Weeknight Cooking

45 Super-Speedy Side Dishes for Salmon

All ready in 30 minutes or less.

June 26, 2019
Photo by James Ransom

Fatty, flavorful, and forgiving, salmon is a fish that can do it all—simultaneously tasting rich and indulgent, as well as nutritious and healthy. Whether it’s grilled, roasted, poached, smoked, or pan-fried, salmon is a delicious crowd-pleaser. But a solo filet of salmon is kind of sad. It needs grains or greens or silky noodles for some side dish support.

There’s really not much that salmon won’t go with. But the best side dishes not only support the main, but also won’t distract you with fussy, lengthy recipes. So go ahead and focus on your teriyaki marinade or herb-y rub.

Here are 45 easy-breezy side dishes for salmon that will be ready in half an hour (or less).

Eat Your Greens

1. Blackberry Farm's Zucchini Caesar Salad with Cheese Crisps

This Genius-approved Caesar salad is all about the dressing: a creamy, tangy number made with Dijon, fresh lemon juice and zest, sherry vinegar, and fresh herbs. The pièce de résistance—cheese crisps—are ready to go after a five-minute stint in the oven. All in all, this salad's ready to go in about 20 minutes.

2. Tahini Roasted Broccoli

Your oven does all the work in this four-ingredient tahini roasted broccoli that's ready in quite literally 10 minutes. The hardest part of this recipe: preheating the oven.

3. Grace Young's Stir-Fried Iceberg Lettuce

Another Genius favorite, this unexpectedly delicious salad asks you to do something with lettuce you might think sounds a bit strange: stir-fry it. But that flash of heat opens up the flavors in the sweet and tangy dressing, and makes sure each piece of lettuce is well coated.

4. Sautéed Zucchini With Mint, Basil & Walnuts

The reviews are in, and this no-fuss sautéed zucchini with herbs and crunchy walnuts is certified "delicious." A hearty dollop of ricotta and a basket of crusty bread only sweetens the deal.

5. Wilted Escarole with Feta, Walnuts & Honey

A quick sear in the pan mellows out escarole's naturally bitter flavor, while a drizzle of honey, salty feta, and toasty walnuts balance out the whole equation. Pro tip: If you can't find escarole, romaine makes a nice substitution.

6. Shaved Vegetable Salad with Apples & Lemony Tahini Dressing

A handful of simple shaved vegetables—beets, carrots, radishes, fennel, apple, and more—get dressed up in a bright lemony dressing with a hint of creamy tahini.

7. Sesame Peanut Cucumber Salad

Perfect for hot summer days, this refreshingly cool cucumber salad is light yet rich in flavor thanks to a dressing of garlic, ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and honey.

8. Lacinato Kale & Mint Salad With Spicy Peanut Dressing

The spicy peanut dressing featured here will taste great over almost any greens (or even noodles), but we like it best tossed with wholesome lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale) with chopped mint and walnuts.

9. Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Red Onion, Lemon & Pecorino

This salad is proof that Brussels sprouts don't have to be roasted to taste delicious. Closely shaved Brussels, thinly sliced red onions, zingy lemon, and a healthy amount of shaved Pecorino make the perfect complement to rich, fatty salmon.

10. Seaweed Salad with Kale & Cucumber

Fear not the seaweed—this sweet yet lightly tangy salad is mixed up with a bunch of other tasty ingredients to turn even the most picky eater into a believer.

11. Shaved Broccoli Stalk Salad with Soft Feta & Golden Raisins

Speaking of shaved vegetables, broccoli gets even tastier when it's stalks are shaved super thin and the florets are charred over quick, high heat. A little bit of crumbled feta and golden raisins, plus a fresh squeeze of lemon, make the whole salad a worthy side dish.

12. Zesty & Zippy Tangled Collards

Most collard greens recipes take quite a bit of time on the stovetop to get the right flavor and texture, but by shredding them thin they're ready in just a few minutes. According to recipe author and community member, hardlikearmour, "The outcome is a tangled pile of hearty, zesty, spicy greens that cooks up lickety-split."

13. Maricel E. Presilla's Cuban Avocado, Watercress & Pineapple Salad

This fresh avocado, watercress, and broiled (yes, broiled!) pineapple sweetness strikes just the right balances of sweet, creamy, and tart. Trust us, you won't want to it by the plateful, but rather the platter-ful.

14. Carrot Avocado Salad

Carrots and avocado make an unlikely—but excellent—duo in this half-roasted, half-raw salad. The key technique: roast some of the citrus before mixing it up with the sweet-tart dressing and sprinkling the crunchy sunflower and sesame seeds over top.

