Maple Grilled Salmon with Cauliflower Rice


Maple Grilled Salmon with Cauliflower Rice is light and healthy, but doesn’t skimp on flavor!


I am this excited to share tonight’s dinner of Maple Grilled Salmon and Cauliflower Rice with you!!

But first, hi. How was your weekend? I completed the sloth certification course I started in Jamaica by unplugging and taking it totally easy this weekend, including spending QT with the fam both Friday and Sunday, and taking a gasp, NAP on Saturday!

It was terrific. :)

Oh, I guess Ben and I attended a friend’s “stock the bar” party Saturday night, where I tried cake vodka for the first time. It tasted just like a vanilla birthday cake with vanilla icing, and was pretty much the greatest thing ever. I think it was 3 Olives brand. Have you tried?

At any rate, thanks to the R&R I’m feeling refreshed and re-energized today, and ready for the busy week ahead. A feeling that was only enhanced by the revitalizing 3.5 mile run I took this afternoon in the beautiful weather we’ve had today. It’s the first time I’ve gone out since before Jamaica, eep!


By the way, I created a new “Workout Log” page under “Workouts” to share my daily workouts. Sometimes it feels strange to be all, hey, here’s how much I sweat today!, followed by pictures and a recipe for soup, for instance, so this will be a great page to log what I’m going, even if I don’t mention it in a post!

At any rate, after my run, I got dinner started by firing up our brand new grill!


All chromed out, she is, with four burners, and a nice little side burner for simmering and sauteing. Our previous grill had been recalled, so we actually got this one from Lowe’s for free. Boom!


We picked it up last night, and this afternoon I made the first grilling dinner of the season – Grilled Maple Salmon. Ob. Sessed.


Super-fresh salmon filets are marinated in a sweet & sour concoction of rice vinegar, maple syrup, and orange juice, then grilled until tender and flaky. Served over grilled asparagus and skinny “rice”. (Wait ’til you get a load of this “rice”!)


But first, zee salmon! Start by stirring together a marinade including rice vinegar, maple syrup, and fresh orange juice. That’s it!

Pour the marinade into a plastic bag, then place 4 filets inside and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours.

As I mentioned, I grilled fresh asparagus to place underneath the salmon, so at the same time I started the salmon marinade, I also prepped the asparagus.


My Mom did this the other day, and I thought it was so smart: trim a bunch of fresh asparagus, place the stalks in a plastic bag or container, then season with olive oil, salt & pepper. Do this at the same time as the salmon, and the asparagus will be all ready to go when the salmon is. Perfect!

When the salmon is done marinating, get your grill screamin’ hot. Pre-heat two burners on high then, when you’re ready to grill, turn the heat down to medium-high.


Drain the salmon marinade into a small saucepan, and boil until it reduces by half. (I know, I’m already shaming myself for this saucepan’s condition.)


When the marinade is ready, place the salmon on the grill over one burner, and the asparagus over another.


Grill the salmon for 3-4 minutes on the first side, brushing with the reduced marinade every so often.


When the “tail” end of the filet is almost opaque, flip ‘er on over.


Some people leave the salmon skin on, but it kind of makes me naush, so I just peel it off with tongs. It comes right off.


While the salmon finishes cooking on the other side for 3-4 more minutes, roll the asparagus up and down to cook evenly. You really can’t mess these babies up, they’re pretty fool proof.


Serve the sweet, sour & smoky grilled salmon over the asparagus, and a pile of fluffy, sauteed “rice”!


Ahhh, juicy and succulent grilled salmon. There’s nothing like it!


Maple Grilled Salmon

Serves 4


Maple Grilled Salmon is light and healthy, but doesn't skimp on flavor!


  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 4-6oz salmon filets
  • salt & pepper


  1. Combine rice vinegar, maple syrup, and orange juice into a ziplock bag. Add salmon filets and marinate for 1-3 hours.
  2. Heat grill to high, then pour the marinade into a small saucepan, and reduce by half. Lay the salmon filets on a plate and spray both sides with nonstick spray.
  3. Place salmon filets on the grill, and grill for 3-4 minutes, or you can see that salmon has cooked halfway through. Brush with reduced marinade every so often. Flip, peel back the grilled skin, and discard. Brush second side with marinade, then grill for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove to a plate then season with salt & pepper.



This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


The orange juice and maple syrup combine with the rice vinegar to make a tangy, mouthwatering flavor that is totally over the top. It really enhances the flavor of the fresh salmon.


I think I might be most tickled over the Cauliflower Rice piled underneath though.


Last week reader Beth told me she made rice out of cauliflower to serve as a low-carb side dish. I was intrigued enough to give it a whirl, and I’m SO glad I did. This stuff is the ‘ish!


All you need is 1 head cauliflower and a food processor fitted with the grating disc, or a box grater.


Here’s a peek at that grating disc.


Cut the core out of the cauliflower, then into small enough pieces to fit into the food processor shoot.


Next, let ‘er rip!

DSC_0789 DSC_0792 DSC_0793

The result is cauliflower that honest to goodness resembles rice!


You can then steam the cauliflower, or do what I did and saute it. YUM. All I did was heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet, then saute green onion and minced garlic, until the garlic was golden brown. Next I added a HEAP of the cauliflower (unsteamed) along with salt & pepper.

DSC_0812 DSC_0813

5-10 minutes later, you’ve got delicious sauteed cauliflower rice! Actually, if I closed my eyes, I might think these were hash browns. SO GOOD!


This was the perfect meal to kick-off grilling season.


Healthy, fresh, and fit.


Alright my friends! All that relaxing this weekend means that, uh, none of my to-do list got done. Where’s a self completing check list when you need one?!


The first thing I’m going to grill/have grilled this year is __________.”

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  1. Jess 04.23.2012

    Yes, I have tried the cake vodka. UV Cake is the bomb! I usually mix it with Sunkist Orange or A&W Rootbeer. Soooo good!

    • Theresa 04.23.2012

      Try it with pineapple juice & a maraschino cherry for a pineapple upside-down cake drink!!

  2. I already grilled this year- asparagus!

    Ummmm, MUSt try this rice. MUST.

  3. Emily 04.23.2012

    Kristin, this recipe couldn’t have come at a better time! My husband and I just got our first BBQ grill last night and I’ve been perusing Google Reader all day hoping for some inspiration. This is PERFECT! Not to mention my very first food processor is also arriving this week so I can try the “rice” too!

    I discovered your blog a month or two ago and we’ve already made several recipes, including the Thai Fried Quinoa, Green Monster Smoothie, Thai Turkey Brugers, and Buffalo Man ‘n’ Cheese Quinoa (we used BBQ sauce ’cause we didn’t have buffalo sauce on hand). My husband agrees that everything from your blog has turned out delicious!

    Thanks for the wonderful content Kristin; keep up the awesome work!

    • Emily 04.23.2012

      Oops – make that Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Although Man ‘n’ Cheese doesn’t sound too bad either!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.23.2012

      Oh perfect! Hope you enjoy! :)

  4. Susan 04.23.2012

    Your “rice” dish is a must try. How great is that?

  5. Lauren 04.23.2012

    You are seriously making me crave salmon. And LOVE the rice idea. Truth, I have NO idea how to use my grater on the food processor. I literally stare at it for minutes before deciding I will never figure it out. If I do, I know I’ll be making this rice.

  6. Nancy 04.23.2012

    Sounds great! That marinade would be yummy on chicken too, I think.

  7. I am dying to try that rice, I really want to make it. Looks delicious!

  8. Lindsey 04.23.2012

    Yum! Here I am… reading the blog… while eating REAL rice… wishing I had some CAULIFLOWER rice!! Such a great idea! :)

  9. I LOVE the skinny rice. I will have to make this! Can’t wait to check out your workout page.

  10. Anna Coles 04.23.2012

    This looks fantastic! Luckily we can grill year ’round here in Australia so I am always looking for new ideas, this one goes to the top of next weeks menu!

  11. Stephanie 04.23.2012

    You can do the cauliflower thing with mashed potatoes too,! Really yummy, you can do half cauliflower and half potatoes or do all cauliflower for a low carb option! :)

  12. Julie 04.23.2012

    Hey, I saw on your workout log that you did one of the Body Rock workouts. Did you invest in all of their equipment (like the bag and the other thingy for lack of a better term?) or do you modify the exercises at all? I have been interested in the Body Rock exercises but not sure I want to buy all of their gadgets other than the interval timer.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.23.2012

      No I didn’t buy any of their stuff. I just use free weights whenever she uses the pink bag, the edge of the couch when she does pushups, and use a timer app on my iphone or ipad instead of their timer!

    • Anna 04.23.2012

      I found this online timer Just plug in your round length, rest length, and “stop after”!

