Air-fried tender salmon bites on a bed of mixed greens with crisp cabbage slaw, cucumber chunks, creamy avocado, and warm, fluffy brown basmati rice, all drizzled with a spicy jalapeno cilantro lime dressing, making the perfect cilantro lime salmon meal.
Comforting and Refreshing
Change your weeknight dinner routine with this easy and flavorful Air Fryer Spicy Cilantro Lime Salmon Salad served over a bed of nutty brown basmati rice with creamy avocado chunks and refreshing cucumber.
This comforting recipe is the perfect go-to for any night of the week, offering a good reason to indulge in a wholesome and delicious meal. The air-fried salmon, marinated in zesty, spicy cilantro, jalapeno, and lime, brings a burst of freshness to the dish, while the mixed greens and cabbage slaw add a crisp texture.
With the added convenience of the air fryer, you can enjoy a gourmet-style dinner without the hassle, making it an ideal choice for those busy weeknights when you need a quick yet satisfying meal.
Here are More Delicious Salmon Recipes to Try:
- Baked Cajun Honey Mustard Salmon with Cauliflower Steaks and Potatoes
- Air-Fryer Salmon with Pepper Cabbage Slaw and Yellow Rice
- Smothered Salmon Salisbury Steak with Tomato Mushroom Gravy
- Sesame Chili Salmon Rice Bowl
- Air-Fryer Roasted Harissa Salmon with Paprika Potatoes and Brussels sprouts
Begin by making the brown basmati rice as instructed on the package. Then, combine the shallots, jalapeno, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, pomegranate molasses, apple cider vinegar, kosher salt, and ground black pepper in a food processor. Next, slowly add the olive oil to bring it all together.
Dry the salmon with a paper towel, season with garlic powder and onion powder with some cilantro dressing, and cook in the air fryer. Plate the dish by adding the rice, greens, and slaw mix, cucumbers, and avocado. Top with the air fryer salmon bites and drizzle with cilantro dressing.
See the cilantro lime salmon rice bowl recipe card for quantities.
Follow the instructions and cooking tips below using the step-by-step picture guide.
Cut the salmon into 1-inch cube pieces to cook uniformly and quickly.
Blending all the ingredients for the jalapeno cilantro lime dressing in the food processor gives it a creamy texture.
Since the salmon are cut into small bites, more surfaces of the salmon are seasoned without marination.
Spread the seasoned salmon chunks in the air fryer basket; you should hear a sizzle when adding, which means it is hot enough to add. Plus, do this part quickly to keep it non-stick so it does not lose too much heat.
Combine the mixed greens with the slaw before plating; this gives a variety of textures to the dish.
Busy Folks - Become a better home cook with cooking tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. In addition, some related detailed steps can be found there.
- Brown Basmati Rice - Choose your favorite brown rice, jasmine rice, or medium-grain white rice.
- Shallots - Try sweet white onions.
- Jalapeno - Depending on your heat preference, try serrano to poblano to control the heat in your spicy salmon bowl. See the "Change Heat Level" section.
- Pomegranate Molasses - This provides a tart yet sweet contrasting flavor. There's not really a replacement for it, but use honey or brown sugar for sweetness.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Seasoned Japanese rice vinegar or regular; just adjust the sweetness after blending.
- Mixed Green - Use tender shredded kale.
- Persian Cucumbers - Try seeded Kirby cucumbers or English cucumbers.
Change Heat Level - Modify the cilantro lime recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
- Salmon Skin - If you do not wish to eat the salmon skin, you can remove it before or after cooking. The skin helps hold the fish together.
- More Toppings - Fried onions, sliced green onions, sesame seeds, and thinly sliced and cold water-soaked red onions are a great addition to an even crispier salad.
- Creamy Dressing - Make a spicy mayo dressing using Japanese Kewpie mayo. Why? This type of mayonnaise is packed with flavor using only egg yolks compared to regular mayonnaise using the whole egg.
- Salmon Fillets - Instead of salmon cubes, try whole salmon; just increase the cooking time.
- Baked Salmon - If you do not have an air fryer, bake your salmon in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 Celsius) for 10 to 12 minutes on a baking sheet tray lined with parchment paper, oil-sprayed aluminum foil or on a wire rack.
- Rice Cooker or Pot - Used to make the rice. I prefer to do it in the rice cooker since it's a much easier method, and you can focus on the main dish. I developed this recipe using an Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker, like the straightforward Professional Version Aroma Housewares 4-Cup Rice Cooker. For a more sophisticated rice cooker, try the Cosori Rice Cooker Maker with 18 Multi Cooker Functions.
- Food Processor - For convenience, the food processor blends ingredients to make the spicy cilantro lime vinaigrette easily emulsify it with the olive oil. I used the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper to develop this recipe. If you do not have a food processor, you can chop finely by hand and slowly whisk in the oil.
- Air Fryer - Used to air fry the marinated salmon pieces. For one batch of salmon in this recipe, you will want to use at least a 4-quart air fryer, or you will have to air fry in two batches. I used the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Electric Grill with a roasting pan and fryer basket enough to fit all the cubed salmon.
- Mixing Bowl - This will be used to toss the salmon in the dressing and to mix the greens later. If you are looking for mixing bowls, try the GLAD 3-Set Mixing Bowls with Pouring Spouts.
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, you can place the rice bowl's hot components in a shallow 2-inch container to cool down quickly. Then, store it in an airtight container with the cold components. As a result, the meal will last up to two days.
- Freezer - Follow the refrigeration process mentioned above. Then, place it in the freezer in a labeled, airtight container.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
- Fluffy Rice - If you use a rice cooker, don't forget to fluff the rice and let it rest before serving to help separate the grains, creating fluffy rice.
- Meal Prep - For meal prepping, place each component into separate air-tight containers and only cut the avocado on the day of use. If you have to cut it in advance, line the portion of diced avocados with paper towels soaked in lime or lemon juice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Achieving perfectly flaky salmon in the air fryer is simple! Start by preheating your air fryer to around 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius). Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture, which helps with crisping. Brush the fillets lightly with oil or a marinade to enhance flavor and moisture.
Cook the salmon for about 6-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet, flipping halfway through. To ensure flakiness, test for doneness by gently inserting a fork into the thickest part; the salmon should easily flake apart. Avoid overcooking to retain the moistness and delicate texture of the fish.
Looking for other seafood recipes like this? Try these:
Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes
Looking for other easy recipes like this? Try these:
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- Cook salmon to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent foodborne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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