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Easy Canned Salmon Salad (No Mayo!)

Easy Canned Salmon Salad recipe with canned salmon, avocado, pickles, fresh herbs, pepperoncinis, and more. A mayo-free healthy salmon salad recipe for a high-protein lunch.

Salmon salad with pickles, avocado, fresh herbs and more mixed up in a white serving bowl with a golden spoon, ready to eat.

Tuna salad lovers, if you’ve never tried making salmon salad using canned salmon, I highly recommend it!

The flavor of salmon salad is very similar to tuna salad, although to me it tastes a little less fishy. 

After making my Mediterranean Salmon Salad for months on end, I’ve been changing up my daily lunch routine with different variations. 

The reason I’ve been using canned salmon instead of canned tuna is salmon is lower in mercury and higher in omega 3 fatty acids than tuna. 

While you can find brands of low mercury tuna, I simply find wild-caught canned salmon to be a delightful way of getting in my protein and some omega-3 fats.

What you’re seeing here is my current favorite salmon salad recipe. It’s loaded with creamy, tangy flavors to remind you protein doesn’t have to be boring! 

I make salmon salad mayo-free, replacing the mayo with a diced up avocado. You can easily swap out the avocado for mayonnaise or plain yogurt if that’s your jam. 

I love that this simple recipe can incorporate different veggies and doesn’t require any cooking. Of course if you have leftover baked salmon on hand, you can feel free to use it! But I love that this easy meal prep recipe requires 10 minutes or less to toss together.

It’s a great way of getting in lots of fresh ingredients and keeping you energized to avoid the afternoon slump.

All things considered, you’re getting a big boost of protein, healthy fats, and a whole lot of flavor! It’s a great option for an easy lunch and the perfect recipe for summertime.

Plus, you can find all of the healthy ingredients at any grocery store. I’m willing to bet you keep some of the ingredients on hand regularly – I know I do!

Salmon avocado salad in a white bowl with a golden spoon. A napkin and fresh basil to the side.

Let’s discuss the simple salad ingredients for canned salmon salad and ways you can customize it based on your taste preferences and what you have in the refrigerator.

Ingredients for Easy Salmon Salad:

Canned Salmon: Pick up four cans of salmon to make a big batch of salmon salad. I buy Wild Planet Wild-Caught Salmon but you can go with any brand you know you love.

I prefer using wild salmon because of the higher amount of omega 3 fats. You can also use canned tuna or canned chicken if you prefer it.

You can also use leftover salmon if you have cooked fresh salmon fillets on hand.

Dill Pickles: Pickle lovers, you’re going to go crazy over the fact that there are chopped up dill pickles in this healthy salmon salad. 

Pickles are what is responsible for a delightful crunch and a huge amount of flavor. 

Use ½ cup or more of dill pickle relish if you’d prefer it over fresh pickles. If you aren’t a fan of pickles, replace them with 1 cup of fresh chopped crunchy cucumber or celery, carrots, or any other fresh veggies you love.

Pepperoncinis: In addition to the pickles, pepperoncinis bring a huge punch of flavor to the salmon salad! They are vinegary, tangy, crunchy, and have provide a nice kick of spice.

If you don’t like spicy food, buy a jar of sliced banana peppers or mild jalapenos instead. Just be sure you replace them with something big bold and flavorful so that you aren’t missing out on flavor.

Avocado: Diced avocado replaces mayonnaise to add creamy texture and rich flavor. You can mash up the avocado instead of dicing it to make it even creamier, and you can also use more avocado.

I use one whole large avocado for 4 cans of tuna, but you can use 1.5 or 2 for more richness and flavor. You can also add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil for more richness.

Dijon Mustard: In addition to the creamy avocado, dijon mustard adds creamy texture to the salad and helps round out the flavor. Use any kind of mustard you know you love.

I also enjoy stone ground mustard in this application. Replace the mustard with 1 to 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or lime juice if you aren’t into mustard.

Fresh Herbs: While adding fresh herbs is entirely optional, they provide an extra pop of earthy flavor. My preference is fresh dill or fresh parsley but fresh basil is lovely too. Chop up any herbs you love and toss them in!

Green Onions: Green onions add a pop of onion flavor without the salad being overwhelmed by onion flavor. I admit I love red onion as well but often find it can be a bit sharp so green onions are a nice step down. If you prefer yellow onions or red onions, toss them in!

Sea Salt and Pepper: Season the salad to your personal taste with salt and pepper. You can also add in ½ teaspoon of garlic powder or 1 large clove of minced garlic. 

