Wild Salmon with Basil Aioli and Quinoa


Grilled salmon with fresh basil aioli sauce on MarlaMeridith.com

Seriously. This has got to be one of my favorite meals ever. I was recently sent a gorgeous shipment of Copper River Salmon from Anderson Seafoods. Have I ever told you that salmon is my all time favorite food? My love for it is split with layer cake. Those are odd foods to be thought of paired together. Thankfully, I do not eat them on one plate. Just sayin’ that I love them both.

*bonus* This meal is also gluten free. Speaking of which my GF Blueberry Lemon Muffins were just featured over at the Huffington Post with the Panera Dream Day team. Cool eh?

Grilled salmon with fresh basil aioli sauce on MarlaMeridith.com

Along with my gratitude for this shipment I wanted to share with you one of my all time favorite ways to prepare salmon. I got the idea for grilled salmon smothered in a basil aioli sauce from my go-to restaurant in Laguna Beach called Nirvana Grille.

Along with gorgeous salmon. I simply must share these beauties growing in our front yard…

Pink and White Roses on MarlaMeridith.com blog

This is among one of the best meals I have ever had. I had to take matters into my own hands so I can enjoy it it home when I can’t visit them.

They serve it with black beluga lentils (which are amazing) and I decided to switch those up for black quinoa. Just for kicks.

Mayonnaise and basil sauce for salmon on blue plate

Anderson Seafoods also sent me wonderful Alaskan Halibut and shrimp…..but here I am keeping the focus on salmon. My basil aioli would taste awesome on those too.

Salmon with a rich & creamy sauce that is super healthy and light, tastes rich and full bodied is a total win. As a matter of fact this aioli would be great as a dip or a spread on your favorite sandwich. I would also like it with grilled kebabs. Remember my kebabs in hot dog buns? This sauce would be super on those too.

Grilled salmon with fresh basil aioli sauce on MarlaMeridith.com

I had recently asked your opinions about your favorite fresh herbs and spices. In this aioli sauce a fresh batch of basil is essential.

Herbs, spices and seasonings on MarlaMeridith.com blog

I don’t know if it’s because I am typing out this post over looking the mountains in Utah (currently attending evo’11 conference) or is is just that I love my job so much? Big *smiles*

Grilled salmon with fresh basil aioli sauce on MarlaMeridith.com

What is your favorite way to prepare salmon?


Wild Salmon with Basil Aioli and Quinoa

Makes 4 servings

  • I recommend a very high quality salmon & try not to over cook it for the best flavor.
  • I like to cook my salmon with the skin on. If you are doing this start with the flesh side down and then 1/2 through grilling time flip. The skin will have a nice crispy char if cooked last.
  • My quinoa used about double the water than the packaging recommended. Try what they recommend and continue to add more liquid as needed.


Salmon and Quinoa

  • 1 cup Black Quinoa, cook according to package directions
  • 16 ounces Wild Salmon, trim to 4 ounce portions (assume about 4 ounces per person)
  • Olive Oil
  • a few pinches Smoked Paprika
  • a few pinches Garlic Salt
  • a few pinches cracked Black Pepper
  • Cooking Spray for the grill
Basil Aioli Sauce
  • 3 ounces light Mayonnaise or Homemade Mayo
  • 10 grams or 1/4 cup packed fresh Basil leaves
  • 4 teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • a few pinches Smoked Paprika
  • a few pinches Garlic Salt
  • a few pinches cracked Black Pepper


  • a few sprigs fresh basil leaves


Quinoa: Cook according to package directions. Toss with some olive oil or basil infused olive oil and set aside.

Grilled Salmon: Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Coat both sides of the salmon with some olive oil and season with smoked paprika, garlic salt and black pepper. With the grill off spray or brush clean grates with cooking spray or olive oil. Pre heat grill to medium high heat. Grill fish flesh side down for about 4 minutes. Carefully flip with a fish spatula or with tongs. Cook fish for another 3-4 minutes reducing heat to medium if needed. Fish should be flakey with a slightly darker center. Transfer to a plate.

Basil Aioli: Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Season to taste.

Assembly: Plate some quinoa topped with salmon and basil aioli sauce. Add a sprig of fresh basil for garnish.


Salmon Recipe Links

*This post was included in Add A Pinch Mingle Mondays

Graphic with pink fleur de lis for MarlaMeridith.com

MarlaMeridith.com Anderson Seafoods Delivery Trucks

Giveaway Details

This giveaway is now closed. Stay tuned for more fun promos!

