Blackened Salmon Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

I absolutely adore this salmon salad! Like most men, my husband typically is not on board with simply eating a salad for dinner, but this was an exception! I was floored. It really is hearty enough to eat for dinner, but could easily be served for lunch as well. Cooking blackened fish is very quick and easy, plus it looks beautiful! The salmon has the perfect amount of spice, and the yogurt-y avocado dressing pairs very well with the blackened fish. If you are looking for a light end-of-summer dish, this is it!


You can see how crispy the spice rub on the salmon is, but the fish is still flaky and tender inside. If you are worried about it being spicy, don’t be! Again, the dressing counteracts any spice from the fish, and I actually thought it could easily have been a little spicier. If you know you love spicy foods, consider increasing the amount of cayenne pepper.

The dressing recipe made plenty; in fact, I still have some leftover that I plan to enjoy on side salads throughout the week. I used a food processor to whip it up, but you can also use a blender. The dressing is definitely tangy from the yogurt and buttermilk, but it is also smooth due to the avocado. Side note: my husband does not like avocado at all, and he had no idea it was in this dressing! For those of you who are cooking for picky eaters, it seems the avocado is not very noticeable at all.

If you do not have buttermilk (I never do!) you can easily make your own in just 5 minutes. To make one cup of buttermilk, mix one cup of milk (I usually use skim) and a tbsp of lemon juice. Stir it together and let it sit on the counter for about 5 minutes while you work on another part of the recipe. In 5 minutes, you have buttermilk!


Blackened Salmon Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing


For the salad:

  • 8 cups of mixed greens or lettuce
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, chopped

For the salmon:

  • 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

For the dressing:

  • 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 (I used scallions)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk (I used my skim milk buttermilk trick from above)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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.

Servings of dressing: 8. Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 37 Carbs: 2g Fat: 1g Protein: 2g Sugar: 1g Fiber: 1g. WW PointsPlus: 1.

Servings of fish: 4. Nutritional information per serving: Calories: 252 Carbs: 0g Fat: 14g Protein: 25g Sugar: 0g Fiber: 0g WW PointsPlus: 6

Recipe adapted from: