She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
~~ A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young
With conflicting emotions, we’ve bid adieu to winter in the Rio Grande Valley. I still long for the hearty soups and stews of winter, but for now I will embrace the lighter fare of summer. The original inspiration for Seared Salmon and Spinach Salad With Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette came when faced with how to use an abundance of leftover tandoori chicken from a recent dinner party. I have a mental block with just heating up last night’s meal, so I set my mind to coming up with a light, healthy salad that would complement the flavorful Indian tandoori chicken. This salad definitely “fit the bill.” Taking a delicious salad from a side dish to a filling main dish is simple with the addition of your choice of protein. This is a common strategy during the summer months in my kitchen!
I have been known to wax poetic about the benefit of using flavor profiles to come up with new dishes. I am not exaggerating. 🙂 Authentic Indian food doesn’t include a lot of green salads. I wanted a green salad that would complement an Indian main dish (the tandoori); a quick Google search turned up a couple of cucumber salad recipes… not quite what I was looking for. Our local markets’ bins are brimming with mangoes and avocados. While avocado isn’t typically associated with Indian cuisine, mangoes are used in everything from chutney to dal and curry. Cashews, spinach, and thinly-sliced red onion round out this healthy salad. The seared salmon fillet cooks on a very hot pan (we used our gas camp stove!), and brushed with a glaze of a lovely ginger-mango relish, lime juice, and olive oil.
To illustrate the speed and simplicity of this dish, let me say I made this the day I took the photos while we were enjoying the last of “winter” at Falcon Lake State Park with our camping trailer. I’m being a bit facetious when I say “winter,” as we really don’t have that season in the Rio Grande Valley. It would pass as spring or fall in northern climates. 🙂 After March, the weather is hot enough to keep people indoors most of the time, hence the “winter is dead” quote. Our camping trailer will probably remain in storage for the next 6 months… That being said, we downsized to a 14′ Aliner (tiny) trailer, and the kitchen is exceptionally small. We bought an “outfitter” gas camp stove with high BTU. I prepped the salad, seared those salmon fillets, and had this lovely meal on the table for photos in under 30 minutes – as the sun was setting in the campground. If I can make this dish under less-than-ideal kitchen conditions in 30 minutes, you most certainly can do it in your own!
A healthy, quick salad featuring baby spinach, mangoes, avocados, red onion, and cashews, and dressed with a lovely ginger-lime vinaigrette... On your table in 30 minutes or less! If you don't love salmon, substitute your favorite fish or a grilled chicken breast brushed with the glaze as it cooks. Slice the chicken breast prior to plating. Homemade dressings will keep in your refrigerator for up to a week. I always make my dressings for my salads. They are far healthier and better tasting!
20 minPrep Time
8 minCook Time
28 minTotal Time
- 1 shallot
- 1 tablespoon ginger mango relish (or similar)*
- juice of 2 and zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- several grinds black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 cups greens (baby spinach, baby kale, mixed young greens)
- 2 mangoes, peeled, seed removed, cubed
- 2 avocados, peeled, seed removed, cubed
- 1/4 cup roasted cashews
- 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons ginger-mango relish (such as Shan's)*
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- several grinds pepper
- 4 salmon fillets or steaks*
- salt and pepper
- * See Notes
Make the salad dressing. Combine all of the salad dressing ingredients in a personal blender or small food processor. Pulse until smooth. Taste. If it's too acidic, add more olive oil. Season as desired. Set aside.
Add greens to a large salad bowl. Toss with enough dressing to very lightly coat the greens. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.
Whisk the ginger-mango relish, lime juice and zest, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a small prep bowl
Prepare a heavy pan (with a cover) with cooking spray, then get it very hot. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place on the prepared pan (skin side down if they have skin). Brush the glaze on top of each fish fillet. Cover and cook until flesh is desired doneness - about 4 minutes per 1/2" thickness. Mine were about 1" thick, and took 8 minutes.
Divide the lightly dressed greens among 4 large plates. Top each with 1/4th of the mango, 1/4th of the avocado and red onion, and 1/4th of the cashews.
Top each of the salads with a salmon fillet. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve additional dressing on the side.
* See Notes
I used Shan's Ginger-Mango Relish. This relish is heavy on the ginger, and isn't very sweet. If you can't find it, you can substitute mango chutney (widely available), and add about a teaspoon of finely minced or grated ginger.
If salmon isn't your thing, a grilled chicken breast glazed with the same mixture would be great, but you'll want to slice before arranging on top of the salad. You could also do a seared tuna or mahi mahi...
Macro Nutrients* (from MyFitnessPal) per serving: 590 calories 28 g protein 41 g carbs 41 g fats
Our Weekend At Falcon Lake State Park: