This easy and healthy salmon quinoa salad recipe is made with canned salmon, quinoa, fresh vegetables, feta cheese, herbs, and a lemon shallot dressing. It’s a great lunch or dinner that can be prepped in advance or made for meal prep!
Even though it’s not even June, summer is in full swing in my kitchen! The weather has been beautiful — sunny and warm — here in Minneapolis, and I have enjoyed making summer-inspired meals.
With crunchy cucumbers and bell peppers and lots of fresh herbs, this salmon quinoa salad is a perfect recipe for warmer days. It’s delicious served cold and so easy to make in advance. I’m sure I’ll be making it on repeat for quick lunches and easy, no-cook dinners this whole season!
Not to mention, the recipe uses canned salmon. So, it’s REALLY easy, just like my Spinach Feta Salmon Burgers! No need to turn on the oven or deal with removing skin or bones from fresh salmon. You simply need to cook some quinoa, chop some veggies and herbs, make the dressing, and open a couple cans of salmon. Enjoy!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Quinoa: You can use any color of quinoa for this recipe. To save time, make it in advance or use microwaveable, frozen packets of quinoa. However, quinoa cooks quickly, so the recipe is still really easy if you make the quinoa at the same time as you prep the other ingredients.
- Canned salmon: I like to use Wild Planet sockeye salmon (skinless and boneless). You can use other kinds of canned salmon, but keep in mind that using one without skin and bones is easiest. Feel free to substitute cooked fresh salmon if that’s what you have.
- Cucumber and bell pepper: These are my veggies of choice for salmon quinoa salad, since they hold up well and add a good crunch. If desired, you can sub in or add other vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, celery, carrots, or zucchini.
- Mint and parsley: YUM. Fresh herbs really brighten up the dish. You can substitute basil, cilantro, tarragon, or dill if you don’t have parsley or mint.
- Feta cheese: I like to buy a block of feta and crumble it myself, but pre-crumbled works well too. You can omit the cheese if you don’t eat dairy, but you may need to add a little more salt to the dish. Goat cheese would work as a substitute but would contribute a different flavor.
- Lemon: If you don’t have fresh lemon juice for the dressing, sub red wine, apple cider, or white wine vinegar.
- Shallot: Swap in red or yellow onion if that’s what you have.
- Garlic: Omit or use a little garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic.
- Extra virgin olive oil: My favorite brand is Partanna.
The full recipe card for salmon quinoa salad is at the end of the post. Here’s a preview of the steps with process shots to guide you.
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. You can make the quinoa up to a few days in advance to save time.
Chop the pepper, cucumber, and herbs. At this time, you can also open the cans of salmon and drain the liquid.
Whisk together the ingredients for the shallot lemon dressing.
Combine the ingredients for the salad in a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over everything, and stir until coated.
I prefer to let salmon quinoa salad chill in the refrigerator for an hour before enjoying. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a Spaza bowl cover (or transfer it to an airtight container with a lid). Give it a good stir before eating. Alternatively, you can eat it immediately. Leftovers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days.
Salmon quinoa salad can be a main or side dish. Enjoy it on the side of my Grilled Vegetable Skewers with Halloumi, Yellow Tomato and Corn Gazpacho, or Creamy Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup. If you are making it ahead of time to bring to a potluck or summer party, you may want to add a little extra lemon juice before serving to freshen it up.
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Salmon Quinoa Salad
- Combine the dry quinoa with 2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed the water and is soft. Remove the quinoa from heat, let it stand uncovered for a few minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients. Chop the cucumber, bell pepper, and herbs. Open and drain the canned salmon. Crumble the feta.
- Prepare the dressing. In a mixing bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the diced shallot, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Combine the cooked quinoa, cucumber, bell pepper, parsley, mint, and crumbled feta in a mixing bowl. Add the drained salmon. Use a fork to flake it into pieces if needed. Stir.
- Whisk the dressing again before pouring it over the salad. Stir well until coated.
- Enjoy right away or after letting the salad chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- This dish can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days. If you want to freshen up the salad before serving, add a squeeze of lemon juice and stir well.
- You can sub cooked fresh salmon for canned if that’s what you have.
Enjoy this healthy meal! – Lizzie