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Gluten-free BBQ Salmon BLT Salad has a homemade smoky-sweet salmon rub and is ready in 30 minutes!

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Hi everyone, I hope you had a nice weekend! Did you do anything fun? It’s beginning to feel a bit like springtime around here. We were treated to a gorgeous, 50 degree Saturday, so the boys and I headed downtown for an afternoon on the river walk!


Stopping first for lunch at a local brewery where they give all the “kids” wikki stix to play with before their food comes. I could not. stop. laughing!


The sun was warm, the sky was blue, and the river walk was packed with sun-starved walkers and bikers – us included. In general Ben and I don’t like to sit around the house on the weekends so it was nice to be able to take the activity outdoors for a change instead of heading to the mall or something.

Local Mamas: we ended up making it to the botanical center on MLK Jr Day and practically had to drag Lincoln out the door – he had a great time wandering through the “jungle”. It’s a great place for that in-between age – too old to sit in a stroller all day but too young to get a ton out of the Science Center for instance (for the price tag, anyway!)


It was so warm that we stopped at my favorite little bakery/cafe La Mie, for my favorite iced vanilla almond milk latte on the way home. Mmm. Great little Saturday!


We also picked up fresh salmon and tuna to make sushi later that night after the L-man went to bed. It turned out so well last time that we couldn’t wait more than a few weeks to make it again. (Here’s a sushi roll tutorial >)


Salmon rolls and nigiri by yours truly, along with a few tuna creations by dear Ben, split and enjoyed while watching Gone Girl. Usually books-turned-movies disappoint me with how much of the plot is left out, but I was pleasantly surprised by everything they managed to pack into the movie (granted, it was 2-1/2 hours long!) I really enjoyed it though Ben, who didn’t read the book, correctly guessed what would happen throughout the entire movie, about 30 minutes in. I don’t know how he does it?! Needless to say he wasn’t super impressed, but I was sad when both the sushi and show ended!


On Sunday we drove a couple hours east to Iowa City to have breakfast with a friend who’s back and forth between India, where’s he’s working for a few years, then came home and hung out all day. It was on and off raining and kind of blah. Looking at pictures of the BBQ Salmon BLT Salad I made last week brightened my day though – how gorgeous are these colors? A feast for the eyes and the tastebuds!

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Ben and I have been trying hard to eat more mindfully lately, and take better care of ourselves. As we grow older we don’t bounce back as fast from indulging in heavy foods that we shouldn’t be eating anyway (and I don’t mean a fun and indulgent occasional dinner out, but like, ordering ribs from the neighborhood BBQ joint on a Tuesday!)

Anyway our new life motto is, honoring our bodies. How namaste of us, bahaha. Honestly it started as a total joke but we’re actually taking it seriously! Are we honoring our bodies when we eat ribs and pizza? No. When we choose to make a cheese-filled dish for dinner instead of a vegetable-rich one? No. When we lazily order take out when we can easily make a meal at home? No!

Since adopting the motto several weeks ago we’ve been eating out less, planning dinners like salads more, and drinking tons of water. I won’t say we’re done indulging because one thing Ben and I connect on is trying ALL THE FOODS, and everything in moderation will always be a part of my vocabulary, but we’re trying to make better day-to-day choices and are feeling great so far – both physically and mentally.

Part of those better choices include eating lots of fresh and colorful meals like my BBQ Salmon BLT Salad!

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Fresh greens are dotted with halved cherry tomatoes and crispy bacon (that’s the BLT part and like I said, everything in moderation, including bacon!) then sprinkled with creamy avocado and a homemade BBQ spice rubbed salmon filet. This salad is entree, all the way!

What do I mean by that? Well, when I say we’ve been eating a lot of salads, I don’t mean iceberg lettuce topped with shredded carrots and diced celery. I’m talking big ol’ salads with staying power and healthy ingredients that have a purpose. I chose a baby kale blend base for max nutrients, and included luscious avocado because it’s full of healthy, filling fats. In my opinion, healthy does not always mean low calorie or low fat – just the right kinds of each.

The salmon is the real star though. Rubbed in a homemade BBQ spice blend of smoked paprika, brown sugar, salt, and pepper, the filets are seared in a skillet then sent to the oven to bake for a short time so they’re crispy on the outside, and tender and juicy on the inside. Ben proclaimed it to be the best salmon he’s ever had and I don’t disagree (psst, Lincoln loved it too!)

Drizzled with your favorite dressing, this filling, feel good recipe will be ready in under 30 minutes.

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Start by placing 3 slices bacon in a large, cold cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet then turn the heat to medium and cook until the bacon is nice and crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain then chop when cool, and remove all but 1 Tablespoon grease from the skillet.

I love bacon in this salad because, well, do I really need to explain? HA! Honestly, I think a big part of successfully eating healthfully is being satiated when you put down your fork, and a little bit of bacon definitely does that for me.

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Next take out 2, 6oz wild-caught salmon filets. We’ve certainly been getting our fill of salmon lately, and I absolutely love it. Wild caught salmon has a ton of health benefits including being high in Omega 3 fatty acids and lots of vitamins.

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Next mix up the easy, 4-ingredient homemade BBQ rub that includes 1 teaspoon each smoked paprika and salt, and 1/2 teaspoon each brown sugar and pepper. Smokey, sweet, and spicy – it’s killer!

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Squeeze 1/2 fresh lemon over the filets then generously sprinkle with the spice rub and gently, well, rub into the salmon. :)

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Turn the heat under the skillet up to medium-high then add the filets, skin-side up and sear for 2 minutes or until golden brown and caramelized. Flip then sear for 3 minutes on the other side, and then place the entire skillet (make sure it’s oven-safe) into a 400 degree oven for 6 minutes. If your salmon filets are bigger or smaller than 6oz just adjust the baking time accordingly.

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

While the salmon is cooking through, top two plates with lettuce (I used a baby kale, arugula and radicchio blend,) 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1 chopped avocado, the chopped bacon, and then place the salmon on top. Drizzle with your favorite salad dressing, I recommend Italian (locals I use Bisignanos Italian dressing,) balsamic vinaigrette, or fresh basil vinaigrette, and enjoy!

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad


Gluten-free BBQ Salmon BLT Salad has a homemade smoky-sweet salmon rub and is ready in 30 minutes!


serves 2

  • 2, 6oz salmon filets
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • Mixed greens (I used a baby kale, arugula, and radicchio blend)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add smoked paprika, salt, brown sugar, and pepper to a small dish then mix to combine and set aside.
  2. Place bacon in a large, cold cast iron or other oven safe skillet then turn heat to medium and cook until bacon is crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain then chop when cool. Remove all but 1 Tablespoon bacon grease from the skillet then turn heat up to medium-high.
  3. Squeeze lemon juice over salmon then sprinkle seasoning mix generously on top and rub in lightly. Add salmon to skillet skin side up then saute for 2 minutes. Flip then saute for 3 minutes, and then place the entire skillet into the preheated oven and bake for 6 minutes.
  4. Divide lettuce between two plates then top with chopped bacon, tomatoes, avocado, and BBQ salmon. Serve with your favorite salad dressing - I recommend Italian, balsamic vinaigrette, or Basil Vinaigrette.


Spice rub from The Kitchn.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com