Healthy Pan Seared Salmon

Pan seared salmon seasoned with warm spices and then topped with a light, refreshing Mediterranean salsa fresca is a healthy and beautiful dish fit for a special occasion! And the best part? It’s easy enough to prepare anytime you’d like to treat yourself to a wonderful meal made with fresh, simple ingredients!

First of all, let’s talk about how to properly and easily pan sear salmon….

Salmon is a rich, meaty variety of fish, and takes on even greater flavor from a simple marinade made up of warm spices, olive oil and lemon before being gently laid in a hot pan for a sear on both sides.

For my recipe, I prefer to use skinless salmon fillets. I allow them to rest in the seasoning for roughly 20 minutes before I heat up my cast-iron skillet and cook them until golden and slightly charred, roughly 4-5 minutes per side.

And because salmon is already a very moist fish, the addition of the Mediterranean salsa fresca spooned over top cuts some of the richness with some bright, lemony and herby flavor, and adds that fresh and clean note. It offers that element that’s cool and crisp, perfect for this light and healthy salmon recipe!

To tie things together, I personally like to serve this pan seared salmon with some very simple toasted couscous. Of course, this is totally optional, but I’ve included the easy recipe for it below the salmon and salsa, in case you’re looking to complete your meal!


𝗣𝗿𝗲𝗽 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲: 𝟮𝟬 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗲𝘀
𝗖𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲: 𝟭𝟬 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗲𝘀
𝗧𝗼𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲: 𝟯𝟬 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗲𝘀

𝗣𝗮𝗻 𝗦𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝗮𝗹𝗺𝗼𝗻 𝗜𝗻𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀:

• 4 salmon fillets (roughly 6 ounces each), skinned
• Olive or avocado oil
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
• 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• Pinch cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

𝗠𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗲𝗮𝗻 𝗦𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗮 𝗙𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗰𝗮 𝗜𝗻𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀:

• 1 cup small cherry or sugar tomatoes, quartered
• 1 small Persian cucumber, finely diced
• 1/4 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
• 2 tablespoons pitted Kalamata olives, diced
• 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
• 1 teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• Salt
• Black pepper

𝗧𝗼𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗰𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗜𝗻𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 (𝗼𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲):

• 1 cup couscous
• 1 1/4 cup water
• Couple pinches of salt
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


1. Place the salmon fillets onto a plate or into a large bowl, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoon of the oil; then, sprinkle in the paprika, the granulated garlic and onion, the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne and lemon zest, and toss everything gently to coat the fillets evenly and well; allow the salmon to marinate for at least 20 minutes, or even over night.

2. While the salmon marinates, prepare the Mediterranean salsa fresca: combine all ingredients up to and including the lemon juice in a small bowl, and add a couple of pinches and salt and pepper; mix with a spoon to combine; keep covered and in the fridge until ready to serve.

3. If preparing the optional toasted couscous: place a medium-small non-stick sauce pan or pot over medium heat, and add in the couscous; toast the couscous, stirring it frequently, for about a minute or so, and then pour it out of the pan/pot; set it aside for a moment.

4. Into that same pot or pan add the water, a couple pinches of salt, the olive oil and the garlic, and stir to combine; bring the water to a vigorous simmer, pour in the couscous and stir, and turn off the heat; cover with a lid, and allow the couscous to soften for about 5-7 minutes; then, fluff with a fork, add the chopped parsley, and keep warm.

5. To sear the salmon, place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of the oil; once the oil is very hot, add in the salmon fillets, and allow them sear on that first side for about 4-5 minutes, or until a deep, golden-brown; then, flip over and allow them to cook and sear on the other side for about 4-5 more minutes; remove from skillet.

Top the seared salmon generously with the Mediterranean Salsa Fresca, and serve with a side of toasted couscous, or your favorite side.


461 calories (salmon with salsa fresca only)

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