Great news: Anderson Seafoods has generously offered to giveaway one friend of MarlaMeridith.com a $150 gift card that can be redeemed at any time at their online store. Yes, you can make your very own Wild Salmon with Basil Aioli, kebabs, curries, etc with the seafood you choose. Awesome huh!

Here is something else you should know. Anderson Seafoods promotes sustainable fishing in a BIG way. “Our goal is to do business with commercial fisheries that employ sustainable practices and ensure that harvesting practices fit within long-term resource conservation targets and sustainability goals.” What that means for us as consumers, is the best fish, with the most exemplary practices can be delivered whenever we need it to our door steps. They have even partnered with UPS in an eco friendly shipping program.

How to Enter

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for all of your entries. Congrats to Susan from Our Family Eats.

This giveaway is open to USA visitors and will be open until Wednesday, July 13rd at midnight PST.

The winner will be chosen at Random.org and will be notified via email, so please make sure your email address is correct. You will have 48 hours to respond to me, or a new winner will be chosen.

Tell me what your favorite seafood is and how you like to prepare it. You can leave a recipe link if you wish. To earn additional entries, leave a separate comment for each of the steps listed below. If you don’t leave separate comments for each step, the number generator will not count them as separate entries.

  1. Re-tweet this giveaway, being sure to include my Twitter handle (@MarlaMeridith). Here’s a sample tweet you could use: Love seafood? @MarlaMeridith has an @AndersonSeafoods giveaway worth $15o. Stop by to enter http://su.pr/2auYao
  2. Follow @MarlaMeridith on Twitter
  3. Follow @AndersonSeafood on Twitter
  4. Sign up for the Anderson Seafoods newsletter on the lower right corner of their homepage
  5. Add the MarlaMeridith.com badge into your sidebar or somewhere on your blog
  6. Sign up for my Email or RSS feeds
  7. Stumble this post

*You can stay in touch with MarlaMeridith.com or Anderson Seafoods on Facebook too

 MarlaMeridith.com Disclosure: I was sent a package of various fish from Anderson Seafoods. This is a sponsored blog post. The experiences I speak of are my own. I only share products and ingredients on MarlaMeridith.com that I stand behind and love. Please contact us if you would like your brand to be featured here at ads at familyfreshcooking dot com


~ Marla Meridith

Join the Conversation

226 thoughts on “Wild Salmon with Basil Aioli and Quinoa

  1. I love most seafood but I’m in the camp of never make it. I’m always afraid of under cooking. But on the grill is probably my favorite way to have it. Grilling works for most anything.

    Your recipe looks awesome. I love quinoa but didn’t know there was a black! I’ll have to look into that. Might make for a cool contrast to some recipes.

    1. When I stumbled upon that black quinoa I grabbed it from the shelf so quickly. I knew it would be a beautiful contrast to the color of the salmon and the aioli sauce. The flavor of it is great too. There is also red and rainbow hued quinoa if you want to mix things up. I hope you have the opportunity to try this salmon. You will want to grill it up weekly I’m sure 🙂

  2. Signed up for the Anderson newsletter but used a different email addy so let me know if you need to know what that is.

  3. Wow, my favorite foods are close to the same as yours- salmon and homemade chocolate chip cookies (again, not together :)) I usually make salmon once per week in my household, and like to change it up every time. I prefer it simple- brushed with a bit of olive oil, seasoned with some sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and then broiled until a bit brown and crispy on the outside (but still flaky and moist on the inside). Lately, I like to just put some smoked paprika and some chili powder on it after it is cooked. I am definitely on a spicy food kick!

  4. Your salmon sounds fabulous! I need to find black quinoa, it looks so pretty on the plate. Aside from salmon, I guess my favorite seafood to prepare is shrimp. I’ve been making a pretty good shrimp fried rice dish for a few months now. 🙂

  5. I love all sea food but the first thing that comes to mind is clam chowder made with pacific razor clams (I must have my trip to the oregon coast on my mind)

    1. A trip to the Oregon coast sounds like so much fun! Clam chowder is awesome in the cooler months. I always prefer the hard to find Manhattan clam chowder. Guess I just need to make it myself 😉 Have an awesome trip!

  6. My favorite is making salman in foil on the grill that I drizzle with a mixture of honey and low sodium soy sauce. So good, especially where the edges get blackened.

