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Salmon is a delicious form of seafood that is commonly eaten in a wide variety of regions around the world. A favourite of both home cooking and restaurant cuisine, salmon is incredibly versatile and distinctly flavourful amongst other forms of seafood. Despite this though, when preparing this type of seafood, you may wonder, what to serve with salmon?
Table of Contents
- What Is Salmon?
- What Goes With Salmon?
- What To Serve With Salmon?
- Answered – What To Serve With Salmon?
- FAQ – What To Serve With Salmon?
What Is Salmon?
Salmon is a type of pink fish that are commonly found in the oceans or in rivers during spawning. As such they tend to have a preference for cool coastal regions. Despite being a breed of pink fish, salmon flesh usually only has a mildly fishy flavour. However, salmon is known for its rich, buttery and slightly oily taste, whilst its texture is wonderfully tender.
Salmon is an incredibly versatile type of fish that can be cooked in a multitude of manners. Some popular methods for salmon preparation include grilled salmon, baked salmon and seared salmon. Alternatively though, eating salmon raw is also quite popular. although it is only recommended that fresh salmon is eaten in this manner. Additionally, whether cooked or raw, salmon can often be found in smoked and unsmoked varieties, as such which you choose for your salmon dinner will likely depend on your preference for smoked foods.
What Goes With Salmon?
As mentioned above, salmon is rich, buttery and slightly oily, with smoked salmon also adding some smokey flavour. Meanwhile, the texture is deliciously tender but still somewhat flakey.
As such, similarly to other richly flavoured fish such as ahi tuna with sides, your salmon side dishes should reflect this in some manner. The flavours of salmon are delicious but also quite delicate, meaning that particularly strong flavours will be prone to overwhelming the natural tastes of your main seafood.
Here is our easy guide on how to cook salmon at 375.
With this in mind then, the best options for side dishes will be those that allow the flavours of the salmon to truly be the main attraction of your meal. That isn’t to say that these sides should be lacking in interesting tastes or textures though. In fact, the opposite is true since they should reflect or contrast with the salmon in a way that is complementary rather than overpowering.
What To Serve With Salmon?
With the above information in mind, you may be struggling to think of some side dishes for salmon. However, like when debating sides for swordfish or what to serve with scallops, there are a wide array of options for you to choose from. With that in mind, some excellent choices include the following options:
- Creamy Risotto
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Lemon Herb Couscous
- Honey Glazed Carrots
- Green Beans
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Sauteed Mushrooms
- Goat Cheese, Arugula And Apple Salad
- Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Potatoes
When pairing seafood with another dish, risotto is always a popular choice, as the creamy arborio rice pairs wonderfully with a flaky and oily texture, along with the taste of fish. Naturally, this of course true for salmon as well. However, the rich and creamy flavours of salmon make it a particularly excellent pairing with risotto.
Along with the creaminess and slight starchiness of the arborio rice, sides for risotto is cause also loved for the delicious and distinct flavour of parmesan cheese. The inclusion of which adds a sharp cheese flavour to the dish and thereby contrasts and wonderfully complements the buttery nature of the salmon.
Of course though, when eating a risotto, the most distinctive part will be determined by what the fundamental dish is flavoured with. For example with a mushroom risotto, one of the most distinct tastes is that wonderful umami taste, that perfectly contrasts wonderfully with rich and buttery salmon. Meanwhile, barley risotto will add a distinctive nutty flavour.
Cilantro Lime Rice
For a less decadent but still hearty and flavourful rice dish to serve alongside your salmon, some cilantro lime rice makes for an excellent choice. Here, the long grain jasmine rice adds a wonderfully fluffy texture as each grain is distinctly its own thing.
Now you may think that a simple portion of white rice might be quite a boring choice to serve with salmon. However, due to how excellent salmon is at absorbing other flavours, with one excellent combination being cilantro (also called Coriander in the UK) and lime with rice browned in olive oil.