  13. A new gril1! How exciting! I still haven’t ever tried salmon on the grill, but I need to convince my guy to do that for me :-) When I saw the “rice” in the recipe title I had a feeling it might be cauliflower – I’ve tried cauliflower as mashed potatoes and didn’t love it, but this actually looks really great!

  14. I love that “rice” idea! I am going to find a way to get my family to love cauliflower, I will!!

  15. Raven 04.23.2012

    I must say that when I first came upon your site I was very excited! My husband and I love to be active and are trying to eat better, but I too have a crazy sweet tooth! I was super excited to find all of the amazing meals that you make! So I’ve made a few this week and they are definitely keepers! I tell my husband that I cannot wait for your next post to see what you’re cooking, so that I can give it a try as well! The first thing that we are going to grill this year will probably be burgers of some sort for ourselves and some of his fellow military members! Love your site!!

  16. Dee 04.23.2012

    This looks amazing! I have never tried cake vodka but I was just talking about this very thing this weekend, I like raspberry stoli and grape vodka, but I was questioning if I would like the whipped cream or the cake vodka.

  17. Sylvia 04.23.2012

    I love reading your blog!! We didn’t waste any time with the amazing weather we have been having and have grilled quite a bit this year–our staples are Bare chicken breasts and asparagus (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt..yum!). I don’t have much experience with fish but want to eat more of it–I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  18. Of course, we’ve all heard of making cauliflower like mashed potatoes… but I never even guessed one could turn it into “rice”! What a great idea… And I heard it here first – at Iowa Girl Eats. ;-) Thank you!

  19. Tina 04.23.2012

    We will try that rice-looks yummy! I love reading your blog:) Oh,and don’t we all own a pan like that;)

  20. Hannah Taylor 04.23.2012

    During the summer, I do EVERYTHING on the grill! We had grilled spinach/artichoke pizza tonight! Yum yum. Love the rice idea, I’ll have to see if I can trick my husband into that!

  21. Lindsey 04.23.2012

    We grilled chicken breasts this weekend to make chicken burgers with Havarti cheese and avocado :)
    I have frozen cauliflower I processed like that and wasn’t sure how to cook it, but I will try the method above, thanks!

  22. RebeccaS 04.23.2012

    The final meal picture belongs in a magazine. Seriously. I am DROOLING over this food and I don’t even like fish. Will be making this entire dish, as pictured, pronto!!

    More importantly, please tell me about a “stock the bar” party. I would love to host something like this – tell me more!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.24.2012

      Usually you throw it when moving into a new house to stock your new house with liquor, but our friends built a bar in their basement, so it was literally a party to “stock” their new bar! :D

      • Tiffany 04.25.2012

        My Bachelorette party/bridal shower was this past weekend and my friends threw me a “stock the bar” party. We recently build a house(sept.)too so it worked out perfectly! I loved it because as much as I love getting kitchen gadgets(which I REALLY do) from my other bridal showers/wedding gifts, I’m running out of room for everything! The stock the bar was perfect! :)

  23. Emily 04.23.2012

    Three Olives Vodka is dangerously good. I love their Root Beer mixed with diet cream soda.

    This recipe looks delicious and photographs beautifully! Great job!

  24. Yummm, that cauliflour rice looks mighty tasty! I’m looking forward to grilled squash and zucchini. I love the extra flavor the grill gives them.

  25. sarah 04.23.2012

    I’ve done cauliflower mashed potatoes before and we add garlic and a little bit of chicken bullion soup base. Just be careful not to add to much as it can get salty fast.

  26. Wow! That “rice” is blowing my mind! It seems to me that cauliflower is finally getting its fair shake in the food world these days. Thanks for this whole meal, looks amazing!

  27. Hope 04.23.2012

    This looks so delicious! I will definitely be trying this entire meal soon. I absolutely love cauliflower, so I’m sure I will love the “rice”!

  28. Kimmie Ciccone 04.23.2012

    I can’t wait to make this recipe! I normally make mashed cauliflower.. But what a great idea as a sub. For rice… Looking forward to tricking my hubby!

  29. Yeah, I need to invest in a grill. My cuisinart griddler just won’t cut it for this.

  30. Alyssa 04.24.2012

    I am totally trying the cauliflower-rice thing. Cauliflower is one of the few vegetables I can think of that boasts tremendous nutritional value, yet no vibrant color to show it off.


