and pepper. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on both sides to coat.
  • Grill the Salmon – Heat a barbecue or grill pan to medium-high. Add a small amount of vegetable oil on a folded piece of paper towel, and then carefully grease the grill grates. Once the grill is nice and hot, add the salmon fillets. Cook uncovered for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until flaky, about 130 to 140°F (54 to 60ºC).
  • Transfer the Salmon – Remove the salmon from the grill and transfer to a clean plate. Cover to keep warm. Remove the skin if still attached.
  • Make the Salad – In a large bowl, add the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, bell pepper, cheese, and walnuts. Set aside.
  • Make the Salad Dressing – In a blender, add the lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, honey, garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. With the blender running on low speed, slowly add in the olive oil, processing until lightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  • To Serve – Toss the salad with enough dressing to coat the ingredients. There will be extra dressing to serve on the side. Evenly divide the mixture among four bowls and top with 1 salmon fillet. Drizzle each salmon with more dressing if desired.

Notes

  • Making the Dressing by Hand: Finely chop the basil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, honey, garlic, chopped basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 473kcal (24%)Carbohydrates 13g (4%)Protein 32g (64%)Fat 35g (54%)Saturated Fat 7g (35%)Polyunsaturated Fat 7gMonounsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 74mg (25%)Sodium 566mg (24%)Potassium 493mg (14%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 5g (6%)Vitamin A 6300IU (126%)Vitamin C 68.5mg (83%)Calcium 150mg (15%)Iron 2.2mg (12%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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69 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. P B says

    I’ve made this recipe multiple times and it is always so delicious. The basil dressing is so good, can be put on any salad!

  2. Michelle says

    Hi from Chicago!
    We had some tomatoes, red onion and cucumber to use up from a Greek salad we made recently. I did a quick search of my Pinterest boards and I stumbled upon your recipe. It’s finally grilling season in the Windy City, so this was perfect for a simple weeknight meal! We used all three greens in our salads and added some fresh chopped basil, too. The dressing was a bit bitter on its own, maybe because we used sugar-free honey (?). We added a touch more sweet to it, and when added to the rest of the salad components, it was perfect! Using Coho salmon made our salads extra special. We like it for its buttery, flaky texture. Excellent recipe!!!

  3. Elaine Sherard says

    We eat a lot of salads with protein. This was delicious! Especially the dressing and addition of the walnuts. Give this one a try!

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