Rice flavoured in this way takes on a wonderful zestiness that is truly unparalleled and contrasts in a wonderful manner to your salmon. These citrusy flavours perfectly cut through the richness of your salmon with dominating it entirely, thereby adding a truly diverse array of flavours to your meal.
Lemon Herb Couscous
Another zesty side dish in a similar spirit to the option above is some wonderful lemon herb couscous. Depending on the type you use, the texture can vary between tender and coarse for smaller varieties, whilst larger grains tend to be chewier.
Flavour-wise, couscous inherently tends to be quite nutty. However, this variation is also bursting with zestiness thanks to the addition of a wonderful lemon vinaigrette made with fresh herbs. Additionally, if you mix other ingredients into this dish then you can add an even greater variety of textures and tastes to your dish. Some great examples of which are cucumber, tomatoes, nuts, and raisins that all combine to add subtle nuance to this side dish option.
Honey Glazed Carrots
If you want something sweet yet earthy to pair with your salmon then some honey glazed baby carrots make for an excellent choice. These are incredibly simple to make as they will be roasted in the oven for fifty minutes with them being tossed in a glaze of honey and vinegar halfway through cooking.
When paired with salmon, the contrast in textures and tastes makes for an excellent combination. The carrots will have a soft crunch to them which in combination with the tender and slightly oily salmon creates a wonderfully delicate yet diverse mouth feel. Meanwhile, the rich and buttery flavours will harmonise well with the sweet honey and carrots whilst being deliciously contrasted by the tangy vinegar and earthy aftertaste of the carrots.
When serving meat or seafood a commonly seen side option is of course asparagus, and with salmon, this is no exception. Truly the two make for a wonderful pairing with a major reason being thanks to the attitude that opposites attract.
As we know from above salmon is rich, butter, oily and quite tender in texture. However, asparagus is known for it’s bitter and earthy tastes and it’s crunchy texture. As a result, when the two are paired together, the sharp contrast in flavours creates interesting sensation where practically every aspect of the two is distinct without clashing horribly.
Asparagus is an incredibly versatile veggie. As such, it can be prepared in a number of different ways that help it to pair evenly more effectively with salmon. One option is to top some roasted asparagus spears with a delicously creamy hollandaise sauce or alternatively some zesty lemon juice. Meanwhile another possibility is to serve grilled asparagus which pairs especially well with smoked salmon.
Green beans are another wonderfully crisp veggie that pairs well with salmon. However, instead of bitterness, green beans will instead add an earthy and sweet flavour profile to the meal. As such, when cooking green beans, the best way to do, especially when serving it with salmon, is to keep things simple.
With this in mind then, an excellent option for cooking your green beans is to saute them in butter with garlic powder and lemon zest, along with a little olive oil. The result is truly staggering as the green beans become wonderfully butter with extra subtle layers of flavour from the garlic, lemon zest and olive oil.
When paired with salmon, your sauteed green beans make for the perfect side dish. This is because they not only mirror the butteriness of the salmon but also add some excellent lemon zest along with the subtle flavour of garlic.
Now, truth be told brussels sprouts have something of a bad reputation amongst most people. However, let’s be honest with ourselves, most of this reputation probably comes from a bad experience with them as a kid, doesn’t it? If so, you’ll probably find that upon trying them again, that they’re delicious and varied in taste. Assuming of course that you roast them, boiled sprouts are still not great.
When roasted, brussels sprouts will be bursting with an incredibly diverse array of flavours that are truly incredible with near enough any dish. That said, the flavours, which include smokey, sweet, nutty, subtly creamy and slightly earthy are perfect for pairing with salmon.
This combination is especially wonderful when paired with salmon, especially so when sauteed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar before roasting. Additionally, a popular combination with sprouts is to serve them with fried bacon lardons which also works excellently with salmon due to adding more smokey and salty tastes to the meal.
Sugar Snap Peas
In a similar vein to brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas also make for an excellent pairing for salmon due to the diverse array of complementary flavours they add to the dish. In particular, though, they are known for their sweetness along with being salty and buttery. Meanwhile, they have a wonderfully crispy texture.
