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This Grilled Kale and Salmon Salad is easy, delicious and drizzled with a flavourful Charred Lemon Vinaigrette. It’s best served enjoyed warm but can also be prepared in advance and served at room temperature.

Grilled Kale and Salmon Salad with Charred Lemon Vinaigrette Easy Primal Gourmet Recipe

What You Need for the Grilled Kale and Salmon Salad

  • Salmon: When grilling salmon, I always try to buy filets with the skin on. Not only does the skin get nicely charred and crispy, but it also helps prevent the fish from sticking to the grill.
  • Spices: Before grilling the salmon, I like to rub it with a simple combination of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. The seasonings compliment the rich flavour of the fatty fish without overpowering it. If you decide to use a different spice mix, which is totally fine, try to use something that will also work with the flavours in the salad and Charred Lemon Vinaigrette.
  • Kale: I used purple curly kale as the base for the salad, but you can substitute green kale or Tuscan kale if desired. You can also experiment by grilling and combining different types of lettuces, such as radicchio, endive, dandelion greens or even bok choy. Each one will add a different colour, texture and taste to the salad.
  • Lemon: Just like the salmon and kale, the lemon gets grilled until nicely charred. The result is a slightly sweeter juice and flesh that makes for the most amazing homemade vinaigrette.
  • Whole Grain Mustard: Keep the yellow stuff for your hotdogs and grab a jar of good quality whole grain mustard for the vinaigrette. Maille brand is my go-to, but if I’m feeling extra fancy, I like to treat myself to a jar of Moutarde de Meaux Pommery. The tiny, pickled mustard seeds add a delicious texture and flavour that you just won’t get from anything else.

    Note that Maille “old-style” whole-grain mustard contains white wine and sugar, but in very small amounts. Moutarde de Meaux, on the other hand, does not.
Grilled Kale and Salmon Salad with Charred Lemon Vinaigrette Easy Primal Gourmet Recipe
  • Cherry Tomatoes: I particularly like cherry tomatoes in this salad for their shape, colour, and crisp texture. They also tend to be a bit acidic, which helps balance out the fatty salmon and slightly sweet vinaigrette.
  • Hearts of Palm: These are the soft, edible, inner cores of palm plants. They’re tender, juicy, slightly crunchy depending on the brand you buy, and taste similar to artichoke hearts. They’re most often sold in cans or jars and packed in water. They’re nutritious, high in fibre and make a delicious addition to salads.
  • Shallots: Truth be told, red onion will work too, but I had shallots at the time I made this grilled kale and salmon salad so that’s what I used. The trick is to give them a very fine dice. The idea is to have some of the sharp, bitterness from the shallot in every bite.
  • Barberries: Using dried barberries is one of the secrets to really making this salad sing. They’re crunchy, chewy and have a slightly acidic/sour flavour that helps echo the flavours in the charred lemon vinaigrette. They can be black or red and are sold at local Middle Eastern markets or can be ordered online.

    If you still can’t find them, you can substitute dried currants, raisins or dried cranberries. Just note that the latter almost always have sunflower oil and sugar added to them.
  • Garlic: As always, measure this ingredient with your heart and don’t let anyone tell you there’s such a thing as too much. In the case of this charred lemon vinaigrette, I’d say one large-ish clove is plenty though.
  • Pecans: You can use any nut you like (walnut, cashew, almonds, pistachios, hazelnut, etc), but there’s something about the crunch and sweetness from toasted pecans that I can’t get enough of. I always buy them raw and unsalted and either roast them in the oven on a sheet pan or toast them in a skillet for a few minutes to release some of their essential oils and bring their flavour to life.
  • Honey: Just to sweeten the dressing and help balance the acidic elements. It’s optional though, so if you want to keep this grilled kale and salmon salad Whole30, omit it.
Grilled Kale and Salmon Salad with Charred Lemon Vinaigrette Easy Primal Gourmet Recipe
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Grilled Kale and Salmon Salad with Charred Lemon Vinaigrette

This Grilled Kale and Salmon Salad is easy, delicious and drizzled with a flavourful Charred Lemon Vinaigrette.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

For the Grilled Kale and Salmon Salad:

  • ½ cup raw, unsalted pecans
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 1.5 pounds salmon filet, sliced into 4” pieces
  • 1 large bunch kale
  • 1 lemon, sliced in half
  • 1 can hearts of palm, diced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ dry barberries

For the Charred Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 grilled lemon, around 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions 

For the Grilled Kale and Salmon Salad:

  • Preheat your Traeger Grill or conventional grill to 500F.
  • Add the pecans to a dry, cold skillet and place over medium-low heat. Toast the pecans, stirring often, until warmed through and lightly golden. Transfer the pecans to a cutting board, let them cool and then roughly chop them with a knife. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
  • In a small bowl, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place the salmon on a tray or board, drizzle with 2 tablespoons avocado oil and massage to coat. Evenly season both sides with the spice rub. Set aside.
  • Trim and discard the bottom tips of the kale stalks. Drizzle the leaves with 2 tablespoons avocado oil, season with ½ teaspoon salt and toss to coat.
  • Transfer the lemon halves, kale and fish to the grill, skin-side down first, and cook until grill marks form, 5 to 6 minutes. Using a fish spatula, carefully flip the fish and cook the flesh side until the thickest part of the fish is flakey and opaque, 5 to 6 more minutes. Grill the kale, flipping once or twice, until lightly charred, around 8 minutes total. Grill the lemon halves until the flesh is charred, around 10 minutes total. Transfer everything to a board or tray.
  • While still warm, roughly chop the kale and add it to a large salad bowl along with the hearts of palm, shallot, tomatoes, barberries, and chopped pecans. Drizzle with the Charred Lemon Vinaigrette (see below) and toss everything to coat. Transfer the salad onto individual serving plates, top with a filet of salmon and serve warm or at room temperature.

For the Charred Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • In a mason jar, combine the olive oil, juice of 1 grilled lemon (see step 5 above), mustard, honey (if using), and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste, top with a lid and shake vigorously to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
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