Fatty, flavorful, and forgiving, salmon is a fish that can do it all — simultaneously tasting rich and indulgent, as well as nutritious and healthy. Whether it's grilled, roasted, poached, smoked, or pan-fried, salmon is a delicious crowd-pleaser. But a solo filet of salmon is kind of sad. It needs grains or greens or silky noodles for some side dish support.
There's really not much that salmon won't go with. But the best side dishes not only support the main, but also won't distract you with fussy, lengthy recipes. So go ahead and focus on your teriyaki marinade or herb-y rub.
Here are 45 easy-breezy side dishes for salmon that will be ready in half an hour (or less).
Eat your greens
This genius Caesar salad is all about the dressing: a creamy, tangy number made with Dijon, fresh lemon juice and zest, sherry vinegar, and fresh herbs. The pièce de résistance — cheese crisps — are ready to go after a five-minute stint in the oven. All in all, this salad's ready to go in about 20 minutes.
Your oven does all the work in this four-ingredient tahini roasted broccoli that's ready in quite literally 10 minutes. The hardest part of this recipe: preheating the oven.
Another favorite, this unexpectedly delicious salad asks you to do something with lettuce you might think sounds a bit strange: stir-fry it. But that flash of heat opens up the flavors in the sweet and tangy dressing, and makes sure each piece of lettuce is well coated.
The reviews are in, and this no-fuss sautéed zucchini with herbs and crunchy walnuts is certified "delicious." A hearty dollop of ricotta and a basket of crusty bread only sweetens the deal.
A quick sear in the pan mellows out escarole's naturally bitter flavor, while a drizzle of honey, salty feta, and toasty walnuts balance out the whole equation. Pro tip: If you can't find escarole, romaine makes a nice substitution.
A handful of simple shaved vegetables — beets, carrots, radishes, fennel, apple, and more — get dressed up in a bright lemony dressing with a hint of creamy tahini.
Perfect for hot summer days, this refreshingly cool cucumber salad is light yet rich in flavor thanks to a dressing of garlic, ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and honey.
The spicy peanut dressing featured here will taste great over almost any greens (or even noodles), but we like it best tossed with wholesome lacinato kale (a.k.a. dinosaur kale) with chopped mint and walnuts.
This salad is proof that Brussels sprouts don't have to be roasted to taste delicious. Closely shaved Brussels, thinly sliced red onions, zingy lemon, and a healthy amount of shaved Pecorino make the perfect complement to rich, fatty salmon.
Fear not the seaweed — this sweet yet lightly tangy salad is mixed up with a bunch of other tasty ingredients to turn even the most picky eater into a believer.
Speaking of shaved vegetables, broccoli gets even tastier when its stalks are shaved super-thin and the florets are charred over quick, high heat. A little bit of crumbled feta and golden raisins, plus a fresh squeeze of lemon, make the whole salad a worthy side dish.
Most collard greens recipes take quite a bit of time on the stovetop to get the right flavor and texture, but by shredding them thin they're ready in just a few minutes. According to the recipe author, "The outcome is a tangled pile of hearty, zesty, spicy greens that cooks up lickety-split."
This fresh avocado, watercress, and broiled (yes, broiled!) pineapple sweetness strikes just the right balances of sweet, creamy, and tart. Trust us, you won't want to it by the plateful, but the platterful.
Carrots and avocado make an unlikely — but excellent — duo in this half-roasted, half-raw salad. The key technique: Roast some of the citrus before mixing it up with the sweet-tart dressing and sprinkling the crunchy sunflower and sesame seeds over top.
This recipe from food blogger and cookbook author Melina Hammer hits all the right flavor and texture notes to create a salad that'll keep you coming back for seconds and thirds. According to Hammer, "The bitter crunch of the radicchio is nicely offset by the creamy crumbled egg and sweet toasted nuts, and further complemented by the zing of capers and dressing."
This deliciously savory Japanese pancake has cabbage and green onions, so we'll count that as a salad in our book — just make sure you don't skip the bacon.
Going with the grain
Light and totally tasty, the shaved summer asparagus in this salad work together wonderfully with the tender beets, chewy kamut (a type of ancient grain), and the deeply aromatic (and addictive) black sesame dressing.
18. Risi e bisi
A classic Italian dish, risi e bisi simply translates to rice and peas. But as straightforward as the ingredients list may be, this hearty side dish is packed with flavor from onion, pancetta, fennel seed, butter, and grated Parmesan.
This "world-brightening" fried rice from legendary chef Jean-George Vongerichten works best when you use leftover rice (it's a bit dried out, so it absorbs the sauce better), but fresh rice can work too, so long as you pay attention to the tips at the bottom of the recipe.
