This hearty salmon kale salad recipe is sure to become your new go-to kale salad. The kale is tender and sweet, due to being lightly steamed and doesn't have the bitter or tough characteristics that kale salads can sometimes have. The richly colored sockeye salmon is a wonderful complement to the earthy flavors in the salad, making for the perfect filling lunch.
Lacinato or black kale is the ideal choice for this salad, due to its tender texture and ruffly texture to catch a maximum amount of dressing and flavor. Curly kale or baby kale could be used in its place, however.
Kamut is an ancient grain similar to wheat and has been gaining popularity in recent years. It has a toothsome texture and nutty flavor that stands up well to the hearty kale and lemon vinaigrette dressing. It can take about 45 minutes to cook thoroughly. Make sure to cook the kamut according to package directions, as some are sold par-cooked and dried, which makes it cook significantly quicker than the raw grain. Kamut should be found in your local grocery store, but if you are having trouble finding it, another hearty grain such as farro, spelt, or wheat berries could be used instead.
Additional ingredients can be added to this salad to appeal to your taste. Thinly sliced red onion, creamy avocado, or thin ribbons of carrot would all be great options.
Reasons to love this recipe
It is incredibly nutritious. This salad is packed full of nutritious ingredients including the wild salmon full of omega-3 fatty acids, the kale full of vitamins K, A, and C, and the whole grain kamut, containing fiber, zinc, selenium, manganese, and B vitamins.
It can be made ahead of time. The kale and kamut both have a sturdy texture that allows them to hold up well to the dressing without becoming soggy. This is an ideal salad to make ahead of time, which makes it the perfect quick lunch for busy weekdays. It can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2-3 days, just consider adding the radishes and pumpkin seeds right before serving as they can get a little soggy.
It doesn't require any special equipment. Only kitchen basics are needed to make this recipe; you probably already have them in your kitchen.
It showcases seasonal ingredients. Kale, radishes, and parsley are all available in the early spring in most climates, perhaps even in your own garden! Consider checking your local farmer's market to get the freshest ingredients.
Sharp knife: A sharp chef’s knife is needed to easily cut the salmon fillet into portioned pieces, making them easy to sear.
Large cast iron skillet: A large 12-inch skillet is needed to sear the whole batch of salmon at once. Cast iron is the ideal choice for searing due to its high heat retention.
Fish spatula: A fish spatula with a thin flexible edge helps flip the salmon easily without tearing the skin.
Whisk: A whisk is used to mix the dressing. If you don't have one, place all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously.
Kamut: Kamut is an ancient grain related to wheat with a hearty chewy texture and nutty flavor. It stands up well to the texture of the kale and acidic salad dressing.
Wild sockeye salmon: Wild salmon is packed full of healthy fats and flavor. Pan-searing creates a crispy crust and adds to the flavor of the dish. Whole fillets can be used and you can cut them into portions yourself, or to skip that step use pre-portioned salmon.
Extra virgin olive oil: Olive oil is used to sear the salmon and as the base of the vinaigrette. Because it is being used for a dressing, be sure to use the good stuff.
Garlic: Garlic is used in two ways in this recipe and adds an earthy umami flavor. it is cooked into the kamut and whisked raw into the dressing.
Lacinato kale: Lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale, or black kale, is the ideal choice for this recipe, due to its tender texture.
Feta cheese: Feta adds a salty and briny flavor to the salad.
Radishes: Sliced radishes add a touch of spring to the recipe and a crunchy fresh texture.
Toasted pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds add some crunch and an earthy flavor to the salad.
Parsley: Parsley leaves are added whole to the salad for a fresh herby bite.
Fresh lemon juice: Fresh lemons are used to make the vinaigrette and pack a punch of flavor. You will need about 2 lemons for this recipe.
Whole-grain mustard: Mustard helps to emulsify the dressing, and adds a subtle spicy flavor.
Honey: Honey doesn't make the dressing sweet, but helps balance the dressing flavors.
Cumin: Cumin adds a subtle earthy flavor to the dressing.
[[ recipeID=recipe-8lfsdbwmy, title=Salmon and Kale Salad with Kamut and Cumin Vinaigrette ]]
Marisa Kerkvliet of Lemon Thyme Kitchen is a freelance recipe developer and food photographer with a Master’s degree in Nutrition. She was raised on her family’s farm in Northwest Washington and her appreciation for good food developed at a very early age. She is passionate about creating recipes and beautiful imagery that highlight high-quality seasonal ingredients. Marisa loves all types of seafood, but her favorites are salmon and scallops!