Let me tell you, this Cajun Salmon Slider Salad with Habanero Lime Dressing is an absolute flavour bomb of a bowlful. And quite a mouthful too! Sometimes there’s just no other option but to say it like it is – and there is no cute, clever, shorthand way of describing this salad. It is what it is and trust me, you don’t need it to change. Plus, I just like saying ‘slider salad’.
If you’re like me and you have very little time for bland and boring food (I mean, why waste a good meal?) then you need this salad. Like, yesterday. These little sliders pack a real flavour punch and when coupled with the creamy, spicy dressing – well, there are no words. My husband took one bite of this and could barely speak. Amazing, he called it, when he could finally utter a word. And hey, I agree with him!
I don’t know about you, but every day I try my best to eat a little more healthily. ‘Eating healthily’ is a contentious term for me, and in the world generally, I believe, but let’s go with it. I trust that you know what I mean. At the end of a long day at work, despite the best of intentions, who really wants to eat a salad? Does anybody? Or is it just me who craves pizza, or other carb-y things after a tough day? Surely not! Come on, hands up.
No, I wake in the morning feeling ready for the day, drink up my smoothie (or spoon it from a bowl), eat a light salad or soup for lunch at work and then head home thinking of that delicious veggie bowl I planned to have for dinner. And then boom – I step foot in the door and I want pizza. It’s like all of the stresses of the day come at me all at once and tell me that the one thing that’s going to make me feel better is pizza. We all know in our hearts that that notion is wrong, but it’s a compelling one. It doesn’t always win, but sometimes it does. And I think we all know which outcome feels better, right? I think we all know deep down that’s it’s not really pizza we need, don’t we?
So what is my point here, you ask? Well, this Cajun Salmon Slider Salad is pizza’s nemesis, that’s my point. When it is around, pizza doesn’t even get a look in. And I know there must be plenty of you out there who get just how much of a big deal that is. (And I hope it goes without saying that I believe there is a time and a place for pizza, especially homemade ones, and just because I use pizza as an example, I could be talking about any number of foods).
So. This Cajun Salmon Slider Salad is:
- packed full of spicy, awesome flavour
- a nutritious protein loaded bomb – from salmon, quinoa AND black beans
- fresh and healthy tasting with buttery avo, crunchy peppers and tender leafy greens
- taken over the top with a fiery yet creamy habanero lime dressing.
Put simply, this salad is life when you need it the most. It’s restorative. It’s real food. And that’s what we’re all about around here. Enjoy!
Cajun Salmon Slider Salad with Habanero Lime Dressing
- 450-500 g salmon fillets (~1 lb)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 spring onions
- 1 red chilli deseeded if preferred
- leaves a large handful of coriander
- 70 g cooked quinoa (3/4 cup)
- 4 teaspoons cajun seasoning
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- leaves mixed salad
- 1-2 avocados diced
- 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper sliced
- 1 can black beans (1 1/2 cups) drained and rinsed
For the habanero lime dressing
- 150 g low fat crème fraîche (2/3 cup)
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- zest of 2 limes + juice of 1/2
- 1-2 habanero or scotch bonnet chillies finely chopped
- pinch of salt
- Place the garlic, spring onions, chilli and coriander into the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Remove the skin from the salmon if necessary and chop the fillets into rough chunks. Add to the food processor and pulse until chopped but not so much that you have a paste.
- Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and add the quinoa, cajun seasoning, egg and salt and mix until well combined. Form the mixture into 16 small patties (you can do larger ones if you like but you will need to adjust the cooking time) and place onto a baking tray. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm the patties up.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan and fry the sliders over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, until cooked through and golden on the outside. You'll probably need to do this in a couple of batches depending on the size of your pan. Remove and set aside on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
- Place a handful of salad leaves into each bowl. Scatter with the diced avocado, sliced peppers and black beans and top with the salmon sliders. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
For the habanero lime dressing
- Stir all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. If you'd prefer a thinner dressing, add more lime juice or a little water.
Habanero chilli peppers (called scotch bonnets here in the UK but very similar!) are super duper hot - normally. Mine were fairly tame and so I used two in the quantity of dressing you see written. The crème fraîche tames the heat a bit but please adjust depending on your tolerance to heat - don't blow your head off! And you could substitute a less frightening chilli if you like, but the citrussy flavour of habanero/scotch bonnet is stunning!
Also, if you don't eat dairy I'm sure you could make an equally awesome dressing using soaked cashews or similar!
You don't have to refrigerate the sliders before cooking but it does make them easier to handle.
Nutrition information is just for the sliders