Blackened Salmon Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

By Tessa Arias
July 26th, 2013

This light, fresh, and colorful salad is bursting with fantastic flavor and texture. This is a salad you'd actually want to eat!

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The flavorful spice rub on the salmon is cooled down by the tangy and ultra fresh avocado ranch dressing and the salad veggies.
Texture: The salmon has a slightly crisp crust on the outside but is ridiculously tender and flaky inside while the dressing is lusciously thick and rich and the salad is bursting with freshness.
Ease: Very easy! You can make the dressing a few hours ahead of time, too, if necessary. Just make sure to really press the plastic wrap against the surface of the dressing to prevent the avocado from browning.
Appearance: Doesn’t this just look so wonderfully healthy and summery and light??
Pros: Full of flavor and texture. This is a salad you’d actually want to eat and feel satisfied from after.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? 100% yes.

This light, fresh, and colorful salad is bursting with fantastic flavor and texture. This is a salad you’d actually want to eat!
Blackened Salmon Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing - tasty AND healthy!

Don’t you just love how bright and fresh this salmon salad is? It’s absolutely perfect for summer. And speaking of summer, I wanted to update you on my summer reading.

The last I mentioned I was about to start reading Looking for Alaska by John Green because I loved his other book, The Fault in Our Stars, so much. I’m sad to report I did not love Looking for Alaska nearly as much. In fact, I found the plot and characterizations to be extremely shallow. I mean, I was a teenager pretty recently and I don’t remember being THAT pathetically obsessed with one person, one kiss, labyrinths, or smoking cigarettes. It was all sort of cliche and I wasn’t able to draw much of a connection with any of the characters throughout the novel. There are many “young adult” genre books that I have enjoyed reading but this one just seemed a bit too superficial. I found none of the “philosophical” realizations in the book to be particularly insightful or resonating and I even observed sexism in the construction of the character of Alaska. Green relied on giving Alaska smart quotes to recite and good grades to boast instead of intelligent dialogue. Her character felt forced to me. Then he makes her out to be a sexually aggressive and promiscuous “bitch” who is prone to unexplainable and stereotypically feminine mood swings. The whole book just left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority with my views, though, because most people seem to love this book.

Now I’m on the search for my next book to read! In the meantime I’ll eat my salmon salad.

How to make
Blackened Salmon Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
This light, fresh, and colorful salad is bursting with fantastic flavor and texture. This is a salad you'd actually want to eat!



  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil


  • 1/2 avocado, skin removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup low fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • 8 cups salad greens
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced


For the salmon:

  1. In a small bowl combine all the ingredients except the salmon. Coat the salmon fillets evenly on both sides with the spice mixture, pressing the mixture in so it sticks.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy preferably nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the salmon and cook until blackened on one side, about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the fillets and continue cooking until the other side is blackened and the salmon is tender, flaky, but not overcooked, about another 4 minutes.

For the dressing:

  1. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the dressing and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble:

  1. In a large bowl combine the salad greens, tomatoes, and cucumber. Divide the mixture among four serving bowls and top each with a salmon fillet. Drizzle with dressing. Serve.

Recipe Notes

For best results, use wild-caught Copper River Alaskan salmon or other high quality salmon.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    MaryAnn — October 4, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I found this post on Pinterest while looking for salmon salad recipes but I’m commenting on your Looking For Alaska review. I respect the fact that that you didn’t dig LFA but I will say your comments about Alaska having ” unexplainable and stereotypical mood swings” are missing the point. Alaska is a severely depressed and emotionally disturbed young woman. While she is bitchy and sexually aggressive, it’s not because she is “stereotypically female” it’s because she is depressed and blames herself for her mothers death. If you didn’t like the book, thats cool. I just wanted to point out that Mr. Green isn’t being mysoginistic, he’s fairly accurately describing someone who is suffering from depression.

    • #
      Tessa — October 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Hi MaryAnn, thanks for your comments. I’d like to point out that no one ever reads the same book – we all interpret writing differently. It’s been well over a year since I read the book but my impression of Green’s treatment of most all of the female characters reflected many gender stereotypes and unfavorably slanted perceptions. Most of the female characters are simply objects of sexual fantasy. The treatment of Lara is perhaps the worst, demonstrating to the young women reading that nice girls must submit to the sexual desire of boys to be considered attractive. And even then they are likely to be still treated without much respect. I understand that we are seeing the world and female characters through Mile’s eyes, but overall I felt it didn’t really bolster women in any way and would be wary of the impressions given to all the young women who are in love with this book.

  2. #
    Mimi — July 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    ohmygosh, this looks delicious! i love salmon! 😀

    <3, Mimi

  3. #
    Carolyn — July 27, 2013 at 3:23 am

    This looks fantastic, Tessa! I am pinning it with the full intention of making it in the next few weeks. I don’t say that lightly 😉

    • #
      Tessa — July 27, 2013 at 8:30 am

      Thank you Carolyn! Hope you like it 🙂 🙂

  4. #
    madscar — July 27, 2013 at 1:09 am

    This is amazing!I love it:)

  5. #
    Susan at Savvy Single Suppers — July 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Looks incredible. Definitely on my “Must Try” list. Thanks, Tessa.

  6. #
    cassie — July 26, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Gorgeous, Tessa! Salmon is a favorite of mine!

  7. #
    Tieghan — July 26, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Blackened salmon is a HUGE favorite around here and I make it I al time. Although yours looks much prettier than mine, I have to try and not grill the salmon next time because your seared fish looks so good. Oh and the avocado ranch is another huge favorite over here. It is so good!! I love this whole meal, Tessa!! All my favorite flavors and foods!

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