This honey-glazed poppy seed salmon salad with fresh cherries, quinoa, creamy goat cheese and pine nuts is super filling, delicious, and easy to make!
In college I was that one roommate who always cooked. I hated spending money on eating out for myself and I really enjoyed the feeling of being able to create a meal from just a few ingredients. That being said, I was not the best cook in college. I mean it was alright but it wasn’t anything super noteworthy… with the exception of this salmon! It’s morphed over the years but the basic concept remains the same. A simple, moist salmon with a hint of sweetness. This yummy salmon coupled with a salad dressing idea (which I skinnied down!) from a best girlfriend and voila – the entree-style honey-glazed poppy seed salmon salad was born!
Honey-Glazed Poppyseed Salmon Salad
My favorite protein is definitely seafood! I love salmon and it’s chalk-full of good-for-you nutrients. Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fats (ALA, DHA and EPA), protein, potassium, phosphorous, niacin and vitamin B-12 (1,2). Omega-3 fats are essential, meaning our body can’t produce them, and research shows they help reduce triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reduce risk of death, and cardiovascular disease and events. They may also be involved in reducing inflammation, reducing the tendency to develop blood clots related to atherosclerosis hardening of the arteries, and reducing symptoms of depression.
Wild-Caught vs Farm-Raised Salmon
Whether you buy farm-raised or wild-caught salmon is up to you. Omega-3 content is comparable in both types of salmon, and both are low in mercury, PCBs and other contaminants (3,4). Wild-caught salmon is substantially higher in vitamin D and potassium and marginally higher in niacin (1,2,5). Farm-raised salmon is higher in vitamin A (1,2). Wild-caught salmon is certainly more expensive and although it may offer some superior nutritional benefits, they’re both good options.Need more omega-3s? Try this #delicious #salmon #salad with quinoa and goat cheese! Click To Tweet
The Salad Base & Toppings
I have made several variations of this honey-glazed poppy seed salmon salad depending on what’s in season, although the spinach, dressing, and quinoa remain constant! The dressing is sweet and I make mine with a small amount of Truvia but you can use regular sugar if you prefer, although you’ll need to double the amount. The quinoa (which by the way is technically a seed not a grain) adds a nice texture and provides additional nutritional benefits like fiber, potassium, phosphorous and a little choline (6). Having lots of toppings on this spinach salad make it bulky and perfect to serve as an entree!
Now on to the rest of the toppings. Given it’s summertime and Washington cherries were on sale for $2.49 at my favorite grocery store you better believe I went for a cherry theme this time around! I added sliced cherries (use *this cherry pitter to make your life super easy), a creamy goat cheese and a couple large, white mushrooms. I also added some pine nuts for a little extra crunch. If you don’t have pine nuts, crushed pecans work great. Feel free to get creative with your own toppings!
Tips for Putting it All Together
Personally when I make this healthy salmon salad, I follow this order of operations:
- Start preheating the oven and put the marinade on the salmon.
- Once the oven is preheated, place the salmon in the oven and throw the quinoa on the stovetop so they’ll be ready about the same time. (If using microwaveable quinoa, start it just before the salmon is ready).
- Wash/chop fruits and veggies and prepare the salad dressing while the warm items are cooking.
- Toss everything together in a large bowl but the salmon, and gently place the salmon on top.
Of course if you prefer a different type of cheese, fruit, or veggie toppings you should go for that! Feta works really well in this healthy salmon salad as well. I like to prep my salad dressing in a *liquid measuring cup to make pouring onto the salad easier. If you don’t feel like making your own salad dressing, I LOVE this Raspberry Vinaigrette from Annie’s Naturals. Happy noshing!
As always, I hope you love this honey-glazed poppy seed salmon salad recipe! It’s one of my favorite healthy salmon salad recipes. Let me know what you’re craving next!
Disclosures: *We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. | This post was not created in partnership with any product or brand. All opinions are genuine.
Honey-Glazed Poppy Seed Salmon Salad
- 1 lb salmon
- 1/2 tsp canola oil (can use another type of oil if preferred, olive works well but has a slightly stronger flavor)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp poppy seeds
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 10 cherries, pitted and quartered
- 2 large white mushrooms, chopped
- 5 c raw spinach (~3/4 of a bag)
- 1 c cooked quinoa (1/2 c uncooked quinoa yields 1 c cooked)
- 2 Tbsp goat cheese
- 1 Tbsp pine nuts
- 1/4 c light mayonnaise (I like Hellman's)
- 2 tsp Truvia (or 4 tsp regular sugar; or other alternative sweetener to taste)
- 4 tsp red wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place salmon (skin down) on a baking sheet. For easier clean-up, you may place a piece of foil between the salmon and the baking sheet. Top salmon with canola oil and spread around with the back of a spoon. Top salmon with honey and spread with back of a spoon. Sprinkle salmon with poppy seeds. Set aside until oven is preheated. Place salmon in oven once oven is preheated.
- In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, add together mayonnaise, Truvia (or sugar or other sugar substitute), and red wine vinegar. Whisk together thoroughly. Set aside.
- Prepare cherries, mushrooms and quinoa while salmon is cooking.
- In a large bowl, toss together spinach, quinoa, goat cheese, pine nuts, cherries, mushrooms and salad dressing. Once salmon has reached an internal temperature of 145°F (about 15 minutes) and is no longer pink internally, remove from the oven and place on top of salad. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy immediately.