15. Radicchio Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts & Capers

This recipe from food blogger and cookbook author Melina Hammer hits all the right flavor and texture notes to create a salad that'll keep you coming back for seconds and thirds. According to Hammer, "The bitter crunch of the radicchio is nicely offset by the creamy crumbled egg and sweet toasted nuts, and further complemented by the zing of capers and dressing."

16. Okonomiyaki (Savory Japanese Cabbage Pancake)

This deliciously savory Japanese pancake has cabbage and green onions, so we'll count that as a salad in our book—just make sure you don't skip the bacon.

A Bonus Salad!

Going with the Grain

17. Shaved Asparagus & Kamut Grain Salad with Black Sesame Dressing

Light and totally tasty, the shaved summer asparagus in this salad work together wonderfully with the tender beets, chewy kamut (a type of ancient grain), and the deeply aromatic (and addictive) black sesame dressing.

18. Risi e Bisi

A classic Italian dish, risi e bisi simply translates to rice and peas. But as straightforward as the ingredients list may be, this hearty side dish is packed with flavor from onion, pancetta, fennel seed, butter, and grated Parmesan.

19. Jean-Georges's Ginger Fried Rice

This "world-brightening" fried rice from legendary chef, Jean-George Vongerichten, works best when you use leftover rice (it's a bit dried out, so it absorbs the sauce better), but fresh rice can work too so long as you pay attention to the tips at the bottom of the recipe.

20. Herb, Feta & Quinoa-Filled Frittata

In case you haven't heard, frittata's aren't just for breakfast. This herb, feta, and quinoa-filled version makes a solid side dish and is a great way to use up leftover grains or pantry items quickly.

21. Citrus Olive Couscous

The secret to this fluffy, citrus-scented couscous is almost two cups of fresh orange juice, which the couscous will boil in. Green marinated olives add a lovely tang and the optional lemon thyme leaves bright a fragrant touch.

22. Vegetarian Carrot Fried Brown Rice

Put any leftover roasted vegetables to use and mingle them with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin, eggs, and day-old rice for the ultimate fridge clean-out side dish (or even main).

23. Couscous, Fennel, Mint, & Roasted Lemon Salad

Every ingredient that you'll need for this impressively easy couscous salad is listed in the recipe title, save one: olive oil, which is just the finishing touch.

24. Okra Seed Couscous Salad

There actually isn't any couscous in this "couscous" salad. Rather, using a special method, you'll use okra seeds to make something that is similar in texture to couscous, but totally grain-free.

Noodle Around

25. Swiss Chard & Lemon Ricotta Pasta

This swirly, Swiss chard pasta makes a quick and easy dinner (or side dish) since you can do most of the require using a single pot of boiling water. If you don't have Swiss chard on hand, kale, spinach, and arugula also fit in nicely.

26. Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

This noodle salad has two of our favorite things: a sweet-tart, Vietnamese-inspired dressing and thin noodles mixed with crunchy raw vegetables.

27. Sautéed Spring Mushrooms, Chiles & Cilantro in Caramelized Coconut Broth

Not only will this flavorful noodle soup stop any cold right in its tracks, but it also makes the perfect side dish to a piece of buttery roasted salmon. "The combination of the rich sweetness of coconut milk, salty brine of fish sauce, and pucker of lime juice," recipe author Caroline Wright says, is better than anything you can order at a restaurant.

28. Lemon-Dill Orzo Pasta Salad With Cucumbers, Olives & Feta

The mild and subtle flavors of this lemon and dill-scented orzo pasta salad go great with a piece of grilled salmon, or even a roasted chicken with pan juices. And since it's served cold, you can happily make it ahead of time without sacrificing taste or texture.

29. Creamy Asparagus, Lemon, & Walnut Pasta

Make the most of seasonal asparagus with this creamy, lemony, easy-to-throw-together pasta—it's ready to hit your plate in 15 minutes, so really there's no excuse not to make it.

30. Dawn Perry's Soba Salad with Cucumbers, Soft Tofu & Quick Chile Oil

This tasty soba noodle salad is packed with tricks and tips (and a chile oil you'll want to drizzle over everything), the first being: salt your cucumbers to draw out their excess liquid and make them super crunchy.

Hot (and cold) Potato!

31. Josh Ozersky's 3-Minute Hash Browns

Inspired by the flawlessly crispy hash browns served at the Waffle House, this three-minute version is just as tasty and textural. Just make sure to follow Ozersky's technique to the letter—he knows what he's talking about.

