These salmon tacos are easy to make and full of fresh flavors from the chunky avocado salsa and simple slaw. Bright, light and delicious any night of the week!
This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page.
Growing up in the UK, we didn't have Mexican food when I was young. And even once I was introduced to it, fajitas became our go-to. Tacos are a much newer thing for me, but one we've wholeheartedly adopted.
I've been lucky enough to have some really good tacos in Mexico, including some made with blue corn tortillas, as well as some tasty California-style fish tacos on trips there. At home, we often keep things simple with carne asada or pork carnitas, but it can be good to change things up too.
What goes into these salmon tacos
These may not be the most authentic taco, but they are certainly packed with tasty flavor and lots of fantastic texture, too. Basically they have four main components:
- Pan-fried salmon, with a simple blackening-style seasoning;
- A simple slaw of cabbage, shallot/red onion and cilantro with a light lime dressing;
- An avocado-tomato salsa, and
- Chipotle crema/cream to top it all off (though just plain crema will be good too).
Each of them is easy to make and fun to put together in your tortilla. And then comes the challenge trying not to spill the toppings all over the place as you've probably put in a bit too much. Or is that just me?
An easy cook and prep ahead options
The only bit that needs any cooking is the salmon. I have cooked it simply in a skillet/frying pan to start then put under the broiler/grill but feel free to cook differently if you prefer.
I have tried this plain but I really like the simple seasoning here - it's more or less a blackening seasoning and is just enough to give a lovely extra flavor. For an extra minute's work, it's well worth it.
I don't always make the chipotle crema, but it adds a lovely little spice kick, if you like a little heat. If not, a simple drizzle of Mexican crema or just a squeeze of lime in some sour cream will be great, too.
You can make the crema and the slaw a bit ahead of time and just chill in the fridge. The salsa can also be made slightly ahead, just not too long as the avocado can brown if you don't get it well coated with lime. Then, all you need to do at dinner time is heat the tortillas and cook the salmon.
These salmon tacos make a delicious, easy and fresh-tasting meal that is healthy and relatively quick to make. Oh, and don't worry about making a bit of a mess, that's half the fun.
Enjoy tacos? Try these!
- Tacos al pastor
- Jerk shrimp tacos
- Sweet potato tacos
- Lobster tacos
- Plus get more ideas for Mexican recipes (which I know this is only loosely, but I have many that are truly authentic!)
For the slaw
- 1 cup cabbage 80g, approx (packed)
- 1 shallot or approx ¼ small red onion
- ¼ cup cilantro coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper approx - a few grinds
For the salsa
- 1 tomato large
- 1 avocado
- 1 tablespoon cilantro coriander, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- A few grindings of salt and pepper
For the chipotle cream (optional - see notes)
- 3 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo plus 1tsp adobo sauce
- ¾ lb salmon 340g
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 corn tortillas approx, smaller size but not very small street taco size
For slaw and salsa
- First make the slaw by finely shredding the cabbage and finely slicing the shallot/onion then mixing these with the cilantro, lime juice, red wine vinegar, oil and pepper. Toss well then set aside to 'rest' while you make everything else.
- For the salsa, roughly chop the tomato and avocado. Don't actively remove the tomato seeds but you may want to hold back some that come away from the main tomato flesh to save it being too liquid. Add the cilantro, lime juice, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to the tomato and avocado and mix, being careful not to break up the avocado as you stir.
- If making chipotle cream, finely chop the chipotle pepper, removing the seeds (or leave in if you prefer hotter but be aware you may be conscious of the seeds in the cream) then mix the pieces, the adobo and the sour cream until well combined. As an alternative, you can simply use Mexican crema, or add a little lime juice to some sour cream.
- For the salmon, cut the salmon into two or more pieces so they are not too thick steaks. I prefer to leave the skin on to get crispy and hold them together, but you can also remove. Mix together the paprika, salt, onion powder and black pepper and rub it all over the salmon pieces.
- To cook the salmon, get a small skillet/frying pan that will go under the broiler/grill warm and add a little oil. Add the salmon, skin side down and cook for a couple minutes until you can see the sides showing they are cooking. Meanwhile get the broiler/grill hot. Put the pan under the broiler and continue cooking the salmon until cooked through, around another 5 minutes or so depending on the thickness. Alternatively, you can simply finish cooking the salmon on the stove top, just either way flake it slightly to test it is done.
- While the salmon is cooking, warm the tortillas either in a dry skillet/frying pan, under the broiler/grill or in the microwave (most packets will give instructions, I prefer a dry skillet for a minute or two each side).
- If you like, serve the slaw, salsa, chipotle cream and salmon for everyone to build their own tacos. Alternatively prepare all by adding some slaw to the bottom of a tortilla, top with pieces of salmon and add some salsa and crema over the top.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
This post was first shared in September 2015 and has been updated, primarily with new photos and video added.