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Use ⅓ to ½ cup of chopped red onions instead of (or in addition to) the green onions
  • Add ⅔ cup of sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and/or chopped artichoke hearts for a Greek salmon salad recipe.
  • If you don’t enjoy pickles, swap the dill pickles out for 1 cup of fresh chopped English cucumber.
  • Use stone ground mustard instead of dijon mustard or swap the mustard out for 2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or your favorite type of vinegar.
  • If you aren’t into avocado, replace it with ⅓ to ½ cup of mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt.
  • Add in 4 to 6 ounces of feta cheese crumbles if you love feta cheese.
  • For an infusion of fresh veggies, add 1 grated carrot, ⅔ cup of cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, chopped red bell peppers, and/or up to ⅔ cup of chopped celery. You can add lots of fresh vegetables to this tasty recipe! 
  • Add in 1 to 4 hard-boiled eggs for another great source of protein and creamy flavor from the yolks.
Salmon salad with carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and more.

Now that we’re familiar with the salad ingredients, let’s make this 5-minute salmon salad!

How to Make Easy Salmon Salad:

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix until everything is well-combined.

Ingredients for salmon salad in a mixing bowl, ready to be stirred together.

Taste the salmon salad for flavor and add sea salt, lemon juice, dijon mustard, black pepper, etc. to your personal taste.

Easy salmon salad mixed up in a mixing bowl.

Enjoy the salmon salad as is or use it in a sandwich, green salad, lettuce wrap, or tortilla wraps. 

Store salmon salad in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. If you want the salad to keep longer, don’t add all of the avocado and simply add the amount of avocado you want to the portion you eat.

This way, the avocado doesn’t get too brown while the salad is being stored. If you don’t add the avocado, salmon salad will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

For meal prep, store individual portions of salmon salad in meal prep containers along with your favorite ingredients or sides to make any type of salad for lunch.

Canned salmon salad in a white bowl with fresh produce.

How to Serve Salmon Salad:

If you’re craving a light lunch, simply enjoy the salmon salad as is!

Use it for green salads using your choice of veggies and favorite salad ingredients.

I love adding a scoop of salmon salad on top of a bed of lettuce such as romaine lettuce or spinach and adding various goodies like dried fruit and chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, or crunchy pepitas and dressing it with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette or any salad dressing I’m craving. 

Toast up some bread and make a sandwich or salmon salad toast for a lovely crusty bread action.

Make a salmon salad melt, like a tuna melt using your favorite cheese. When I make a melt, I use gouda, gruyere or white cheddar cheese.

salmon salad in a white serving bowl with a golden spoon, ready to eat.

And that’s it! 

The way I see it, this easy salmon salad recipe is so versatile and customizable that I never get sick of it. I simply add what I’m in the mood for and enjoy it on toasted bread or alongside some roasted vegetables.

I particularly love protein salads like this salmon salad and tuna salads during the summer when it’s hot outside and I’m not in the mood to cook. 

Nevertheless, it’s an easy high-protein lunch that you’ll want to put on repeat no matter the time of year!

If you love high protein salad recipes like this, also try these reader favorites:

More Protein Salads:

Drop a comment below letting me know what you add to your salmon salads!

Salmon salad with pickles, avocado, fresh herbs and more mixed up in a white serving bowl with a golden spoon, ready to eat.
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4.25 from 4 votes

Easy Canned Salmon Salad

Easy, healthy canned salmon salad that's loaded with flavorful goodies! This creamy mayo-free salmon salad recipe is easy to toss together in 10 minutes or less for a high-protien meal. Customize it to your heart's delight!
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Seafood Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 275kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

  • 4 (6-oz) cans wild-caught salmon
  • 1 cup dill pickles finely chopped
  • ½ cup pepperoncinis chopped*
  • 1 large ripe avocado diced
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • 4 Tbsp dijon mustard to taste
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp fresh herbs chopped**
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix until everything is well-combined.
  • Taste the salmon salad for flavor and add sea salt, lemon juice, dijon mustard, black pepper, etc. to your personal taste. You can also add more avocado, pickles, pepperoncinis, etc. Boost this beauty with as much flavor as you'd like!
  • Enjoy the salmon salad as is or use it in a sandwich, green salad, lettuce cups, or wraps. 

Notes

Optional Additions:
cherry tomatoes, grated carrots, celery, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives, pesto sauce, artichoke hearts, or any of your favorite fresh vegetables!
Store salmon salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. If you want the salad to keep longer, don’t add all of the avocado and simply add the amount of avocado you want to the portion you eat. If you don’t add the avocado, salmon salad will keep for up to 3 days. This way, the avocado doesn’t get too brown while it is being stored.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving (of 4) | Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 1348mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g

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