In case you haven't heard, frittatas aren't just for breakfast. This herb, feta, and quinoa-filled version makes a solid side dish and is a great way to use up leftover grains or pantry items quickly.
The secret to this fluffy, citrus-scented couscous is almost two cups of fresh orange juice, which the couscous will boil in. Green marinated olives add a lovely tang and the optional lemon thyme leaves bring a fragrant touch.
Put any leftover roasted vegetables to use and mingle them with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin, eggs, and day-old rice for the ultimate fridge clean-out side dish (or even main).
Every ingredient that you'll need for this impressively easy couscous salad is listed in the recipe title, save one: olive oil, which is just the finishing touch.
There actually isn't any couscous in this "couscous" salad. Rather, using a special method, you'll use okra seeds to make something that is similar in texture to couscous, but totally grain-free.
This swirly, Swiss chard pasta makes a quick and easy dinner (or side dish) since you can do most of the require using a single pot of boiling water. If you don't have Swiss chard on hand, kale, spinach, and arugula also fit in nicely.
This noodle salad has two of our favorite things: a sweet-tart, Vietnamese-inspired dressing and thin noodles mixed with crunchy raw vegetables.
Not only will this flavorful noodle soup stop any cold right in its tracks, but it also makes the perfect side dish to a piece of buttery roasted salmon. "The combination of the rich sweetness of coconut milk, salty brine of fish sauce, and pucker of lime juice," recipe author Caroline Wright says, is better than anything you can order at a restaurant.
The mild and subtle flavors of this lemon and dill-scented orzo pasta salad go great with a piece of grilled salmon, or even a roasted chicken with pan juices. And since it's served cold, you can happily make it ahead of time without sacrificing taste or texture.
Make the most of seasonal asparagus with this creamy, lemony, easy-to-throw-together pasta — it's ready to hit your plate in 15 minutes, so really there's no excuse not to make it.
This tasty soba noodle salad is packed with tricks and tips (and a chile oil you'll want to drizzle over everything), the first being: Salt your cucumbers to draw out their excess liquid and make them super crunchy.
Hot (and cold) potato
Inspired by the flawlessly crispy hash browns served at the Waffle House, this three-minute version is just as tasty and textural. Just make sure to follow Ozersky's technique to the letter — he knows what he's talking about.
Whether you're feelin' something sweet or savory, these endlessly adaptable sweet potato waffles are for you. For dinnertime, we like serving them alongside something like flaky salmon — the fish's natural sweetness plays of the sweet potatoes nicely.
If this review is any indication — "I made this shortly after it was posted, it was so good!" — we'll be keeping this creamy, vegan potato salad all summer long.
It turns out you don't need whole potatoes to whip up fresh-made gnocchi at home — just potato flakes. This clever technique produces gnocchi as fluffy as the classic, and goes perfectly with your favorite sauce.
According to this recipe's author, calling this super-riff-able salad a recipe might be saying too much. Because really, all it is is simply roasted sweet potatoes, your choice of salad greens, some feta, and a four-ingredient dressing.
This all-vegetable curry is warm; fragrant with spices like fennel seed, cumin, and cinnamon; and absurdly easy to make. The whole thing comes together in one large pan or pot, and is on the table in well under 30 minutes.
A legume to stand on
These glazed and glistening haricots verts look beautiful on a plate next to a filet of rosy pink salmon. The simple green beans start with just butter, stock, garlic, and Parmesan, but once you've made them once, you can start to experiment with other spices and seasonings.
This white bean and crunchy cucumber salad gets a bit of a lift thanks to fresh tangerines and citrus dressing, as well as a dash of sumac, which brings a delicious zing.
Korma is an Indian dish of meat or vegetables typically braised with yogurt or cream, stock, and spices. Here, you'll need sweet potatoes, creamy white beans, coconut milk, kale, and 10 minutes of active cooking time to make a hearty and healthy stew without a ton of work — or animal products.
Since white beans are clearly one of salmon's favorite sidekicks, we brought this salad with aromatic tarragon into the mix.
According to recipe developer Sarah Jampel, this spicy chickpea and spinach saag-ish is "incredibly flavorful without asking that you rummage through the spice cabinet." Best of all, it doesn't require a ton of time stewing over the stovetop.
If you can't find super-fresh produce at the farmers market, blanching your fava beans, peas, and asparagus will give you that snappy, crisp flavor. Aside from the vegetables, all you'll need is a bit of cheese, herbs, and olive oil.
This vegetable-packed, über-textural kitchen sink salad quickly turns into a hearty meal when you add a protein on top, like roasted or grilled salmon.
This green bean casserole-style dish (it's not baked) will fit right in at the holidays, but it also makes a lovely — and easy — side dish during any of the fall and winter months.
This colorful, citrusy salad was inspired by two of Ali Slagle's favorite salads, so basically, it's a double-whammy.