32. Sweet Potato Waffles, Sweet or Savory

Whether you're feelin' something sweet or savory, these endlessly adaptable sweet potato waffles are for you. For dinnertime, we like serving them alongside something like flaky salmon—the fish's natural sweetness plays of the sweet potatoes nicely.

33. Creamy Vegan Avocado Potato Salad

If this community member's review is any indication—"I made this shortly after it was posted, it was so good!"—we'll be keeping this creamy, vegan potato salad all summer long.

34. Instant Potato Gnocchi

It turns out you don't need whole potatoes to whip up fresh-made gnocchi at home—just potato flakes. This clever technique produces gnocchi as fluffy as the classic, and goes perfectly with your favorite sauce.

35. Yes-We-Can-Have-Sweet Potatoes-for-Dinner Salad

According to this recipe's author, calling this super-riff-able salad a recipe might be saying too much. Because really, all it is is simply roasted sweet potatoes, your choice of salad greens, some feta, and a four-ingredient dressing.

36. Warm Vegetable Curry

This all-vegetable curry is warm, fragrant with spices like fennel seed, cumin, and cinnamon, and absurdly easy to make. The whole thing comes together in one large pan or pot, and is on the table in well under 30 minutes.

A Legume to stand on

37. Michel Richard's Glazed & Glistening Haricots Verts

These glazed and glistening haricots verts look beautiful on a plate next to a filet of rosy pink salmon. These simple green beans start with just butter, stock, garlic, and Parm, but once you've made them once, you can start to experiment with other spices and seasonings.

38. White Bean with Cucumber & Sumac Salad

This white bean and crunchy cucumber salad gets a bit of a lift thanks to fresh tangerines and citrus dressing, as well as a dash of sumac, which brings a delicious zing.

39. Vegan Kale & White Bean Korma

Korma is an Indian dish of meat or vegetables typically braised with yogurt or cream, stock, and spices. Here, you'll need sweet potatoes, creamy white beans, coconut milk, kale, and 10 minutes of active cooking time to make a hearty and healthy stew without a ton of work—or animal products.

40. White Bean Salad with Tarragon

Since white beans are clearly one of salmon's favorite sidekicks, we brought this salad with aromatic tarragon into the mix.

41. Spicy, Creamy Chickpeas & Spinach (Chana Saag-ish)

According to one of our favorite recipe developers Sarah Jampel, this spicy chickpea and spinach saag-ish is "incredibly flavorful without asking that you rummage through the spice cabinet." Best of all, it doesn't require a ton of time stewing over the stovetop.

42. Fresh Raw Pea, Asparagus & Fava Bean Salad with Herbs & Pecorino

If you can't find super-fresh produce at the farmers market, blanching your fava beans, peas, and asparagus will give you that snappy, crisp flavor. Aside from the veg, though, all you'll need is a bit of cheese, herbs, and olive oil.

43. Chopped Kitchen Sink Salad with Yogurt Dressing & Bottarga

This vegetable-packed, über-textural kitchen sink salad quickly turns into a hearty meal when you add a protein on top, like roasted or grilled salmon.

44. Green Bean "Casserole"

This green bean casserole-style dish (it's not baked) will fit right in at the holidays, but it also makes a lovely—and easy—side dish during any of the fall and winter months.

45. Roast Squash & Chickpea Salad with Orange-Tahini Dressing

This colorful, citrusy salad was inspired by two of editor Ali Slagle's favorite Genius salads, so basically, it's a Genius double-whammy.

Tell us your best salmon sides—or favorite way to eat the fish—in the comments below!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • marin
  • mike
  • John P. Messier
    John P. Messier
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


marin April 29, 2018
I have 12 and 13 year old girls who I'm trying to introduce to salmon. Any side dish ideas that dont sound straight out of Chopped? Tired of pretending EVERYONE eats at five-star restaurants...
mike February 14, 2019
Salmon alternatives for kids are roasted carrots in the oven with salt/pepper roasted at 425 degrees F until soft and golden color. Roasted sweet potatoes in the oven at 425 for an hour then top with butter when comes out of oven for a nice buttery sweet flavor. Or you can roast white potatoes in the oven pieces 425 tossed in salt and pepper and some oil. Roast until soft and golden brown color.
John P. June 28, 2019
My 13 yr. old recently started to love salmon when she tried mine that had been marinated in a teriyaki glaze. I think she loves the sweetness of the glaze but eats all of the fish, so that's a win in my book.