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22 May

Curried Salmon Salad

For busy college students like Amy McMillin, easy-to-prepare meals that make the most out of a limited food budget are a necessity. “I like to make salads with fewer ingredients using unique combinations,” Amy told us, which is how she came up with her recipe for Curried Salmon Salad submitted for the Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook.

Salmon, lettuce, avocado, slivered almonds and green onions mixed with the complexity and bold flavors of an array of ground spices – garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne – makes this a delicious Primal dish.

Dried spices stay flavorful and aromatic for up to a year (even when stored in a dorm room) and are an economical way to punch up the flavor in just about anything you cook. If you want to make this salad even simpler, buy only the garam masala, which is an Indian spice blend that often includes the other five spices in this recipe plus cloves, cardamom, fennel, mace or nutmeg. The benefit of using all the spices instead of just garam masala, however, is that you can customize the flavor. Love to feel the burn? Then don’t hold back on the cayenne or garam masala. Does spicy food make you cry? Then cumin, coriander and cinnamon are your friends. Amy blends the spices with coconut milk for a quick and easy dressing. She also uses them to lightly season the salmon.

Pan-frying the salmon in coconut oil gives the fish a crispy, almost caramelized coating. We recommend searing it on both sides, first skin side up for 4-6 minutes, then after adding a little more oil, flip the fish and keep it in the pan until the skin is crispy. When the salmon cools, toss it in a bowl with all the other ingredients. Or, do what Amy does when she’s taking her Curried Salmon Salad to go: simply throw everything into a Tupperware container and shake well before eating.

Servings: 1


  • 1 4-6oz salmon fillet (for college students without a kitchen or anyone on a tight budget, consider using canned salmon instead)
  • 1/2- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (for cooking fresh salmon)
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoon sliced or slivered almonds
  • 2-3 tablespoon chopped green onions


  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut milk (or more, depending on how much dressing you like on your salad)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • *optional: 1/2 tsp of coconut flour to thicken dressing


Season salmon with coriander, cumin and garam masala then pan-fry the fillet in coconut oil.

Flake salmon into small pieces and mix with other ingredients. Whisk dressing ingredients together and drizzle over salad.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Oh my gosh this looks so good! Keep these recipes coming!

    Kaylie wrote on May 22nd, 2010
  2. I’m confused, if the salmon is being seasoned before, why are the spices included in the dressing?

    Ace wrote on May 22nd, 2010
  3. That dressing is a brilliant idea… I can’t believe I never thought to use coconut milk and curry seasonings as a salad dressing before! I’ll be trying that this week for sure.

    mayness wrote on May 22nd, 2010
  4. Thanks Amy for sharing this recipe. My husband loves spicy foods so he’ll be glad when I surprise him w/ this (shhh he doesn’t know it’s me lol). Keep those great recipes comming. Home made sauces/marinating recipes would also be nice to see. @(*^_^*)@

    madeline wrote on May 22nd, 2010
  5. That looks amazing! I enjoy a big ass salad for lunch everyday but have never enjoyed one with salmon.

    I will have to print out this recipe when I get home from Chicago and make it next week.

    Can’t wait for the Primal Cookbook to arrive too :)

    Primal Toad wrote on May 22nd, 2010
  6. Hot smoked salmon would also work well for those in a rush.

    Janet wrote on May 22nd, 2010
  7. So for those of us with a true fish allergy, I am feeling that perhaps other than scallops and shrimp (I can eat shellfish), Pork would be a tasty option here…I often use pork in my Indian “Samosas” with similar flavors..fantastic!

    Julie Aguiar wrote on May 22nd, 2010
    • Obviously I only eat the spiced meat filling, duh, with vegetables!

      Julie Aguiar wrote on May 22nd, 2010
  8. I’ve never been big on fish or any seafood for that matter, but I will eat Salmon. This looks pretty good. I might just try this. Gotta get those Omega-3s somehow.

    Ralph wrote on May 24th, 2010
  9. Simplicity is often a great way to make something special. Amy hit the mark! I love that you made your own curry as well! I make my own curries and have a great selection from mild to wild.

    Mike Cheliak wrote on May 24th, 2010
  10. Awesome recipe, can’t wait to make it!

    Paula Couchman wrote on May 26th, 2010
  11. This was fantastic. I was searching for a salmon salad with loads of good stuff and this hit the spot. The dressing is truly inspired. Thanks for sharing it.

    Christine wrote on September 2nd, 2010
  12. I enjoyed this recipe, but found the suggested dressing was not flavorful enough. I instead made a similar dressing with coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, coriander, cumin, and garlic powder (all to taste).

    Pamela Fox wrote on February 6th, 2011
  13. I’ve been tinkering with this recipe some more, and came upon a variation that I *really* like, using lamb’s lettuce, almond-breaded salmon, and coconut-lime dressing.

    I described it here:

    Pamela Fox wrote on February 28th, 2011
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    Minh Dewilde wrote on June 13th, 2011
  15. We were thinking about going to Panera for dinner and figured there would be a small chance in heck that we could find something to eat….

    Had a salmon filet in the fridge and went for it on this recipe. EXCELLENT!!

    Oh so much better than anything we would have gotten at Panera or any other restaurant in town.

    We figured that we had a $45+ dinner for 2 for under $15.

    Fun last minute addition to the salad was diced pears. YUMMY!!!


    Tara Tooley wrote on September 24th, 2011

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