Taco Salmon Grain Bowl
Taco Salmon Grain Bowl- A protein packed meal loaded with taco seasoned salmon, fresh veggies, nutty quinoa, and a ranch creme fraiche drizzle.
April 13, 2021 by Nicole Collins
There's a big difference between eating something on repeat because you have to and because you want to.
Today's recipe falls into the “want to” category, for sure.
I've made this recipe 3 times in the past week and a half. It's that good!
Actually, this meal was brought to life by nothing short of a miracle. On Good Friday, I knew that I couldn't eat meat, so salmon was on the menu. However, I had no idea what I wanted to do with that salmon.
Now before I continue on with the story, it's worth noting that I had not been to the grocery store for a good 2 ½ weeks at the time I was making this meal. I was past running on empty. My fridge was BARE, and what was left in the fridge was beyond questionable.
So as I'm trying to decide what to do with the salmon, tacos was at the top of my mind. But I happened to peek in my pantry, saw my jar of quinoa, thought “boy, I haven't had quinoa in a hot minute”, and I totally pivoted my non existent game plan.
I picked through what was edible in my fridge, thanked my past self for the fresh corn on the cob I stashed in my freezer, and miraculously concocted a delicious, protein packed, healthy, and super filling meal. And this hodge podge of a bowl was so amazing, I just knew I had to share it with you.
So today, we're making Taco Salmon Grain Bowls!
Everyone knows that food just tastes better when you serve it in a bowl. I don't know why. It's just the facts! So, we're going to load up a bowl with lots of veggies, nutty quinoa, and juicy salmon for the ultimate in fast, delicious, and healthy meals!
Let's start with the salmon. We're going to make life sooooo easy for ourselves by letting the salmon roast to perfection in the oven. All we need to do is give it a drizzle of olive oil, rub your favorite taco seasoning into the flesh, then pop it into the oven to do its thing. Now, it doesn't matter if you have skin on or off of your salmon. We're going to remove any skin before we add the salmon to our bowls either way, so use what you have or whatever is easiest to find for you.
While the salmon is roasting, we can have our grain cooking away on the stove top. For this bowl, we're going to use quinoa. I LOVE quinoa so much that sometimes I forget how much I love it. I definitely don't cook with it enough, but I feel like that's going to change very soon. Now, some people find quinoa to be a little bitter. But, I find that rinsing your quinoa before you cook it really helps to eliminate that problem. So, just put the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, run it under some cold water for a few seconds, and add it straight to your saucepan with water and a pinch of salt to let it cook up. 15 mins is all we need for the quinoa to cook. Then, we'll give it 5 mins to rest and fluff up, and it's all ready for our bowl.
To fill in our grain bowls, we're going to add all of the veggies. Fresh chopped spinach, fresh corn, and mashed avocado all make an appearance in our bowl. The spinach adds extra protein to our bowl while offering a light crunch. The corn adds a pop of juiciness with those delicious corn kernels. And, the mashed avocado adds a layer of extra creaminess that really helps this bowl shine.
Now, I have a recent obsession with store bought, jarred salsa verde. I've recently found a roasted salsa verde at Aldi that I'm adding to everything. So, since I typically add jarred salsa to avocado to make a super quick guac, we're going to add a spoonful of salse verde to our avocado in this scenario too. The salsa verde adds tons of extra flavor to our avocado thanks to the garlic, onion, tomatillos, lime, and cilantro that come mixed right in the salsa. So, this is a great hack for turning avocado into a flavor bomb with no extra effort at all.
To tie this whole grain bowl together, we're going to make a special, indulgent sauce to drizzle right over the top. We'll start with crème fraiche which is a rich, creamy, tangy condiment that you can usually find in the dairy aisle. Then, we'll load it up with a bunch of dried spices that you probably already have on hand to create a ranch flavored sauce. Now, crème fraiche is pretty much just soured cream. So, it's rich and buttery with a little bit of tang. If you want to keep with the healthy theme of this meal, you could totally substitute the crème fraiche with a little sour cream or plain greek yogurt.
Once we have all of our components ready to go, it's time to assemble! The quinoa goes into the bowl first. Then, we pile on the veggies. Next, goes on that juicy salmon. And, we finish the whole thing with a drizzle of our ranch crème fraiche.
This bowl of food is busting at the seams with flavor. The quinoa is warm and nutty. The salmon is rich and perfectly seasoned with that touch of taco seasoning. The veggies are fresh and crisp. And, that avocado/salsa verde is the perfect balance of creamy and ever so slightly spicy. Then add that decadent drizzle of savory crème fraiche over the whole situation, and the bite is nothing short of heaven in your mouth.
Trust me on this one, folks. There's a definite reason I've made this 3 times in 2 weeks. It's so filling and delicious while still being light and bright. Amazing doesn't do it justice!
Alrighty, everyone! I think we'll keep with the bowl theme this week, because I have another bowl on standby that I know you're going to love.
For now, enjoy! And, let's eat!
Taco Salmon Grain Bowl
Serves: 2 Print
For the Grain Bowl:
8 oz salmon filet
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp taco seasoning
½ cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1/8 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 tbsp prepared salsa verde
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup corn, thawed if frozen
olive oil cooking spray
For the Ranch Creme Fraiche:
2 tbsp crème fraiche
1/8 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp dried chives
1/8 tsp dried parsely
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/16 tsp salt
1/16 tsp pepper
1/16 tsp onion powder
Make the Ranch Creme Fraiche: To a mixing bowl, add crème fraiche, dill, chives, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, 1/16 tsp salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine. Set aside in the fridge.
Roast the Salmon: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray the foil with olive oil cooking spray. Arrange salmon on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil over the salmon. Sprinkle taco seasoning over the salmon, and gently rub the spice into the flesh. Roast salmon for 12-15 mins until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. If using salmon with the skin on, remove and discard the skin. Break the salmon into chunks.
Meanwhile, make the Quinoa: Add quinoa, water, and 1/8 tsp salt to a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 mins. Remove from heat, and allow to sit for 5 mins. Fluff with a fork.
Mash the Avocado: Add avocado, salsa verde, and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl. Use a fork to mash the avocado and mix in the salsa.
Assemble the Grain Bowl: Divide quinoa evenly between two bowls. Top each bowl with spinach, corn, mashed avocado, and salmon, evenly divided between each bowl. Drizzle with ranch crème fraiche. Serve!
*Rinsing the quinoa before cooking it helps to take away some of the bitterness that people can sometimes associate with quinoa.
*You can use sour cream or greek yogurt in place of the crème fraiche. To thin it out and make it easier to drizzle, add a little splash of water. Stir it in and add tiny splashes as needed until it reaches your desired consistency.
*The 1/16 tsp measurement is not one that you'll see commonly in measuring spoon sets. Just fill your 1/8 teaspoon half way for this measurement.