    1. Jody, I have never put mine in foil but I must. would also ensure not sticking to the grill 🙂 The honey & soy sauce sounds wonderful.

  7. I love freshly caught shrimp from the Gulf, quickly sautéed with a homemade chile oil and served on top of a simple arugula salad.

    1. Susan, I was just out in New Orleans and that Gulf seafood was amazing. The shrimp was spectacular & we had it prepared every which way. Homemade chile oil sounds good too.

  8. WOW!!! That is so beautiful, and I LOVE your pictures of your flowers!!! Also, I am VERY jealous of your job where you can be cooking in your kitchen one day and looking at the mountains in Utah the next!

    My favorite way to prepare seafood is to get a fresh shipment of salmon from Alaska (my good friend fishes up there!-once a year or so she will send me some of her salmon) and simply dress it with fresh lemon and cracked pepper and throw it on the grill. We like to eat it with grilled pitas and homemade corn salsa. YUM!!!

  9. I love salmon. I don’t buy it and cook it at home because it’s expensive. When I order it out, I really like it blackened.

  10. My favorite staple is baked salmon with a generous drizzle of olive oil and simple spices and herbs. However, I just recently made salmon baked in a foil pouch with roasted tomatoes, so that might be the new favorite!

    1. Karen, cast iron pans are awesome for cooking salmon. Such a great crust is achieved on the outside of the fish. One of my all time favorites too. The dill butter is a great idea.

    1. Allison, I know isn’t that color gorgeous! It always scares me so when dyes and yuck are added to fish. I mean really & why?!

  11. Favorite seafood.. that one’s hard! I’d have to say oyster – I’ve never met a raw oyster I didn’t like 🙂

  12. Yuuuum! This sounds so so tasty Marla! I’m a huge fan of salmon, but unfortunately I can only eat very small portions of cooked salmon (raw, cured and smoked is fine, but I think the fats change when the salmon is cooked and for some reason it doesn’t suit me). I can’t wait to try the basil aioli once my basil is up and growing again!

  13. My favorite way is either just way way that you did it ( I will be posting my version shortly, as I made it for my friend last weekend), or the basic way that my mom always prepared salmon: A little butter, alot of lemon and dill, topped with a homemade yogurt dill sauce. YUM!

  14. we love salmon in our house. we like it plain and simple – roasted on high heat with a bit of olive oil, s and p! black quinoa, kind of all over that idea!!

  15. My favorite is broiled salmon with a mix of lots of herbs and spices, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice.

    1. Louis, I cannot get enough rainbow trout. Had it over a salad today. Also LOVE Steelhead trout. Will be living on that in Telluride next month. The sauteed scallions & white wine sauce sound great!

  16. Ah, I absolutely love seafood and I’m a huge fan of salmon, but my husband is not. One time – I thought I’d be sneaky and make a salmon patty and just refer to it as a “fish patty”… he took a bite, looked at me and asked “what the heck is this?” Needless to say, I’ve never attempted to “sneak” salmon into our dinners again.

    My favorite seafood dish to make? Emeril Lagasse’s Eggplant and Shrimp Bake (you can find it on the Food Network website). It has wonderful flavors and makes an excellent side to a grilled pork chop. I can definitely get my husband to eat his fair share of this! It’s so delicious.

    I’m also lucky enough to live next to the ocean (on the East Coast, though) and blue crabs are abundant. We went crabbing earlier this summer (around Memorial Day) and let me tell you… while the crabbing may be tedious.. there’s nothing better than cooking something you caught yourself.

    1. Samantha, your own fresh catch is so rewarding.I hope to be able to do that this summer. I would love to catch my own trout in Colorado. Also want to learn how to gut & filet the fish. On my trip to New Orleans a few weeks ago I was able to sample a bunch of fresh oysters and goodies straight off the boat. Amazing experience indeed!
      Sorry to hear those salmon burgers didn’t go over well with your hubs. It is a fish that has a distinct taste which is why I love it so. Big on heavy flavor over here. That shrimp bake by Emeril sounds really good. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  17. I also subscribed to Anderson’s Seafood newsletter. They have some amazing looking recipes on that site! =]

  18. I love mussels and one of my favorites is a Thai Curry recipe. I love your blog! Thanks for the giveaway.

  19. Copper River King salmon is my all time favorite seafood. When I wrote my book Food Heroes, I had the opportunity to write about the man responsible for bringing it into the lower 48 states — Jon Rowley! Wonderful giveaway!

