Quinoa Salmon Salad with Fresh Lemon and Dill

quinoa salmon  dill lemon salad

quinoa salmon lemon and dill salad photo by vsimon

It’s too hot to cook!

Luckily, I have some leftover salmon from yesterday. What to do with it?

Quinoa is quick on the stovetop, it won’t heat up the kitchen.  I have lemons and celery in the fridge. Dried tomatoes in the freezer. And lots of fresh dill in the garden.

Quinoa colors

White, red, black, purple, orange? I have used white and red, the only difference is the color. Any color would work here, use whatever you have.

Wild or farm raised salmon?

There is only one answer for me, wild caught Alaskan salmon. Click on the link for a thorough review of all the issues at World’s Healthiest Foods website.

Lemons 1, 2, or 3?

You choose. Are you timid, or do you like lots of tangy lemon flavor? Are you making this to serve right away, or for tomorrow?

We like sharp, fresh lemon flavor and heady aroma. Personally, I almost don’t think you can get too much. And the flavor fades over time. So I made this with the zest and juice of two lemons for tonight. And will add the zest and juice of a third lemon before I serve the leftovers tomorrow.

I buy fresh lemons by the bag, not one at a time. Don’t even bother with that insipid bottled juice. And add fresh zest to anything that calls for juice.

And I hope you know, fresh lemons are a great way to add flavor to foods without adding a whole bunch of salt.

Dried tomatoes?

Yep, that is what I have. Dried from last years garden. Red, yellow and orange tomatoes. I know they look like colored bell peppers in the picture, but they are tomatoes. Come to think of it, sweet peppers would be good in this salad, but I didn’t have any.

I keep our thin dried tomatoes in the freezer because they are crispy and easy to break up into smaller pieces by hand. At room temp they are leathery and I need to cut them with a knife or scissors.

Our crop of garden tomatoes won’t be ripe until August. But by all means, use fresh tomatoes if you have good ones. I would stir in about 1 cup diced raw tomatoes at the end. Don’t cook them with the quinoa.

Fresh dill

Dill is a two-fer. The seeds and the soft feathery green fronds each have their purpose. Use the fronds here. Vince puts whole seed spays in jars of pickles. They are pretty and add flavor there.

Go ahead, plant this fragrant herb in your garden. Dill is so easy, you will only have to do it once. You will get volunteers every year after.

Sow a few seeds it in the veggie or the flower garden. It quickly grows about three feet high, with a starburst of seeds at the top.

If you can’t find a packet of seeds, just buy dill seeds in the spice aisle and plant them.

Dried dill weed works well in this recipe too. It is mild, don’t be afraid to use a few tablespoons. But you will miss out on the distinctive fragrance of fresh stalks.

Fresh herbs are another great help to add flavor without lots of salt too.

Quinoa Salmon Salad with Lemon and Dill

1 cup quinoa

2 cups of water

1/4 cup dried tomatoes, chopped

1/4 pound cooked salmon, flaked

1/2 cup diced celery

1, 2, or 3 fresh lemons, zest and juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill weed, soft fronds only

salt to taste

Check the quinoa package to see if you need to rinse it before cooking. Many kinds are now prewashed, saving you a step.

Add quinoa, water and dried tomatoes to a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then cover the pan and let stand for 15 more minutes. It always comes out fluffy, not mushy this way.

Spread the quinoa tomato mixture on a rimmed sheet pan to cool quickly.

When cool, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add celery and dill.

Add the zest and juice of as many lemons as you like. Toss to mix thoroughly. Taste and chill until ready to serve.

Flower garnish

Did you notice the nasturtiums in the photo above? They are from our garden too, and edible. The flowers are bright, beautiful and peppery. They provide a surprising kick of heat. They are easy to grow in full sun, flowering all summer long.

10 thoughts on “Quinoa Salmon Salad with Fresh Lemon and Dill”

  1. I confess I am a quinoa virgin too. Can’t wait to try this out, though. What is the story behind quinoa? Where did it come from? Where is it native to?
    Julianne Philips
    Arcata, CA

  2. Just perfectly mouthwatering. Thank you for this Quinoa Salmon Salad with Fresh Lemon and Dill recipe. I liked it so much I sent it to several friends. You are absolutely spot on when you say you can never get too much fresh lemon flavor with that heady aroma that fresh lemons have. As Betty Wrenn Day says “The lemon is the quintessential fruit that makes food sparkle.” It is synonymous with the word refreshing.

    Where we live we don’t have ready access to fresh lemons so I order them online at http://www.buy-lemons-online.com/ which is as good as fresh because they pick them right off the tree and ship direct.

    A question I have regarding your recipe is what kind of lemons do you use? Eureka lemons? Or Lisbon lemons? Also, do you have any recipes for Sweet Meyer Lemons?
    Thanks a million

    1. Hi Sandra,
      I don’t know what type of lemons I get, and I am not educated enough to know the difference by looking at them.

      Since I always use the zest, I buy organic lemons, whatever kind they may be. I have never had more than one kind at my store.

      I also think they are better quality than the non-organic lemons here. The non-organic lemons have a thick, bitter rind, and are less juicy. The organic ones are smaller, juicier for their size, and have a thin rind.

      When I was personal cheffing, I would garnish dishes with slices of lemon. This garnish can even be frozen and still look pretty. But if the lemon had a thick rind and the bitterness seemed to infuse into the dish.

      I haven’t ever had a Meyer lemon, but it sounds appealing. We are in WI, all lemons are foreign here.

      Loved the quote, so true.

  3. Linda, great to see you posting as Barbara said and let me just say that is one stunning dish! And, so full of good taste and nutrition. I just love it! Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂 I’m amazed by you and your husband’s gardening talents!


    1. Hi Shirley,
      Great to hear from you. Vince gets the credit as the master gardener around here.

      Right now we are knee deep in beans and raspberries. Quarts of rapsberries every other day-it seems like such a luxurious life. But stay tuned for potatoes, tomatoes, cukes, ground cheeries, some oddball radishes yet to be planted…

  4. I’m so glad to see you back, Linda, with more of your excellent, always healthy recipes. I’m embarrassed to say that I’m a quinoa virgin, although I’ve been meaning to make it for ages. I’ll start with yours, which looks perfect for summer and so in line with my own taste. I’m also a “more the merrier” type when it comes to lemons and fresh dill. Stumbled.

    1. Hi Barbara,
      Go out, right now, and get some quinoa. 🙂

      It is mild flavored, healthy, and versatile. It is easy to use wherever you would have used whole grain rice. Or in this case, in place of pasta.

      Thanks so much for your support here and at Caring Bridge. lsimon