These grilled salmon tacos feature a zesty red cabbage slaw, made healthier with Greek yogurt. Ready in under 30 minutes, make these tacos for an easy weeknight meal.
As a Registered Dietitian, you may be surprised to learn tacos are one of my favorite foods! They’re the perfect vehicle for tons of nutritious and flavorful ingredients. I’ll eat pretty much any kind of vegetarian or seafood taco, and love trying out new toppings.
One of my ideal taco toppings is a red cabbage slaw. This smoky cilantro lime red cabbage taco slaw adds crunchy texture, creaminess from the Greek yogurt, and zesty flavor. Plus, it’s super simple to prepare! This recipe is pescatarian, gluten free, soy free, and nut free. With a pound of grilled salmon, it serves about 4 people.
Ingredients in grilled salmon tacos + red cabbage slaw
Here are all the ingredients you need to make these tacos:
Plain Greek yogurt
Salt and Pepper
Ingredient swaps and dietary restriction substitution ideas
Make it dairy free. Use your favorite dairy free yogurt in place of Greek yogurt.
Make it vegan. Make the cabbage slaw with dairy free yogurt as above, and swap out the salmon for grilled tofu or roasted cauliflower.
Use shrimp in place of salmon, if you are not a salmon fan.
Make it spicy. You can make a spicy cabbage slaw by blending fresh jalapeno into the Greek yogurt sauce.
How to grill salmon
Start by cutting salmon into reasonable sized pieces that will be easy for you to flip with a spatula. It can be difficult to flip a large filet of fish, unless you have a giant grill spatula!
Season the salmon before it hits the grill. For this recipe, you’ll season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, and lime juice.
Add some oil to the salmon along with the seasonings. The oil will help prevent the salmon from sticking to the grill grates.
Heat the grill or indoor grill pan on medium-high heat. Spray some oil onto the grill grates to further prevent the salmon from sticking.
Place the salmon on the grill skin side UP to start. Cover the grill (or put a lid on your grill pan) and cook for 5-8 minutes. If the salmon is a thicker piece, you may need to cook it for a few minutes longer.
Uncover the grill and flip the salmon so the skin side is DOWN. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
There are two ways to check salmon for doneness. The first is to insert a knife into the thickest part of the fish, and if the flesh is completely opaque and flakes easily, it is done. You can also use a food thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the flesh. If it reads 145 degrees F or more, it’s safe to consume.
Salmon nutrition benefits
Salmon is a nutrient dense food to include in your diet. A three ounce piece of Atlantic salmon provides:
17 grams of protein
1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA
172 mg phosphorus (17 percent of your daily needs)
422 mg potassium (12 percent of your daily needs)
31.4 mcg selenium (45 percent of your daily needs)
Salmon is one of the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are considered healthy fats, and are essential in our diet. The American Heart Association recommends consuming fatty fish like salmon twice a week for heart health benefits, including reduced risk of stroke and reduced inflammation (1).
How to make red cabbage slaw
Start by slicing red cabbage as thinly as possible. A sharp 8 inch chef’s knife works very well for this.
Use a julienne peeler to shred carrots into thin ribbons. You can also thinly chop the carrots lengthwise, if you don’t have a julienne peeler.
Thinly slice up scallions, discarding the dark green parts.
Add all of the sauce ingredients to a food processor: Greek yogurt, cumin, paprika, salt, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, and garlic. Blend it up until smooth and creamy.
Add the sauce to the vegetables and toss everything together.
Red cabbage nutrition benefits
Cabbage is a very healthy food to include in your diet. One cup of red cabbage provides:
50.7 mg Vitamin C (85 percent of your daily needs)
34 mcg Vitamin K (42 percent of your daily needs)
Red cabbage is rich in different types of antioxidants, which help keep our cells healthy and fight inflammation. Red cabbage has even more antioxidants than green cabbage, but both are nutrient dense foods.
Red cabbage contains both soluble fiber (about 30 percent) and insoluble fiber (about 70 percent). Both types of fiber are important in our diets. Soluble fiber in particular can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and enhances gut health.
Assembling the tacos
Heat up corn tortillas directly on the grill or over a gas cooktop burner. You can also heat them up in a cast iron skillet on the cooktop.
Flake the salmon with a fork to remove it from the skin. Add a few pieces of salmon to each taco, along with a small heap of red cabbage slaw.
Top with sliced avocado, scallions, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Feel free to add other toppings as desired, such as salsa, hot sauce, or cotija cheese!
These tacos are best eaten right when they are prepared, but you may have some leftover slaw. You can keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The cabbage will soften over time as it sits, but it’s still delicious! Use leftover slaw for more tacos, a burrito bowl, or mixed into a salad.
2 scallions, thinly sliced, dark green parts discarded
1/2 heaping cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice and zest of one lime
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 lb salmon
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
8 corn tortillas
2 avocados, sliced
Scallions, thinly sliced
Prepare the cabbage slaw. Put the cabbage, carrots, and scallions in a large mixing bowl.
Add the Greek yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, cilantro, salt, cumin, and smoked paprika to a food processor. Blend it up until smooth, 30 seconds – 1 minute.
Pour the Greek yogurt sauce over the cabbage mixture and toss everything together. Set aside or put in the fridge while you grill the salmon.
Heat your grill or grill pan on medium – high heat.
Marinate the salmon in lime juice, olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, and a generous shake of salt and pepper as the grill heats up.
When grill or grill pan is hot, spray with a little oil and place the salmon skin side up, diagonally on the grates. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, possibly a little more, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Flip the salmon and cook skin side down for another 1-2 minutes.
Heat up the corn tortillas directly on the grill, a gas stove burner, or in a cast iron pan.
Flake the salmon a bit with a fork and put a few pieces on each tortilla. Add some slaw, avocado slices, fresh herbs, and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
How to check if salmon is done cooking
There are two ways to check for doneness. The first is to insert a knife into the thickest part of the fish, and if the flesh is completely opaque and flakes easily, it is done.
You can also use a food thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the flesh. If it reads 145 degrees F or more, it’s safe to consume.