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These roasted salmon quinoa bowls with a punchy lime and chili dressing are full of protein, healthy fats, whole grains and, best of all, FLAVOR!
They’re easy to make and come together quickly on a weeknight.
Over the past few months, we’ve been gradually transitioning to a less meat-focused diet, and trying to incorporate more fish and seafood, in addition to more plant-based meals.
We don’t do extremes and we remain flexible in our approach, so I guess one word you could use to describe us would be flexitarian.
But it turns out there is another word!
The Mediterranean Diet
I’ve never really paid much attention to diet trends and fads, so I was surprised to find out recently that there actually is a diet out there that corresponds well with the approach that feels most natural for us. H
ave you heard of the Mediterranean diet?
In essence, the Mediterranean diet isn’t some super-restrictive counter-intuitive diet like most of the others that are popular these days.
It’s just a way of eating that reflects the habits of the (very) diverse people that inhabit the general area surrounding the Mediterranean sea. This includes Greece, Italy, Syria, Israel, Turkey, and Morocco to name just a few.
These are very different cuisines that nonetheless have a few important elements in common. An emphasis on plants, legumes and whole grains, with more fish and seafood than meat.
Experts have deemed the Mediterranean diet to be the healthiest diet overall for the third year in a row!
So whether you’re new to this way of eating or have been on board for ages, you can expect to find plenty of recipes that will work for you here going forward.
So back to these fabulous roasted salmon quinoa bowls!
We’re kind of quinoa newbies around here. My husband used to scoff at the idea of it, so I never tried making it until recently.
Although this is not my first time eating it, this is definitely the first time quinoa has “wowed” me!
The method that I use in this recipe is pretty foolproof. You’ll get tender, fluffy quinoa that keeps just the right amount of chew every time. No mush.
Add the tangy, slightly spicy lime and chilli powder dressing and it’s suddenly something my husband tells me he’d eat every week. I mean…what?
(If you love quinoa too, check out these vegetarian Mexican-style stuffed peppers. Another one of our new favorites!)
Ingredient notes and substitutions
I used a tricolor quinoa, but any quinoa will work. If you don’t love quinoa, brown rice would be a good substitute, as would another hearty grain like bulgur or farro.
Do I need to rise quinoa?
Note that, depending on the brand of quinoa you buy, it may be necessary to rinse it before cooking. This is because quinoa has a natural coating, called saponin, that can make it taste bitter or soapy if it’s not throughly rinsed off.
That said, most packaged quinoa has been pre-rinsed and should be fine to cook as-is. If you buy bulk, you might want to rinse it to be safe.
Salmon is packed with Omega-3s and vitamins, and the health benefits of eating it regularly include better heart and brain health.
Most salmon sold in grocery stores is farm-raised, but wild-caught salmon is definitely the way to go if you can get your hands on it. It’s more nutritious and sustainable. Check with your fish monger!
Here’s a great resource for more information on the heath benefits of salmon, as well as a guide on how to choose the best salmon.
If salmon isn’t your thing, any firm fish, like cod or halibut, works well too.
I love the flavor of fresh cilantro in this dish, but parsley can be used instead. You can also skip the herbs if you prefer.
Lime is a natural flavor pairing with cilantro and chili powder, but feel free to use lemon juice instead, or simply add more apple cider vinegar.
The type of chili powder I use in this recipe is the seasoning mix that is typically used to make American-style chili. This is a blend of spices, and not just straight-up ground chiles. Taco seasoning is similar and makes a good substitute here.
Fresh cucumber is easy to prep and I like the fresh crunch, but definitely feel free to use any fresh or cooked vegetables you like! Bowls are a great way to use up leftover veggies.
How to make roasted salmon quinoa bowls – step by step
Roast the Salmon
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease with a light coating of olive oil. Place the salmon fillets skin side down on the baking sheet, rub them with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the salmon to the preheated oven and roast for about 15 minutes, until the fish just begins to flake with a fork.
Cook the quinoa
3. While the salmon is roasting, combine the quinoa with 4 cups of water and a large pinch of salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil uncovered and reduce heat to low to maintain a simmer.
4. Simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cover for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
Make the dressing
5. To a small bowl, add lime juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, cilantro and salt. Whisk to combine.
6. Add 2-4 tablespoons (to taste) of the dressing to the quinoa and stir to combine.
To serve, divide the quinoa between four bowls, place a salmon fillet on each bed of quinoa.
Drizzle a little extra dressing over the fish. Garnish with thinly sliced cucumbers and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
More Easy Healthy Fish Recipes!
Roasted Salmon Quinoa Bowls
- 1 cup quinoa *see note
- 4 salmon fillets (about 6 ounces each) *see note
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup tightly packed cilantro chopped
- 1/2 cucumber thinly sliced
Chili Lime Dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with olive oil
- Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and place the fillets skin side down on the prepared baking sheet.
- Rub the fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until it just flakes with a fork.
- While the salmon is roasting, combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil uncovered and reduce heat to low to maintain a simmer.
- Simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and cover for about 5 minutes to let the quinoa steam and finish cooking.
- Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- With a whisk, combine the olive oil, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, cilantro, and salt.
- To serve: Combine the quinoa with about 1/4 cup of dressing (to taste). Divide quinoa between 4 bowls. Place a piece of salmon over each bed of quinoa, add cucumber slices and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Drizzle salmon with additional dressing.