Fresh Salmon Salad

Cool off with this easy Salmon Salad! Poached salmon is gently tossed with celery, red onions, capers, and dill and is perfect for a brunch or light lunch.

Salmon Salad
Elise Bauer

Are you a salmon lover?

Here is a salmon salad using freshly poached salmon that is restaurant-worthy. It's light, cool, and wonderfully flavored with dill, capers, and lemon. Perfect for a brunch or light lunch!

How to Make Salmon Salad

To make this salmon salad, we first salt the fillets and chill them. This gives time for the salt to penetrate the fillets a bit and give them more flavor.

Then we lightly poach the salmon fillets for just a few minutes in salted water with a slice of lemon.

Next we toss the cooled, poached salmon with celery, red onion, capers, fresh dill, and extra virgin olive oil, along with lemon juice and zest.

Poach the Salmon for the Best Results

While you could use leftover cooked salmon from a summer barbecue for this salmon salad recipe, it's easy enough to poach it. Poaching allows you to have more control over how long to cook the salmon.

You want to cook the salmon just enough to be barely cooked through. That way it will be tender. Over-cooked salmon is dry and tough.

Salmon Salad
Elise Bauer

Tips for the Best Salmon Salad

  1. Freshness is everything. Use the freshest fish possible (or cook it as soon as you defrost frozen fish). Fresh fish degrades in quality every day after its caught. So cook the fish the day you buy it.
  2. Use quality salmon. Wild salmon tastes better than farmed salmon. That said, farmed salmon (properly farmed) can be a sustainable, and more budget-friendly option. Check the Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch for the best salmon to buy, or buy from reputable sources.
  3. Do not overcook it! Fish is best when it is just barely cooked through. Past that, it starts to get dry.
  4. Eat it up. This salad will last a day or two in the fridge but is best eaten the day it's made.

Love Salmon? Here Are 5 More Ways to Enjoy It:

Fresh Salmon Salad

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 9 mins
Chilling time 30 mins
Total Time 54 mins
Servings 4 servings

Salt and chill the salmon fillet first, before prepping the other ingredients.


For the salmon:

  • 1 pound salmon fillet, cut in half

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, for the rub

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, for the poaching liquid

  • 1 slice lemon

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:

  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped

  • 1/2 red onion, peeled, finely sliced

  • 1 tablespoon capers, strain out the pickling juice

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prep the salmon fillets:

    Rub the salmon fillets all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator while you prep the other ingredients.

  2. Make the dressing:

    Combine celery, red onion, capers, lemon zest and juice, dill, olive oil, black pepper in a large bowl. Set aside for the flavors to blend.

  3. Poach the salmon:

    Put 4 cups water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and a slice of lemon in a pot wide enough to hold the salmon. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the salmon to the pot. Return to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes at a bare simmer.

  4. Cool and break up the salmon:

    When the salmon is just cooked through, remove it from poaching liquid and put it in a bowl. Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Once it has cooled to touch, break the salmon gently into chunks.

  5. Make the salad:

    Add the salmon to the bowl with the celery, onions, and capers. Gently toss to combine. Serve as is, or over mixed greens or butter lettuce.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
285 Calories
19g Fat
3g Carbs
26g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 285
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 71mg 24%
Sodium 1206mg 52%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 9mg 46%
Calcium 40mg 3%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 528mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.