    1. Georgia, the experiences you had and the folks you met while writing Food Heroes are so inspirational. Jon Rowley is an amazing man. So glad he made it so that we can all enjoy some of the best food on Earth 🙂

  20. Love! And this recipe is spot on. I like my salmon roasted and wrapped in prosciutto with a light yogurt sauce. I know I’m not eligible for the giveaway but I’ll tweet it anyway! Thanks Marla!

  21. My favorite seafood is ahi tuna. I have a recipe for seared ahi tuna tacos with an avocado/tomato salsa that I found years ago on the Food Network website. It was one of the first meals I made for my husband while we were dating. We now eat them fairly regularly.

  22. Marla,
    Your salmon dish reminds me of a salmon dish I enjoyed a while back in a restaurant – served over warm French lentils. Salmon is one of my favorite fishes too, especially when it is just slightly underdone. Fish is so easy to make, and I love it simply prepared. Gorgeous photos!

    1. Jeanette, I like my salmon best when it is slightly underdone too. I love the skin extra crispy, a nice caramelized exterior and the inside not cooked through. The timing needs to be spot on….but simple to do once you get used to preparing it.

  23. We like salmon & tilapia. We don’t have a grill so we usually bake it in the oven. I love maple flavors with salmon and my kids love herbs/pesto with tilapia.

    1. Hi Amy! Thanks for sharing that salad link with me. It looks light, healthy & full of flavor. Just the way I love my food 🙂

  24. Copper River Salmon is our family’s favorite salmon. It’s pretty expensive too…but it’s SO DELICIOUS! I’m bookmarking this recipe as you mentioned it’s the best! I can’t wait to try… I know this is going to be a good salmon recipe! Thank you for sharing Marla!

  25. My boyfriend made a killer shrimp kabob on the grill a few weeks ago; it had, well, shrimp, baby roma tomatoes, yellow peppers, and pineapple. We brushed them with a carribean specialty sauce from our local grocery store. The sweetness of the kabob combined with the char of the grill was delicious!

    1. Alyssa, lucky you to have an amazing boyfriend who cooks for you – grills nonetheless! The pineapple and caribbean sauce sounds really good.

  26. I just love salmon! My favorite way to prepare salmon is definitely on the grill, with lemon butter, and fresh herbs! I love your food, and recipe blog. I signed up for email subscriptions, so I don’t miss any yummy posts! Have a wonderful day, and great post 🙂

  27. Salmon is hands down my favourite seafood. I adore it, love to prepare it simply to bring out the salmony flavour. And I am a diehard smoked salmon girl, i will eat it every chance I get!

    1. Carolyn, me too I fell in love with smoked salmon as a kid. Way before I ever liked regular salmon. Scottish smoked is my favorite. I’ll never forget those hot NY bagels with gobs of cream cheese & smoked salmon I would slam when I lived there. OMG…. These days I put it on spelt cakes, keeps me from falling into a carb coma.

  28. salmon – we love to grill salmon; marinate in a bit of soy, ginger and brown sugar, grilled and served over brown rice and a side of grilled baby bok choy – Yum!

    1. Debra, that little bit of sugar must help the outside caramelize perfectly. Love bok choy too. Have not had it in a while though – thanks for the reminder.

  29. Love salmon cooked in a sizzling cast iron skillet with just salt & pepper. Also delicious the next day on a spinach salad with mushrooms and honey dijon vinaigrette. Love your website!! Thanks for all of the GREAT recipes!

    1. Kaci, that is a nice way to prepare salmon. I like a hot piece of fish that wilts the greens a bit when you place it on top. You are right, such a great combo. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  30. We actually do Salmon with a little egg wash and dipped in Kettle Chips crushed Buffalo Bleu chips (in food processor with a bit of parsley). Sounds crazy, right? It is outrageously good…Done in the pan and finished quickly under the broiler to keep everything crispy.

    1. Elisa, that is so creative!! Have never thought to put an egg wash on salmon let alone Buffalo Bleu Chips. I bet that’s outrageously good. I think you could convert non fish eaters with that recipe. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  31. I LOVE salmon! Copper River is one of my favorites. Been making it for the kids too! I started buying wild caught because there is a less fishy taste. My daughter actually likes any kind of seafood and she is 4!