    I have a certain page design request for you, Iowa Girl. I LOVE your blog and read it all the time, but every now and then I might have missed a day’s entry, which is fine because I then read two in a day (woo!). However, in wanting to go in chronological order of when you post the entries, I scroll down to the calendar of your most recent entry…and then that day’s awesome meal is given away in my search for the previous entry that I missed since I can never avert my eyes from the great things you whip up. Is there any way you could move the calendar further up toward the top of the page?

    What do you think?

  31. Kelly 04.24.2012

    Can’t wait to try that cauliflower/rice :) That is a great idea and looks delicious for a low carb low calorie side!

  32. Bethany 04.24.2012

    Mix cake vodka with orange soda and a splash of cream… DO IT. Tastes like an orange creamsicle!

    I really want to try grilling something “out of the box” the boy is all about steaks and chops etc. but I would like to try grilling salmon or even some veggies!

  33. Kristin from MN 04.24.2012

    My husband gave me an early b’day present this month – an infrared grill. I was so tired of waiting for his charcoal grill to heat up every time I wanted to grill. The first thing (and only thing so far) I have made are these chicken kabobs:!
    Yum I like the cake vodka too! I have only tried UV Cake Batter. You have to try Kinky! That is my new favorite mixed with some diet squirt or mt. dew. =)

  34. I love this “rice” idea! I’m going to have to try that one out soon!

  35. Sarah 04.24.2012

    I just whipped up some skinny rice for lunch. It was amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  36. Becky 04.24.2012

    Enjoying your recipes and beautiful photos. One suggestion. Personally, we are trying to reduce waste (only resort to plastic bags occasionally)and wondering if you could consider this in your recipes and photos? I know marinating meat and veggies is quick and easier to clean up with a baggie but then you have the waste. Just a suggestion. Great job!

  37. Erin 04.24.2012

    That marinade sounds so simple, yet delciousssss! Will be trying immediately.

    And the first thing we grilled this year was salmon and asparagus…what do you know? :-)

  38. Melissa 04.24.2012

    What a great idea with the “skinny rice” I am going to have to try that!

  39. Judy Knight 04.24.2012

    We typically use either pineapple juice or apple juice rather than orange juice … but all are equally good. melts in your mouth.

  40. Linore 04.24.2012

    Do you use “Seasond” or “Unseasond” Rice Vinegar?

  41. Angele 04.24.2012

    My husband made this today and it was absolutely delicious!

  42. Michelle Wollin 04.24.2012

    So I got this blog entry this morning and sent it to my roommate. She had all the ingredients to make this meal and whipped it up tonight for dinner. OH MY YUM! It was SO good!!! The salmon was so tender and delicious and the asparagus was to grilled to perfection. We didn’t have the “rice” because he cabbage had gone bad so we heated up italian risotto from last night and added it to our sides. Thanks so much for this recipe! We’ll be making this again soon!

  43. Fabulous! I was just thinking to myself the other day “You know, I’ve never used the grater attachment on my food processor.” I am all over that cauliflower like white on ‘rice.’

  44. LissKB 04.25.2012

    Made this with chicken last night and it was SO good and so easy! I had to broil instead of grill though (apartment-living = no grill, wahh). Can’t wait for leftover lunch. Is it sad that it’s 9am and I’m already thinking about lunch?

    As always, thanks for sharing!

  45. Karla 04.25.2012

    I made this “rice” for dinner tonight and loved it! Thanks for the great idea!

  46. […] I don’t eat a ton of meat, but I do like to eat fish like salmon, halibut, tuna and sometimes tilapia.  The hubby isn’t as much of a fish fan but will eat it if I cook it.  Last night we had a yummy maple glazed salmon recipe that I saw on Iowa Girl Eats blog.  […]

  47. So glad you tried and loved the cauliflower-rice! :-)

  48. Michelle 04.28.2012

    I made the ‘rice’ tonight and my whole family loved it!!!! My 20-month-old put down her fork and was shoveling it into her mouth by the fistful, and my 3-year-old kept asking me to cook more cauliflower. (there was no fooling them into thinking it was rice, they watch me like a hawk at dinnertime). My husband and I thought it tasted quite a bit like fried rice. Soooooo good. Btw, I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and I’m obsessed with it! I really appreciate all the recipes, workouts, and Friday favorites. Such a great blog!

  49. Tricia 05.01.2012

    SOOO happy to hear about cauliflower rice!!!!1st thing I grilled was turkey burgers.

  50. Sarah 05.04.2012


    I made your skinny rice last night. WE LOVED IT!

    Thanks for all the great recipes. We have IGE night at our house at least once a week!

    Sarah from Texas

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