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This baked salmon with tomato salsa is one of those recipes you want to keep in your back pocket for a nutritious meal that's ready in 30 minutes. It's covered in a sweet and smoky rub and served with juicy roast tomato salsa. All you need now is a fork!
This baked salmon has a simple rub using smoked paprika, coconut sugar, thyme, and a pinch of cayenne. It's where both the sweet and smoky flavors come from as well as the bright orange-red color. This baked salmon with tomato salsa is also served with a side of fresh greens to really kick the nutrients into high gear!
This meal is perfect in summer but can be eaten whenever you have a beautiful piece of salmon and a handful of ripe tomatoes just begging to mingle together.
Here's what you need to bring this gorgeous salmon meal together:
For the salmon + tomato salsa:
- Salmon: You will need 4 pieces of salmon for this recipe, ideally they're cut into similar sized pieces so that they can bake evenly.
- Cherry tomatoes: For your salsa, you will use cherry tomatoes to give a beautiful sweetness to the dish.
- Onion: Mince 5 tablespoons of onion. Seems like an odd amount, however, you will use 4 tablespoons when you roast the tomatoes and add the remaining tablespoon raw to the roasted tomato salsa.
- Olive oil: You'll need 3 teaspoons of olive oil divided, some for the salsa while roasting the tomatoes, and some for the salmon.
- Sea salt: This will help bring out the flavor of the tomatoes while they're roasting – yum!
- Coconut sugar: You'll incorporate the sugar (coconut or brown sugar) into the rub for the salmon. This is what gives that wonderful smoky-sweet balance to the dish.
- Spanish paprika: This is also called smoked paprika or pimenton. This adds the smoky taste to the meal. Smoked paprika can come in hot, sweet, or bittersweet varieties, so if you want to add some heat to the dish, you can pick up the hot kind.
- Fresh thyme, basil leaves, & tarragon: This fresh herb blend will be used in the tomato salsa to add freshness and brightness. It will combine well with the sweet roasted tomatoes.
For the salad:
- Apple cider vinegar: This will be one of the base ingredients to make the vinaigrette for the salad. The acid from the vinegar will balance the olive oil.
- Honey: Add 1 tablespoon of honey for a sweet taste that also give the dressing a sticky consistency to stick to your lettuce.
- Balsamic vinegar: Just 1 teaspoon of balsamic adds some tart, sweet, molasses-like flavors.
- Dijon mustard: For a nice sharp bite, add ½ teaspoon of dijon to the dressing. You can use regular yellow mustard if you don't have any dijon in your kitchen.
- Olive oil: The second base ingredient in any vinaigrette; olive oil adds some healthy fat to your salad.
- Sea salt & pepper: A pinch of each will do to season the salad.
- Lettuce: The beauty of this salad is in its simplicity. It's just the lettuce (of your choice) + the salad dressing to complete your baked salmon meal.
How to make baked salmon with tomato salsa
Time needed: 40 minutes
- Roast the tomatoes:
Put 3 cups of the cherry tomatoes and 4 tablespoons of the onion in a small baking dish. Pop them in the oven with some olive oil and salt and let them roast.
- Make the salad dressing:
Bring together the apple cider vinegar, honey, balsamic, dijon mustard, and slowly add in the olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper.
- Time for the salmon rub:
For the salmon rub, combine the coconut sugar, Spanish paprika, thyme, and cayenne powder. Add the rub to the salmon and then drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake the salmon:
Put the salmon in the oven and let it roast for 8 minutes, or until it has reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Finish the salsa:
Add the remaining tomatoes and fresh herbs to the roasted tomatoes and mix well.
- Serve & enjoy:
Pour the dressing over your lettuce, add the salsa over the salmon and presto change-o you have a healthy meal on the table in 30 minutes!
Top tips for perfectly baked salmon
- Don't over bake the fish: We've all done it. But to avoid overcooking this baked salmon, bake it until an instant-read thermometer reads no more 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or until the flesh flakes with the most gentle touch of your fork. We prefer our salmon when it's cooked medium, 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Leave the salmon uncovered: When you leave your salmon fillets uncovered in the oven it allows for a crispy exterior to develop while the middle stays soft and moist.
- Get your oven hot: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature the salmon only needs about 8 minutes in the oven.
- Try using steelhead trout instead of salmon: Steelhead looks and tastes very much like salmon, but it's a bit fattier which means that it doesn't dry out if you accidentally overcook it. We love it!
What can I use instead of Spanish paprika?
Spanish paprika is also referred to as smoked paprika or pimenton. If you don't have any on hand or can't find it in the spice aisle, you can use chipotle chili powder instead.
How long should I cook baked salmon?
Cook the salmon for 8 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. It should reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit and flake with a fork. This will make sure the salmon is moist and not overbaked and dry.
How long does cooked salmon keep?
You can store cooked salmon in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes (divided)
- 5 tablespoons minced onion (divided)
- 3 teaspoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon Spanish paprika
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (finely minced )
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
- 4 pieces salmon
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves (thinly sliced )
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon (chopped )
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
- 8 cups lettuce leaves
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Put 3 cups of the cherry tomatoes and 4 tablespoons of the onion in a small baking dish. Drizzle the top with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle ½ teaspoon of sea salt over the top. Put the tomatoes into the oven (don't wait for it to heat up) and let them roast for 20 minutes. Quarter the remaining cherry tomatoes and set them aside.4 cups cherry tomatoes, 5 tablespoons minced onion, 3 teaspoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt
- While the tomatoes are roasting make the salad dressing. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the apple cider vinegar, honey, balsamic, and dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, ½ teaspoon dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons olive oil, Sea salt and pepper
- Make the rub by mixing the coconut sugar, Spanish paprika, thyme, and cayenne powder in a small bowl.2 tablespoons coconut sugar, 1 tablespoon Spanish paprika, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
- Place the salmon on the prepared baking tray and sprinkle the rub evenly over top of each piece. Drizzle the tops with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil.4 pieces salmon, 3 teaspoons olive oil
- When the tomatoes are finished roasting, remove them from the oven. Put the salmon in the oven and let it roast for 8 minutes, or until it has reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit and flakes easily with a fork.
- Add the remaining cup of quartered cherry tomatoes, the remaining tablespoon of onion, basil, and tarragon to the roast tomatoes and mix together well.2 tablespoons basil leaves, 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
- To serve, toss the lettuce leaves with the dressing. Spoon the roasted tomato salsa over the salmon, and serve with a heap of salad on the side.8 cups lettuce leaves
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.