Lunchbox Meal: Grilled Salmon Salad with Magic Tahini Dressing

Since I’ve been here at All Things BBQ, I’ve wanted to bring my magic tahini dressing to the masses. I don’t think it gives you magical powers necessarily, but it comes together in a way that’s so simple that it feels like magic. It’s also a dressing where you can mess around with the ratios of tahini, honey, and lemon to suit your taste, so feel free to play around to make it your own. I always enjoy when people feel empowered to play by their own rules, so here I’m allowing you to do that.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the best at consistently eating a healthy lunch, but this recipe is easy enough to prep enough for an entire week in less than an hour. It’s perfect for those meal prep fanatics looking for something new to add to their repertoire. We all know lettuce gets boring, so mint is the perfect addition to amp up the vibe.

This dish makes it feel like you’re eating a good-for-you spring roll, but more luxurious! Spring rolls often have shrimp, rice noodles, mint, and cucumber all wrapped in rice paper and dipped in a sweet peanut dressing. However this has the unctuous salmon, tangy and nutty tahini dressing, and fresh mint and cucumber to keep you cool during these hot summer months. I hope you enjoy my new lunchtime favorite!

-Chef Britt

Green Salad with Magic Tahini Dressing Recipe

Makes 5 portions

Ingredients

Grilled Salmon Salad:

  • 1 Whole Side of Atlantic Salmon (skin on preferred)
  • Cattleman’s Grill Ranchero Seasoning, as needed
  • 16 oz baby spring mix lettuce (Spinach would also work)
  • 1 Cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 5 mini english cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 5 fresno peppers, sliced thin
  • 5 Tablespoons white sesame seeds

Magic Tahini Dressing:

Instructions

Grilled Salmon:

Preheat your grill for medium-high heat, or 475 degrees if using a pellet smoker. Clean your side of salmon, ensuring it is free of pin bones and scales. Using a filet knife or chef’s knife, cut the salmon filet into 5 – 6 portions, depending on the size of the filet. Generously season the flesh with Ranchero Seasoning. The skin will not need seasoning, but will add more flavor and maneuverability on the grill if left on.

Place the salmon filets skin-side down in an area of the grill that promotes indirect cooking. This means away from the heat source. So either on an upper secondary shelf or further away from hot coals.

Cook the salmon skin side down for five minutes, then flip to finish cooking. Once the salmon has reached an internal temperature of 150 degrees, pull from grill, and set aside on a plate to cool in the fridge.

Magic Tahini Dressing:

Combine tahini, fresh lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in bowl. Taste and adjust, if needed.

Salad Assembly:

For one portion, place two cups of mixed greens and chopped mint in bowl. Add one sliced cucumber, one sliced fresno pepper, and a tablespoon of sesame seeds. Serve with one filet of grilled salmon and tahini dressing.

 

Try some other lunchtime meals: Grilled Salmon Nicoise Salad or Grilled Salmon Grain Bowl

 

The first thing you’ll really want to do is ensure you have a sharp knife. I prefer a Shun boning or filet knife when working with certain cuts of meat, but a chef’s knife such as a Wusthof 8″ Classic IKON chef’s knife would also work. I use one whole side of skin-on salmon for this recipe, although it works well without skin, if you prefer. The skin will add a depth of flavor and make it easier to flip on a grill (in case you’re worried about that).

Make sure to look over your filet to ensure it is free of pin bones or scales. Remove any bones with tweezers, and missed scales with the back of a knife.

Cut your side of salmon into five clean portions, appropriately sized for lunch. The tail-end tends to be much thinner than the rest of the filet, so make sure to give yourself a larger cut on that side.

Here I got five clean filets, plus a little end piece that I like to call a “chef snack.” A “chef snack” is the reward you give yourself for all the hard work that goes into prepping meals. I seasoned them liberally with Cattleman’s Grill Ranchero Seasoning, a versatile rub with bold garlic, herb, and lemon flavor.

Once seasoned, they’re ready to grill! Here at All Things BBQ, we have access to use many types of grills, but I tend to cook on the Yoder Smokers 640s pellet grill with ACS. I’ve loaded it with BBQr’s Delight apple wood pellets and preheated my grill to 475 degrees F.

Place the salmon on the upper shelf, skin-side down. Close the grill lid and allow to cook for 5-8 minutes, or until you begin to get those characteristic grill marks.

Flip the salmon once and continue cooking with the lid closed, another 5-8 minutes. To ensure it is properly cooked, I like to use an instant read thermometer, like the Yoder Smokers Maverick PT-75. Fully-cooked fish should have an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F. If you get much past 160 degrees F, you risk drying out your fish.

Placed the cooked salmon on a plate. You can either serve it hot, or if you prefer to eat later for lunch, cool it in the fridge.

See? So simple, and that skin will hold a nice amount of flavor.

And now for the magic dressing: is as easy as throwing all the ingredients together in a bowl and mixing until it comes together. Taste it and feel free to add more lemon for tang, more honey for sweetness, or more tahini for nutty creaminess. Don’t forget to add salt and pepper!

The idea for this lunch came from inspirations that I tend to fall back on: Asian flavors and the freshest seasonal ingredients. My new favorite thing is to buy lettuce mixes and add a green herb into my salad greens to amp up the flavor. I’ve done that here by adding some mint into the spring mix.

So along with giving some mint a rough chop, I thinly sliced mini english cucumbers and fresno peppers. All these vegetables plus the creamy tahini dressing amp up these mixed greens to be something more magical.

The cucumbers do a great job to offset any heat the fresnos bring to the table. If you’re not familiar with fresno peppers, they are about as hot (if not slightly hotter) than a jalapeno. They don’t have quite the vegetal flavor that green peppers do, but have an intense red color that will brighten your day.

To build the salad, mix your mint into your greens, add the peppers and cucumbers, place your salmon on top and garnish with your magic tahini dressing and sesame seeds. If you decide to pack it up for lunch (like I’ve done here with my Yeti Daytrip Lunch Bag) then you’ll want to potentially keep your dressing and salmon separate, for the freshest dining experience.

It’s simple to put this all together, and once you give it a taste you’ll easily want to eat this for lunch everyday.

 

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