what to serve with salmon

What To Serve With Salmon: The Best Side Dishes

Salmon is one of those foods that you can cook in many ways, making it super versatile. However, not everyone knows what to eat with salmon, and one wrong side dish can make a meal heavy or inedible. No matter how you prepare your salmon, it is always a good idea to know what to cook ahead of time.

Here we will show you the many side dishes for salmon you can prepare and serve alongside any time of day and for any meal!

What Is Salmon?

The term salmon refers to a variety of saltwater fatty fish. Most of these fish are native to Alaska, Norway, the Pacific Northwest, and California. One key fact about salmon is that they swim upstream into freshwater to reproduce.

Most people prefer salmon to other fish because of their soft texture and relatively neutral flavor. Salmon is also full of healthy fats, including omega 3, which is an essential fatty acid. Omega 3 is important for cognitive health, fighting inflammation, and aiding in reducing oxidative damage that could result in chronic illness.

There are differences in the type of salmon you can find out there, which can be farmed versus wild. Wild salmon is tastier and usually comes from the Pacific, whereas farmed salmon comes from the Atlantic and is cheaper. You can prepare your salmon by sauteing, frying, grilling, baking, and poaching, and sometimes, it can also be smoked.

Nutrition Facts

One cup (166 g) of salmon has the following nutritional content (*):

  • 211 calories
  • 34 g protein
  • 7.3 g fat
  • 0 g carbohydrate
  • 0 g fiber
  • 11.6 mg calcium
  • 0.631 mg iron
  • 44.8 mg magnesium
  • 433 mg phosphorus
  • 608 mg potassium
  • 124 mg sodium
  • 52.1 µg selenium
  • 58.1 µg vitamin A
  • 76.4 mg cholesterol

Salmon is low in calories while packing a ton of protein. This food is also a great source of many minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Your final product should be soft, flake easily with a fork, and slightly brown on the top.

What Goes With Salmon Anytime

Below are some options for sides for salmon that you can serve at any time!

#1. Lemon-Butter Asparagus

This side dish goes well with salmon because it adds crunch, saltiness, and citrus. You can add other vegetables too, such as mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions.

Ingredients:

  • A bunch of asparagus
  • 1 lemon, squeezed and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your lemon-butter asparagus:

  1. Bring about ¼ cup of water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a pot.
  2. Place the asparagus in the water and cook until tender for about 8 minutes. Drain well and allow to dry for a few seconds.
  3. Place butter and garlic in a saucepan and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the asparagus, cook for around 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.
  5. Serve warm with salmon on the side.

#2. Asian Slaw

Salmon is a great food to prepare with Asian flavors, so an Asian slaw completes the flavor and texture well. You can add more or less spice and crunch as needed.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • ½ cup julienne carrots
  • 3 tablespoons red onion l
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon peanut butter
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger

Follow these steps to prepare your Asian slaw:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, peanut butter, brown sugar, and minced ginger.
  2. Mix all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add your peanut butter and soy mixture onto the slaw.
  3. Toss your slaw well so that it absorbs all the flavor. Place covered in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
  4. Serve cold, with salmon on the side.

#3. Tomato Gnocchi

Because gnocchi is soft and chewy, it goes well with fish. In this case, the sweet and acid from the tomatoes also complement your salmon perfectly!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup heavy cream (for non-dairy used ½ can of unsweetened coconut milk)
  • 1 box of potato gnocchi
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your tomato gnocchi:

  1. Add the olive oil and garlic to a pan, cook for about 30 seconds or until the aroma is evident.
  2. Pour tomatoes onto the pan and add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Prepare your gnocchi in a pot according to box instructions in the meantime.
  4. Drain your gnocchi and add to the pan with tomatoes. Pour the heavy cream and mix everything well.
  5. Remove from heat and serve with salmon on top.
  6. Add some fresh basil on top if desired.

#4. Wild Rice Pilaf

Spinach is another great vegetable to serve with scallops, as it is buttery and smooth once sauteed. Pine nuts make for a great addition that adds crunch to your dish. You can serve salmon with this side perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½  teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups wild rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your sauteed spinach and pine nuts:

  1. Cook the rice first by placing it in a pot with 5 cups of water or broth and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, and allow to simmer for about one hour. Check that rice is tender. 
  2. Pour olive oil onto a medium skillet. Add the garlic and allow it to cook for about 30 seconds, then add your chopped onions.
  3. Cook your onions until they are soft. Then add the mix of olive oil and onions to the pot, add more salt and pepper if needed, and mix well.
  4. Serve warm with salmon on the side or top.

#5. Lemon and Mint Couscous

This side dish is a good idea at any time, especially when you want to make something quick and tasty. The citrus and mint also add more flavor that goes well with your salmon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your risotto with mushrooms:

  1. Add one cup of water to a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. In the meantime, mix the couscous with garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add the couscous to the pot. Cover, and let it sit for about 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Serve your couscous warm or cold, with the mint on top.

#6. Greek Salad

For a yummy dish that is super easy and fresh, this Greek salad recipe is a perfect choice. You can even add chickpeas for more protein!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped, pitted black olives
  • ½ cup cubed cucumber
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ tablespoon feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your arugula and citrus salad:

  1. Mix the olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Add the tomatoes, olives, cucumber, red onion, and feta to the bowl. Toss the salad carefully to mix the dressing with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Serve cold on the side.

Tip: you can add chickpeas for a more filling, protein-full salad.

#7. Oven Roasted Red Potatoes

Potatoes are a very versatile food, and they make for a fantastic addition to your salmon meal. You can prepare this recipe with red potatoes, or with any potato you want, including sweet potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • 1 ½  tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your fingerling potatoes with rosemary:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 430 degrees F.
  2. Wash your potatoes, and pat them dry.
  3. Line a baking tray with tin foil. Lay your potatoes on the baking tray and spread the butter over them.
  4. Sprinkle the potatoes with herbs, salt, garlic, and pepper.
  5. Bake your potatoes for 30 minutes, or until soft. Serve warm, and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top if desired.

How Can I Pick The Perfect Side Dish?

Knowing how to prepare salmon is essential before you decide what side dish to make. You should first be aware of any flavors that you will be using. Be sure to also account for any seasonings and extra ingredients.

If you decide to grill or bake your salmon, then your best bet will be crunchy. You can try serving grilled or baked salmon with the lemon-butter asparagus or the oven-roasted red potatoes. When you need more crunch, serve with the Asian slaw, and add crushed and chopped peanuts on top.

When you prepare your salmon by sauteing or poaching, you will want a more delicate side dish. The tomato gnocchi, wild rice pilaf, and Greek salad are all great choices. Consider adding a splash of lemon juice to your salmon as well.

Finally, if you are frying your salmon, you may want a side dish that is not too heavy. Consider serving the salmon with the wild rice pilaf or the Greek salad. You can also add chopped cilantro or mint to bring all the flavors together.

Conclusion

You are now an expert on all things salmon, which means your next dinner should be tasty. Prepare your salmon however works for you, and choose one or more of these side dishes. You can always modify these recipes to add more ingredients.

Up next: Can you refreeze salmon?

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