Toasted Quinoa and Salmon Salad – Cleveland Clinic

Toasted quinoa and salmon salad on a white plate, sitting on a colorful blue striped cloth napkin.

This dish marries the sweetness of salmon with the nutty taste of toasted quinoa. The result is a salad that can become a dinner or lunch. If arugula is difficult to find, you can substitute it with baby spinach and 1 teaspoon dried tarragon. Each serving contains 1,070 milligrams of omega-3s and is a great way to get in the recommended daily amount of this essential fat.

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  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound wild salmon fillet
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped arugula leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (6 ounces)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese


  1. Wash the quinoa in a fine sieve under cold running water. Drain well.
  2. Coat a nonstick saucepan with cooking spray. Add the quinoa and lightly toast over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cups water and the salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
  4. Fluff with a fork and place in a bowl to cool.
  5. Coat a sauté pan with cooking spray. Cook the salmon skin side up for 6 minutes over medium heat. Turn the salmon over and continue to cook until the fish is opaque and flakes easily when tested with the point of a knife. Remove from the pan and discard the skin. Cool and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Add to the quinoa along with the arugula and tomatoes.
  7. Combine the garlic, vinegar, oil and a generous grinding of pepper. Toss with the quinoa salad. Top with feta.
  8. Chill and serve.

Ingredient health benefits

  • Quinoa: This ancient grain is chock full of nutrients. It has essential vitamins and minerals — like vitamin B6, folate and iron — it’s high in fiber and may even help prevent diabetes.
  • Salmon: Considered a superfood, salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which your body doesn’t make for itself. Omega-3s are essential because they support many organs and body systems, from your brain on down.
  • Garlic: Keeping vampires at bay isn’t the only benefit that garlic provides. Among other things, this little allium can help with blood pressure regulation and give your immune system an extra boost.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: A cooking oil to rule them all. Extra virgin olive (or EVOO) oil lowers bad cholesterol, promotes good cholesterol and is rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Arugula: Cruciferous vegetables like arugula share similar but powerful health benefits, including a variety of vitamins and the potential to fight cancer.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Though we tend to cook them like veggies, these bite-size fruits have an impressive amount of nutrition. Tomatoes are known to lower your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease and cancer, and they may help protect your skin from sunburn.
  • Black pepper: Salt’s companion has a few surprising secrets. Antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to help your body absorb other nutrients are some of pepper’s potential benefits.

Nutrition information (per serving)

Total fat: 9 g
Saturated fat: 1.5 g
Protein: 19 g
Carbohydrates: 32 g
Dietary fiber: 3 g
Cholesterol: 34 mg
Sodium: 278 mg
Potassium: 718 mg

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