Crusted Salmon with Red Lentils and Herbs Salad Recipe

Crusted Salmon with Red Lentils and Herbs Salad Recipe
Staff Writer

Flickr/Whitney/CC 4.0

Top Chef contestant Nikki Cascone loves salmon especially with lots of vegetables and herbs. Try this recipe for a quick and healthy dinner. 

Click here to see the Mommy-To-Be Eating Q&A with Nikki Cascone.


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds, coarsely chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Four 6- to 8-ounce wild Atlantic salmon fillets
  • 2 cups olive oil, plus more for the dressing
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 unpeeled seedless cucumber, preferably English, cut in half lengthwise, then into half moons
  • 1 red onion, sliced paper thin
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 ripe avocado cut into large dice
  • 1 sprig basil, cut into a chiffonade     
  • 1 spring mint, cut into a chiffonade
  • 1 sprig cilantro, cut into a chiffonade


Cook the lentils according to the package instructions, usually as if you were making pasta, until they are al dente. Rinse immediately under cold water.

Ground pumpkin seeds in a spice grinder with regular paprika and a pinch of salt.  Set aside to dust fish with.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the salmon fillet in the pumpkin seed mixture. Heat a sauté pan with the oil until it is almost smoking. Sear the salmon, skin-side up, for about 2-3 minutes, until it is a golden color, then turn it over and place in the oven. Roast for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, and how you like your salmon cooked. 

While the fish is cooking prepare the salad. In a mixing bowl toss the tomato, cucumber, lentils, red onion, drizzle of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, half a lime, salt and toss. Cut avocado into large dice.  Gently toss in avocado as not to mush it. Add fresh herbs. Put the salad into a serving bowl or plate.

To serve, place the salmon fillet on top and salad. You can also garnish it with the remaining lemon and lime slices. 

Salmon Shopping Tip

A fresh fish should not smell fishy nor have milky, opaque eyes; it should have bright red gills, firm flesh, and a tight anal cavity.

Salmon Cooking Tip

Whole fish should be stored upright in ice in the refrigerator.

Salmon Wine Pairing

Pinot gris/grigio, sauvignon blanc, sémillon, albariño, or rosé with most cooked salmon dishes; pinot noir with salmon in red wine or other strong sauce; grüner veltliner, rosé, or vintage or non-vintage champagne or sparkling wine with smoked salmon.