23 Essential Sides for Salmon

You picked your protein. Now, go ahead and round things out by adding the perfect grain or vegetable.

March 07, 2022

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Make It a Meal

Salmon is one of our favorite weeknight proteins and for good reason — it is super versatile, heart healthy and cooks up quickly. It's a no-brainer addition to your weekly dinner rotation. Alas, salmon, alone, does not equal a full meal. That's where we come in. Once you’ve decided on a salmon recipe, choose one of these veggies or grains to serve alongside — and you’ll have a complete (and perfectly paired) meal. One of our favorite choices? This healthy cauliflower rice; it’s quick and simple — and the light, lemony flavor is an excellent complement to seafood.

Get the Recipe: Healthy Cauliflower Rice

Crispiest Ever Potatoes

Smashed potatoes require a little extra effort, but they are seriously worth the additional step. Boiling the spuds before smashing and roasting them on a sheet pan results in potatoes that are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. They really are so delicious!

Get the Recipe: Crispiest Ever Potatoes

Steamed Asparagus

Asparagus is a perfect side for salmon — it's crisp, bright and cooks up fairly quickly. Here, we're steaming asparagus stalks then adding some lemon zest. Don't own a collapsible steamer? Saute them, instead: Cut them into 2-inch pieces, and cook in a skillet along with olive oil and butter until tender (about 3 1/2 minutes).

Get the Recipe: Steamed Asparagus

Oven Sweet Potato Fries

Serving up salmon burgers? Sweet potato fries are a must and this recipe couldn't be more straightforward: Just cut sweet potatoes into wedges, toss with oil and seasonings, then roast until crispy.

Get the Recipe: Oven Sweet Potato Fries

Perfect Long-Grain White Rice

Rice is a great basic side that goes with just about everything. Follow this foolproof technique and you'll end up with rice that is perfectly cooked, never mushy.

Get the Recipe: Perfect Long-Grain White Rice

Green Bean and Coconut Stir-Fry

Up the ante on your green beans side by topping it all off with a curried coconut mixture.

Get the Recipe: Green Bean and Coconut Stir-Fry

Glazed Carrots

Damaris Phillips sears her carrots in a cast-iron skillet until they're nice and smoky before stirring in honey and spices. "It's going to end up looking almost burnt because there are so much sugar in carrots, but the flavor is caramelized and it is delicious," she explains.

Get the Recipe: Glazed Carrots

Microwave Baby Bok Choy with Miso Sauce

Many of us use our microwaves for reheating leftovers and not much else. That ends today! This quick-and-healthy side is proof that we should be using this countertop appliance more often.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Baby Bok Choy with Miso Sauce

Orzo Salad

With over 400 rave reviews, Giada's pasta salad recipe is worth giving a shot. She tosses chickpeas, tomatoes, orzo and red onion with a homemade red wine vinaigrette. Pro tip: Cook your grains in stock instead of water to boost the flavor of your overall dish.

Get the Recipe: Orzo Salad

Smashed New Potatoes with Peas, Lemon, and Pearl Onions

Tyler Florence uses a combination of fresh and frozen produce to make this simple — yet flavorful — side.

Get the Recipe: Smashed New Potatoes with Peas, Lemon, and Pearl Onions

Grilled Mushroom Skewers

Throwing that salmon on the grill? Skewer up some mushrooms to cook alongside it.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Mushroom Skewers

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic

This method for cooking broccoli results in a tender and flavorful veg that will quickly become your favorite, but it works best with fresh (not frozen) florets. Toss broccoli with a few seasonings and pop it into a super-hot oven. Salt, pepper and garlic are a safe option, but feel free to experiment with whatever seasonings you're adding to your main.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Broccoli with Garlic

Herby Couscous

Valerie Bertinelli's recipe features pearl couscous (aka Israeli couscous) with a whole bunch of fresh herbs — dill, chives, basil and parsley. It's a great way to use up any extra herbs in your fridge.

Get the Recipe: Herby Couscous

Air Fryer Green Beans with Gremolata and Toasted Almonds

We could not pass up on a chance to fire up our air fryers! Green beans get blistered and crispy with very little oil, thanks to everyone's favorite kitchen appliance. We added a classic gremolata topping that would also work wonders on a fillet of salmon.

Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Green Beans with Gremolata and Toasted Almonds

Smoky Roasted Mushrooms

We're so used to adding mushrooms to casseroles, soups and pasta dishes that we sometimes forget they can be served on their own. Enter, this next-level side where mixed mushrooms are kept whole, roasted and then coated with a garlicky paprika butter.

Get the Recipe: Smoky Roasted Mushrooms

Creamy Dilled Cucumber Salad

Pair salmon with a cool, no-cook side that's ready in just 10 minutes. This combination of cucumbers, fresh herbs, shallots and a tangy lemon-yogurt dressing is so refreshing.

Get the Recipe: Creamy Dilled Cucumber Salad

Blistered Snap Peas

While you can snack on snap peas raw, they will benefit from being charred up in a cast-iron skillets. A few extra ingredients also enhances this side. Here, we added a red jalapeno for some heat, along with mint and lime.

Get the Recipe: Blistered Snap Peas

Sauteed Carrots

If your oven is already occupied, opt for a vegetable that can be made on the stovetop while your salmon bakes. Ina cooks sliced carrots in a saute pan with salt, pepper and a splash of water. She says, "Here's the secret to the carrots. In 7 minutes, all the water has evaporated and they are perfectly cooked."

Get the Recipe: Sauteed Carrots

Instant Pot Steamed Rice

If you're struggling to make rice on the stovetop, you may want to consider investing in a rice cooker or bringing out your Instant Pot. Our recipe uses the latter to eliminate any guesswork, so you can enjoy perfectly fluffy rice every time.

Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Steamed Rice

Roasted Asparagus

Keep it simple with Ina's super-easy 5-star side. She adds a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to asparagus, then throws it all into the oven.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

"Roasting is my favorite way to cook vegetables," Giada says. "It draws out all of the natural sugars and creates a crispy outside and tender inside." In this recipe, she's roasting an assortment of root vegetables and Brussels sprouts on a single sheet pan.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ina shares her super painless trick for roasting Brussels sprouts. "All I do is put them on a sheet pan, drizzle them with olive oil, lots of salt and pepper, throw them in the oven for about 35 minutes and they are crunchy in the outside, salty, and absolutely delicious," she says.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Citrus-Walnut Salad

With segments of blood oranges and tangerines, this bright citrusy salad is so refreshing. The vinaigrette features Dijon mustard and white vinegar, which lends itself perfectly to pairing with a herby or mustard-glazed salmon.

Get the Recipe: Citrus-Walnut Salad