Salmon Salad

Gluten-FreeLow CarbPaleoPoached Salmon

Cool off with this easy Cold Salmon Salad! Gently poached salmon tossed with celery, red onions, capers, and dill makes a delightful meal for a warm, summer day.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Warmer Weather and Salmon Salad

Hot days are upon us! A great way to cool off is with this cold salmon salad. Properly prepared, salmon is one of those foods that tastes just as good cold as hot.

Of course, two most important things to remember when preparing any fish is:

  1.  use the freshest fish possible (or cook as soon as you defrost frozen fish)
  2. do not over-cook it!

While you can use leftover cooked salmon from a summer barbecue for this salmon salad recipe, it’s easy enough to poach salmon and you have better control as to how much it is cooked.

How to make Salmon Salad

Salmon Salad Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4

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



  • 1 lb 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 of lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled, finely sliced
  • 1 Tbsp of capers (strain out the pickling juice)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1 Salt 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 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.

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.

4 Combine with celery red onion mixture: Add the salmon to the bowl with the celery, onions, and capers and gently toss to combine.


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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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7 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Michael

    I made two slight modifications… extra olive oil (as I am an olive oil pig), and a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar. The latter put the deliciousness through the roof – try it! Yum.

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Melanie

    A thank-you is long overdue, Elise! This has been my “summer staple” since you posted it – I just can’t get enough!

    Over the years I’ve made just a couple changes – I thinly slice (like paper thin) a bit of English cucumber if I have it, and I also plop my red onion slices in a pot with boiling water and a decent amount of vinegar for just a few minutes – it cuts the bite of them a little AND they turn hot pink!

    Everyone I serve this to swoons over how tasty and pretty it is, and I have you to thank! So, THANKS!

    – Longtime lurker ;)

  3. Carolyn

    What’s the recipe for the dressing mixture?

    The dressing mixture is the celery, red onion, capers, lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh dill. ~Elise

  4. Mc Muffin

    Really easy to do and super delicious! Thank You for this one.

  5. claire

    This was wonderful. My husband asked if it could go into regular rotation. Thanks for sharing.

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