    1. Jen, that is so cool that your little gal loves her seafood. My kids go through phases, but I am happy that there is always some that they like. Wild fish does taste better & I feel better knowing it is healthier for us too 🙂

  32. I love Flounder but I only prepared it in Arizona when we lived close to mexico. So I will go with mahi mahi and we bread it with a coconut breading and fry it in a beer sauce.. sooo good

  33. I love mackerel. Salmon is a close second, but I prefer salmon raw, sashimi style. For mackerel, however, it’s gotta be stewed in a spicy Korean sauce with lots of radish, ginger and onions.

  34. I love making (or buying) ponzu sauce, and marinating salmon in it. Then broiling the salmon, coating it in the ponzu halfway through until it caramelizes on the edges and topping it with black sesame seeds and sliced scallions. mmmm

  35. my favorite seafood recipe was some simple grilled scallops i made once with lemon juice and red pepper – i put it in a salad with avacado, grilled grape tomatoes, and almond slivers. yum!

  36. i love salmon, simply browned in butter. served over quinoa with julienned carrots, fresh thyme, lemon juice, and olive oil. but my favorite sea food is found at sushi bars beside the sea…:)

  37. One of the few seafood items I like is actually salmon. I love it marinated in an asian inspired sauce and grilled. I wish I had some right now!

  38. Gorgeous plate of food right there. I’m dying to get to the Salmon farm in Tasmania, something beautiful about them I think. My brothers speciality is Asian marinated salmon fillet, ahhhh drool. I’ll be sure to try this here recipe and let ya know. Yum!

    1. Hi Anna, I hope you do get to try this recipe. Your brother’s dish is something I need to try too. Tasmania sounds like a beautiful place to visit a salmon farm.

  39. It’s impossible to name just one favorite! I love grilled salmon with a delicious teriyaki sauce. I also love pecan encrusted halibut with any sort of berry topping–although I have to admit: I haven’t actually MADE that by myself. Thanks for the fabulous giveaway.

  40. My quick favourite is poached wild salmon steaks! Just add onions, garlic, fresh dill & cilantro, rice vinegar, tamari, lemon and water to a skillet, then simmer and add salmon skin side down till cooked!

  41. A favorite seafood? That’s almost impossible! I love all kinds and it’s hard to pick just one. I’d have to say my #1 would be crab legs, but that’s not something I cook at home. Lately we’ve been eating scallops a lot, and I love salmon as well.

  42. I signed up for the newsletter…. My favorite is Salmon with garlic and herbs boiled in the over…. My ex-mother-in-law showed me how…. Wow is all I can say!

    1. Rella, I live the idea of the fennel. I never use that on my fish but must try it. Perfect idea for mahi mahi. Would be great on tilapia too.

  43. My favorite way to prepare salmon is roasting it in the oven on a bed of asparagus and topping it with a shallot caper sauce. Easy and delicious!

    I am going to try your grilled recipe tonight w/ the aioli!

  44. Marla,
    Thank you so much for the mentions on the blogs. We love you coming in and supporting the restaurant. By the way, we do have our arctic char, which is our sustainable choice for salmon, cooked with the basil aioli that we make, which is on our spring and summer menu. We will just be changing to our fall, winter option this month. Just a update on our basil aioli to share with your followers:

    Nirvana Grille Basil Aioli
    3 Parts Mayonnaise or Vegannaise
    1.5 Parts Basil, Organic or Washed Very Well
    .5 Parts Chopped Garlic
    Salt and Pepper To Taste

    In a Cuisinart, blend basil and garlic, until well minced. Add mayonnaise and blend until incorporated. Do not over mix or mayonnaise will split. Mix in Salt and Pepper to taste, by hand.

    At the restaurant we prepare Arctic Char or Salmon baked in a 400 degree oven, with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, until 3/4 of the way cooked. We then remove the fish, add a 1/4 inch layer of the aioli from side to side along the top of the fish, and finish cooking to caramelize the aioli and keep the fish tender. Enjoy!

    Best Regards,
    Chef Lindsay and our Nirvana Grille Kitchens

  45. Hi Marla,
    I tried this last night on corn tortillas with homemade salsa for a fish taco. Amazing! I will be using that basil aioli on anything I can from now on. I was just following up on the email that I sent you regarding the possibility of you hiring a personal assistant. Please let me know if you would be interested in meeting and discussing that.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi there Melanie! Congrats on your move to Telluride! Things have been so busy here with summer break. Currently I am not looking to hire but I would love to meet you for coffee to talk about what you are looking to do. Shoot me another email so we can set something up!