Soy Seared Salmon

Healthy yummy salmon dinner in less than 20 minutes.
Healthy yummy salmon dinner in less than 20 minutes.

I have a sushi craving (big surprise).  I crave the combination of rice, salmon, avocado, and soy sauce that I get with some of my favorite rolls.  So on my way home from work, I stop at Whole Foods (click for info on seafood sustainability at Whole Foods) and pick up salmon and avocado. I have some other ingredients (listed below) at home.  I get in the kitchen and begin improvising.  The result…  Craving. Satisfied.

Click on the links as you read for helpful tidbits along the way.  As always I encourage you to experiment and do your own thing, and TASTE as you go.


  • Fresh Atlantic salmon (don’t freeze it, eat it fresh). You can refrigerate fish for 1-2 days without freezing, but the day of would be best.  Buy as much as you need, you will have enough rice for about 4 servings.
  • Quinoa (1 cup) You can use rice if you want to, but quinoa is healthier (even better than brown rice) and the texture will be similar to sushi-rice.
  • 2 cups chicken broth, or veggie broth to cook the quinoa (or water if you don’t have either)
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 handful of panko bread crumbs (optional)
  • Few tablespoons of soy sauce
  • Few shakes crushed red pepper, or ground cayenne pepper

What’s Cookin?

  1. First cook the quinoa per the quinoa package instructions (use water, or broth if you have it to add flavor). Quinoa will cook for about 12 minutes.
  2. Place salmon in a bowl, and drizzle with soy sauce until you have thin finish of soy sauce over the salmon (don’t over do it, you should not have a pool of soy sauce in your bowl.)
  3. Move on to prepping vegetables. Dice cucumber into small pieces, slice avocado.
  4. Now it is time to cook the salmon. Heat your non-stick pan, put 1 teaspoon olive oil, let it heat up on MEDIUM heat. Do not go beyond 5-6.
    1. Place the salmon on the pan, skin-side down. It should sizzle. The beauty is, you can watch the salmon cook through the side profile, as an ombre effect comes over the salmon.
      Ombre: see the color change along the side of the salmon.
      Ombre: see the color change along the side of the salmon.

      The red color should slowly become a pinkish tint on the outside. Cook for 3-4 minutes, use tongs to flip to other side. (Check on your quinoa, make sure it is not overcooking, once it is done, remove it from the stove)

    2. Continue cooking to preferred temperature, but I highly recommend allowing a slightly pinkish-red center. The salmon will be tender and juicy and fall apart with one touch of your fork.
  5. Season the Quinoa: add some soy sauce to the quinoa, about 1-2 teaspoons.  Use red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to add a bit of heat.  I would say just two shakes will be enough, but if you love spicy, add more.  I think of the spice as the wasabi replacement.
  6. Lightly salt the diced cucumber and place some aside as a garnish, stir-in the rest of the cucumber with the quinoa.
  7. Take a handful of panko crumbs and put them on the stove in a pan on low-medium heat to get them crispy and slightly browned.

Now for plating:

Give yourself a scoop of quinoa, place salmon on quinoa with your tongs, top with sliced avocado and diced cucumber. Top with panko crumbs. Finish it off with a light drizzle of soy sauce. You will have left over quinoa, I used it all week.


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