Pan-Seared Salmon With Mediterranean Quinoa

pan-seared salmon with mediterranean quinoa

Molly Cleary, MS, RD, CDN, CNSC

Total Time: 35 min
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Servings: 2

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

472 calories
21g fat
37g carbs
36g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving  
Calories 472
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Sodium 632mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 5g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 36g  
Vitamin D 13mcg 65%
Calcium 224mg 17%
Iron 7mg 39%
Potassium 1359mg 29%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

The Mediterranean diet is known for being rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy fats. Although salmon isn't native to the Mediterranean region, it's flavor profile and nutrient content pairs beautifully with the characteristics of the diet.

In this pan-seared salmon with Mediterranean quinoa, the salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart healthy and anti-inflammatory. Olive oil and olives give an added heart-healthy bonus, with a small amount of saturated fat but just the right amount of flavor from the feta cheese. Fiber from whole grain quinoa, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes can help with lowering cholesterol, blood sugar regulation, and digestion. All of these ingredients in one dish make for a hearty, healthy meal.


  • 1/4 cup black olives
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, dry
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) wild Alaskan salmon, raw
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ounce feta cheese


  1. Chop olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and parsley. Peel and mince garlic clove. Set aside.

  2. Cook quinoa according to package directions.

  3. While the quinoa is cooking, pat your salmon dry with a paper towel. Rub each piece (cut in 2 if you have one large piece) with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper.

  4. Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the salmon skin side up. Cook for three minutes, and then flip over and cook for three more minutes.

  5. While the quinoa and salmon are cooking, heat your olive oil and garlic over medium heat in a separate pan. Once hot, add the baby spinach and sauté for a few minutes until it's wilted.

  6. When your quinoa is done, mix in olives, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, basil, and salt. Mix feta cheese in last.

  7. Serve quinoa and spinach side by side with the salmon over the top. Enjoy!

    Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

    If you don't have any quinoa handy, you can swap it out for most other whole grains. They will hold up well in this recipe.

    You can also swap out the spinach for kale.

    Cooking and Serving Tips

    If you're having a tough time peeling the garlic clove, here's a little trick: Place it down flat on your cutting, place the wide portion of your knife over it, and gently crush it. After this, the peel should come right off.

    If you bought your quinoa in bulk, without specified directions, bring quinoa and one cup of water to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes, until water has absorbed.

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By Molly Cleary, MS, RD, CDN, CNSC
Molly Cleary is a registered dietitian and recipe developer. She is also a certified nutrition support clinician.