Warm salmon & spinach salad with roasted beets, avocado, feta and olives

We did a quick road trip over the Easter long weekend to the coast. Specifically, the East Coast. More specifically, Halifax.

What? That’s faaaaar, you say? Too much driving for a weekend? Naw. We stretched the weekend to five days, and took our time getting there, visiting family in Quebec City and friends in Moncton. Besides, we’re seasoned travellers – especially the kiddos.

We enjoyed a much-needed break in one of Canada’s most charming cities, and spent most of our Easter Sunday beachcombing at Crystal Crescent Beach and scaling the bluffs at Herring Cove. Glorious. We spent a slow grey morning sipping lattes at our favourite café and ate lobster, fish and chips at a dive diner. It felt like a mini vacation.

The ride home, however, was one. long. haul. with stops for only for coffee (The Black Duck is the last stop we’ve found for decent coffee until Quebec City, FYI) and convenience store raids. Altogether too many carbs were consumed and by time we rolled into our driveway, the floor of the minivan was covered in a carpet of crumbs from the rice cakes, goldfish crackers and granola bars. Such is the actuality of traveling with children.

The day after we returned home, I was craving a salad with bold flavours and a bit of protein. I ignored the pile of sandy laundry from the trip and instead made a market run for fresh salmon, greens and a bunch of dill. I turned on the oven and pitted olives while a tray of beets roasted. A short while later, this warm salmon and spinach salad with roasted beets, avocado, feta and olives was created and it hit the spot perfectly for a light dinner.

As wonderful as it is to explore a new city, it’s hard to find really, really great salads. I feel like this one was a nod to our travels to the coast, with the pan-seared salmon and all. Perhaps I should have garnished it with crushed goldfish crackers to keep things real, but it was perfect as is.

If this salad looks too pretty or fancy for your tastes, ignore all that food styling and focus on the ingredients. This plate boasts an array of textures and flavours as enticing as anyone could wish for for a simple weeknight dinner. And I promise you it’s easy.

If you can, roast the beets a day or so in advance to save time. You can shake together the vinaigrette a few days before assembly, too, as well as toast the pine nuts and pit the olives.

The salmon should be as fresh as possible, and go from the pan directly onto your plate. If you must cook it in advance, break it up when cold and scatter it around the salad, much like the tuna in a classic Niçoise.


Warm salmon and spinach salad with roasted beets, avocado, feta and olives
5.0 from 2 reviews
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Recipe type: Salad
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: Serves 2
Bright flavours, bold colours and crunch make up this craveworthy spring salad.
Ingredients
  • 2 medium beets
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 portions salmon, about 165g each
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 generous handfuls of baby spinach or other spring greens
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons crumbled feta
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 8-12 Kalamata or green olives, pitted
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh dill, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Peel the beets and cut into thin wedges. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking tray and roast until fork-tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter together with a teaspoon of oil in the pan. Season the salmon generously with salt and pepper and place, skin side up, into the sizzling butter. Sear the salmon for 2 minutes, then flip so that the skin is down and send the pan to the oven.
  3. Roast the salmon for 5 - 7 minutes or until it is cooked though but still slightly pink inside. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic, minced garlic and dijon with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle in the remaining olive oil.
  5. To assemble the salad, toss the greens with a bit of the salad dressing - just enough to coat them lightly. Divide the greens between two large plates and place a filet of salmon on each.
  6. Arrange the roasted beets around the salmon. Thinly slice the avocado and add it as well.
  7. Crumble the feta over top of the salad and sprinkle the pine nuts around the salmon. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the salad and finish with a generous garnish of chopped dill. Serve at once.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. Wow, Aimee, this sounds really delicious! I’m saving this recipe right now. I always like a recipe that is made for just 2 servings as that is how many people I cook for. This will be great when salmon season gets here. Thanks so much!

  2. Michelle @strongnutritionandweightloss.com says:

    this looks unreal!

  3. This pleases the eye and stimulates the appetite! I have some smoked salmon on hand, and I think I’ll try it with that until I can get some fresh. I hope it won’t be too heavy, overriding the other flavors.

  4. Perfect! I’m having salmon tonight, and now I know what the green component of our meal will be. Also, for future road trips, might I recommend Au Pain Gamin in Rivière-du-Loup? It takes a bit more time, getting all the way off the highway and such, but I had a lovely soup-and-sandwich meal there the last time I made a similar drive.

  5. This recipe is perfect for me…

    Have to watch my carbs…sugar…etc..so all the ingredients fit.
    I enjoy salmon…my wife LOVES salmon !
    Really enjoy all the other ingredients.
    Cook for two..so as a previous comment noted..2 portions perfect !

    Thanks for this great idea !

  6. Tried this recipe last night with my wife and it was a BIG hit !

    As I mentioned my wife LOVES salmon.

    Our usual Monday routine is salmon (baked with some seasoning), plain brown rice and a vegetable side dish.

    The assorted tastes and nice presentation were a very enjoyable and delicious change of pace.

    This will be a repeat !

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