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Need a healthy, easy, and anti-inflammatory dinner idea packed with antioxidants and fresh herbs? Salmon with green herb sauce is your go-to. It’s a great way to use up fresh herbs you may have lying around. Cook the salmon in whatever method appeals to you, and customize the green herb sauce however you like!
I don’t need to tell you about how wild salmon is a great source of those anti-inflammatory omega 3s, so let’s get to the real star of the show here: fresh green herb sauce. This is the only green herb sauce you’ll ever need. It’s delicious, completely customizable, and good on salmon, halibut, chicken, eggs, steak, in wraps, leftover steak in wraps. pretty much any way you like to use it. I like it best drizzled over slow roasted or grilled wild salmon, so tuck in and let’s talk about how to make salmon with green herb sauce.
Types of Salmon
Before we get into the herb sauce, a note on salmon: It has a season. You can buy farmed Atlantic salmon year-round, but 90 percent of wild caught salmon comes from Alaska and is best late spring to early fall. There is no wild caught salmon in the Atlantic, only in the Pacific. Any Atlantic salmon is farm-raised.
There are six main types of salmon, but here are the ones you most often see in stores:
- King Salmon: I prefer King salmon AKA Chinook salmon, but it is very pricey. It’s considered to be the best tasting salmon. King salmon have a higher fat content and rich flesh that ranges from whitish to a deep red color. Holds up well on the grill or in a pan if pan-frying. I also love King salmon slow roasted. It has a mild non fishy flavor.
- Sockeye salmon have bright red flesh and are way leaner than king. They have a stronger flavor and are commonly sold smoked. Sockeye is way cheaper than King and also holds up well on the grill. Takes much less time to cook than King and dries out easily. Not my favorite personally.
- Coho is also a less expensive option and is medium fat. Milder than Sockeye with a more subtle flavor.
- Atlantic salmon: Any nutritionist will tell you to avoid farmed salmon like the plague, but actually farming practices have improved over the years. Many of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Best Choice picks for salmon are actually raised on farms nowadays. I always get the Nordic Blu Atlantic salmon which is Norweigan and highly rated for sustainability and health. When buying Atlantic salmon, avoid those with color added. Most salmon you get in restaurants is farmed unless otherwise noted.
- Steelhead: not really salmon, but very comparable. If you find wild steelhead, buy it. The flavor is mild, luscious, and it is way cheaper than most salmon. Also rich in omega 3s and nutrients.
Now then, onto the green sauce. I love this sauce because it is so easy to make; you can use it on meat & veggies; and you can pretty much use any herbs you have on hand. My personal favorite combo is cilantro-chive-parsley, heavy on the cilantro and light on the parsley. I tend to throw a handful of basil in too if it’s summer and I have some on the deck. You can also get very creative and add a splash of red wine vinegar (more of a chimichurri vibe), avocado to make it creamy, or even a spoonful of hot and spicy mustard. With steak I’ll make a tarragon-parsley combo which is divine.
It is a bit like a pesto but not as thick. It should be a thinner and easy to spoon. Make a batch with any leftover green leafy herbs you have lying around before they go bad. Use it on morning eggs, roasted veggies, roasted corn, or meats. Really, anything goes.
Salmon with Green Herb Sauce
Make the green herb sauce first and let it chill a bit while you make the salmon.
Cooking the Salmon
For this particular dish, I used wild caught King Salmon and popped that baby on the grill because it’s hot today. I also love this green herb sauce with my slow roasted salmon.
Aside from the grill, and if you don’t have the time to slow roast it, the easiest way to cook salmon is in the oven:
- heat to 375
- rub filets with olive oil
- season liberally with salt and pepper
- place salmon on a sheet covered with foil or parchment
- roast about 10-15 minutes depending on the type and thickness of the fish.
- When it flakes and gives easily, it’s finished. Do not overcook salmon! It’s actually better to undercook it slightly as it will firm up. And overcooked salmon is not great.
- Spoon your green sauce over it and serve!
Salmon with Green Herb Sauce
- Food processor
For the Green Sauce
- 1 bunch chives
- 1 bunch parsley or cilantro
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 splash tamari
- 1 tsp hot & sweet mustard optional
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Salmon
- 1.5 - 2 lbs salmon
- olive oil
- sea salt and pepper
To Make Green Sauce
- Add everything to a food processor and process until smooth.
- Taste to correct seasonings.
- Consistency should be looser than pesto. You can add more or less water or olive oil depending on your preference. Feel free to get creative and use any leafy herbs you have on hand. Even arugula adds a nice zing.
To Make Salmon
- Rinse salmon and pat dry.
- Drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
- Cook or grill in whatever method appeals to you (see above for my recommendations).
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.