Smoky Chopped Sesame Ginger Salmon Salad
A smoky sesame ginger salmon salad loaded with crisp cucumbers, toasted sesame seeds, honey roasted almonds, and homemade ginger dressing that sweet and tangy! The perfect grilled summer salad!
Summering it up with this sesame ginger salmon salad!
This grilled salmon salad is unlike any you’ve had before! A smoky salmon filet flaked and served on top of a bed of grilled romaine with sweet and tangy sesame ginger dressing, crispy and cool cucumbers, crunchy almonds, and toasted sesame seeds.
It’s a light summer salad that’s protein-packed with salmon and almonds. The inspiration comes from a salad I’ve had tons of over the years. I threw the lettuce on the grill and salmon cooked on a cedar plank to give this a more distinct steakhouse-inspired taste. Grilled romaine truly gives this such a unique touch. Side note: have you ever had grilled romaine? I’ve used it in another salad with shrimp before, and we love it. It changes your entire perspective on romaine lettuce in a heartbeat! It’s smoky, crunchy and it brings so much to this recipe.
Umami-laden salmon, tangy ginger vinaigrette, honey-roasted almonds, charred romaine, and toasty sesame seeds all come together perfectly to make one amazing bite.
Ingredients to make sesame ginger salmon salad:
- Salmon: I like to use fresh salmon for this recipe. We marinate it in a few select seasonings before tossing it on the grill.
- Honey: there’s honey in the marinade for the salmon as well as the sesame ginger dressing
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce adds a deep umami flavor profile to the marinade and the dressing.
- Seasonings: You’ll need kosher salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to season the salmon filet.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: sesame oil goes in the dressing and the marinade. Sauteing the ginger and garlic in sesame oil before adding it to the dressing will help curb some of that hot ginger flavor.
- Fresh Ginger + Garlic: ginger is the heart and soul of the marinade for the salmon and the sesame ginger dressing. Grated garlic cloves help flavor the ginger dressing we use on this salad.
- Romaine: hearts are sliced lengthwise, drizzled with high heat oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper before charring them on the grill quickly! They cook within seconds.
- Cucumbers: I like to use English cucumber for this recipe. They add crunch to the salad and pair beautifully with the ginger in the dressing.
- Toppings: Honey-roasted almonds add a delicious sweet taste. I also sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds or black sesame seeds right at the end.
- Cedar Plank: We’ll cook the salmon on a cedar plank. I found mine near the fish section of the grocery store for under $3. You can also purchase a plank online here.
- Oil + Vinegar: high heat oil is drizzled on the romaine before tossing it on the grill. You’ll also need oil for the homemade dressing. Rice vinegar is used in the dressing we’ll make for the salad. The mild and sweet flavor will work beautifully with the smoky char of the romaine and the salmon.
How to make smoky sesame ginger salmon salad:
- Marinate the salmon. Add the honey, sesame oil, seasonings, fresh ginger, and soy sauce to a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the salmon filet and allow it to soak in the marinade for at least 30 minutes and ideally 2-3 hours if time permits. You’ll also want to soak your cedar plank for at least 30 minutes before cooking on it. However, if you marinate your salmon for longer, I usually like to let the cedar plank go for at least an hour! Fewer flareups that way!
- Prepare the dressing. Heat the remaining sesame oil in a skillet. When hot, you’ll add the ginger and garlic and cook it just long enough to get rid of that raw flavor. Add the sautéed ginger and garlic to a mason jar. Add the remaining ingredients for the dressing and shake the jar to combine.
- Grill. You’ll want to preheat and clean your grill. Drain the water from the cedar plank and place the salmon filet on top. When the grill is hot, place the plank on the grill and allow the salmon to cook until it reaches an internal temp of 145ºF. Remember, the salmon will continue to cook a bit further as it’s pulled off the grill. You’ll want to drizzle the romaine with high heat oil and season with salt and pepper and grill until you get light grill marks on them. I like to pull them off before they get too charred or too soft.
- Toss it all together. Remove the romaine from the stem, chop it up. Add it to a bowl. Top with cucumbers and toss with the dressing. Start with about ½ and add more as needed. Flake the salmon using two forks and add it to the bowl. I like to top with almonds and toast sesame right before serving.
FAQs about this salmon salad:
- What if I can’t grill on a cedar plank? You can broil the salmon in the oven as well. I provide full instructions in the note section of the recipe card!
- Can I use something other than almonds? You can swap them for lightly salted cashews or even peanuts!
- Is the dressing spicy with that much ginger? Not at all! We saute the ginger and garlic in sesame oil to cook off that raw spiciness. You’re left with a pleasant ginger flavor without that burning sensation on your tongue!
- Can I use different greens in the salad and do I have to grill them? You can use any greens that you like for this salad! Though grilling provides an amazing flavor to this salad, you can simply use greens from the fridge as well.
Other salmon recipes you might enjoy:
- Broiled Miso Ginger Salmon
- Crunchy Garlic Lemon Pepper Baked Salmon
- Creamy Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Salmon
Other salad recipes to try:
Salmon + Salad:
- 2 tablespoons EACH: honey AND low sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon EACH: kosher salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, AND red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 pound fresh salmon
- 3 hearts of romaine, cut in half lengthwise
- ¾ English cucumbers, chopped
- ½ cup honey-roasted almond, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for topping
- 1 cedar plank, optional (for grilling)
Sesame Ginger Dressing:
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- ¼ cup EACH: rice vinegar AND honey
- 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- ⅓ cup sunflower oil (avocado or grapeseed etc.)
- SALMON: Add everything from the ‘honey’ to the ‘sesame oil’ under the ‘salmon’ section to a shallow dish and whisk. Add salmon skin side down, flip, and let marinate flesh side down for at least 20 minutes. If time permits, 2-3 hours in the refrigerator works best. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Soak the cedar plank (if using) in a rimmed baking sheet filled with water while the salmon marinates.
- DRESSING: Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add to a mason jar. Add the remaining ingredients for the dressing and shake the jar to combine. Taste and add a pinch of salt if desired.
- GRILL: Preheat grill to 400ºF. Drizzle romaine lightly with oil and sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place it on the cedar plank. Place plank on the grill, cover, and cook for 12-18 minutes or until the salmon is done (reaches 145ºF on a meat thermometer.) Check on the salmon often; spritz any flareups with water. When 4 minutes remain, add the romaine halves to the grill and cook them for about 30-60 seconds on each side. Remove plank carefully with tongs to a baking sheet.
- ASSEMBLE: Remove the romaine from the stem and chop. Add to a large bowl along with the cucumbers. Toss with dressing, start with ½ and add more as needed. Flake the salmon using two forks and add it to the bowl. Top with chopped almonds and toasted sesame seeds!
- Salmon: You can also broil it in the oven. If you broil, I suggest making at least 3 filets from the salmon so that it cooks evenly. Broil for 7-12 minutes or until a minimum internal temper of 145ºF is reached.