Since being married I’ve learned to deal with people who aren’t naturally excited about salads. But there’s hope for everyone, especially if they haven’t experienced a decent salad. My husband has come around to the salad life and usually looks for seconds. In the name of making salads a little more interesting and flavorful, here is one we think you will love too….especially for those folks doing the paleo diet.  This recipe was inspired by Becky Winkler of A Calculated Whisk.


 This sesame-crusted Alaska salmon salad features wild-caught sockeye salmon encased in black and white sesame seeds, along with orange and grapefruit, pickled onion, and maple sriracha cashews, all on a bed of tender kale.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes


For the maple sriracha cashews:

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha or more if you like it spicy
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 small red onion or 2 shallots sliced
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup citrus juice
  • 1 tablespoon cashew butter
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale stemmed and torn into small pieces

For the sesame-crusted salmon:

  • 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 1/4 pound skin-on Alaska sockeye salmon fillet


  • To make the maple sriracha cashews, heat the avocado oil and sesame oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the cashews and cook, stirring frequently, until they start to brown. Add the maple syrup and sriracha along with a few pinches of sea salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper. Continue to cook and stir frequently until the nuts are coated in a sticky glaze and not much liquid remains in the pan. Transfer the cashews to a parchment-lined plate and cool completely, then break up any large clumps. Maple sriracha cashews can be made up to two days ahead and stored in an airtight container.
  • To make the salad, begin by prepping the pickled onions. Place the sliced onions in a bowl, pour in the rice vinegar, and toss well. Let the onions pickle while you prepare the other ingredients, tossing them a couple more times to make sure they pickle evenly. Pickled onions can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Drain before adding to the salad.
  • Next, prepare the citrus. Peel the grapefruit and oranges by slicing off segments of rind with a sharp knife, reserving them for making the dressing, until no peel or pith remains. Slice the fruit into rounds, halving the rounds if they’re large.
  • To make the dressing, squeeze the reserved citrus peels into a measuring cup to yield 1/4 cup of juice. Add the cashew butter and a splash of hot water and whisk until smooth, then whisk in the toasted sesame oil, maple syrup, and ground ginger. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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