As a result, these will synergise beautifully with your salmon as they will both be deliciously buttery. However, the salty and sweet tastes of snap peas, along with their crispy texture adds some wonderful contrast.
These can be quickly prepared in around five minutes by sauteing in oil and butter. However, by adding other additions they can be made even better. For example, sliced almonds, pine nuts, Sriracha sauce, garlic, parmesan cheese each adds that little something extra.
Mushrooms are a known favourite in many a restaurant or home kitchen and for good reason. No matter the variety in question, they are known for adding that wonderful umami flavour along with often having a slightly chewy or occasionally meaty texture.
As such, they already make for a perfect pairing for your salmon due to the wonderful contrast they provide between taste and texture. That said though, they can be made to taste even better when they are sauteed as the mushrooms will become wonderfully buttery. Additionally though, when sauteed with fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano and garlic powder they will become even more perfect due to the extra layer on new complex flavours.
Goat Cheese, Arugula And Apple Salad
As mentioned above salmon is a wonderfully rich and buttery variation of seafood. Now whilst some people may wish to double down on this aspect and pick a particularly rich side, others may wish to balance out the richness of their salmon somehow. As such, pairing it with a light and refreshing salad is an excellent way to do so.
In particular, a salad consisting of creamy goat cheese, fluffy arugula (or rocket) and crunchy apples make for a wonderful combination of textures that contrast wonderfully with the tender salmon. Flavour-wise, the tart and earthy goats cheese, sweet apples and peppery flavours each contrast beautifully not just with the salmon but also with each other. The result being a dish that is incredibly layered and packed with wonderful flavours.
A side dish that truly pairs wonderfully with any meat or seafood based main is of course mashed potatoes, and naturally, this is true when it is paired with salmon as well. Truly, you can’t go wrong with some mashed potatoes as they will add some creaminess and subtle earthiness to your meal whilst also being strachy enough to soak up juices from the salmon.
Of course, normal mashed potatoes are great, however, there are a variety of ways in which they can be improved. One option being to use sour cream and butter alongside your milk, along with incorporating herbs such as fresh rosemary, garlic or parsley into the mash.
Alternatively though, to put a unique spin on things you can also use sweet potatoes instead of regular ones. Making mashed sweet potatoes in this way adds some syrupy sweetness to the meal which pairs excellently with the rich and buttery salmon.
Another wonderful potato based option is of course roasted potatoes. Within themselves, they provide a wonderful contrast of flavours thanks to them being crispy on the outside and wonderfully fluffy in the middle, both of which pair wonderfully with your salmon.
Like with mashed potatoes incorporating fresh herbs as seasoning is an excellent way of adding extra flavour. Another option though is to sprinkle them with freshly grated parmesan and garlic in order to make them really flavourful.
Again though, like with mashed potatoes, another option is to make roasted sweet potatoes which will add some syrupy sweetness. Alternatively though, for a more subtle sweetness, regular potatoes with a honey glaze works perfectly.
Answered – What To Serve With Salmon?
When deciding what to serve with salmon you are often best picking sides that are not overwhelmingly strong and instead complement the main focus of your dish. Fortunately, when making this choice, you really do have a wide range of options to play with.
From roasted potatoes to risotto or brussels spouts you should be able to find at least one thing that suits your palette. Once you have though, don’t be afraid to use this as a jumping off point for your own ideas. You never know, you may end up discovering something delicious.
FAQ – What To Serve With Salmon?
What food goes well with salmon?
When deciding what to serve with salmon you truly have a wide range of options open to you depending on if you want something light, heavy or in between. Some great examples include mashed potatoes, risotto, brussels sprouts and goats cheese, apple and arugula salad.
What is the best vegetable to serve with salmon?
If you want to serve with vegetables with salmon you truly have a wide range of options open to you. Some great options include asparagus, green beans, potatoes and carrots.