Taco Thursday is here (yes, we’re making this a thing). And you’ll be glad for a million reasons.
One of them being these beautiful & easy salmon tacos! These tacos are CASH MONEY, which in my language basically means they’re goooooood.
A few years ago, we went deep sea fishing in Florida and ending up cooking some of the fish we caught. My sister-in-law’s fiance, Matt, made blackened grouper and we topped it with my mango guacamole; the flavor compared to something out of some fancy Martha Stewart magazine (aka fancy AF).
After returning home, I knew I needed to bring you a recipe that was somewhat similar. So these delicious blackened salmon tacos were born!
Tips for baking salmon:
Looking back, I can remember when I first started cooking and salmon intimidated me since overcooking the fish can easily happen. Though as all cooking and baking goes, you don’t become better until you experiment a little. If you’re nervous about cooking salmon, I’ve got a pretty good rule I like follow: Always err on the side of undercooking rather than overcooking salmon; for every inch of thickness, you’ll need to bake it for 15 minutes at around 400 degrees F or until the salmon is opaque and easily flakes with a fork. My salmon usually always comes out perfect at 18 minutes.
You’ve got this! And if you don’t just put on Jay-Z. 99 problems and salmon ain’t one!
How to grill blackened salmon for salmon tacos:
Grilling blackened salmon is super easy and perfect for these delicious tacos! All you need to do is:
- Preheat a gas grill over medium-high heat and rub blackening spice mixture all over salmon. I would also lightly brush both sides of the salmon (including the skin) with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Place salon skin side down first on grill or on foil (to seal in the flavors!) close grill lid and grill about 6-8 minutes. It’s easier to grill skin side down first so you can slide a spatula under the skin for flipping once it crisps up.
- Carefully flip salmon and cook 6-8 more minutes or until cooked well. Salmon is tricky, but just like baking it, it’s best to undercook rather than overcook your filets
What’s the difference between grilled and blackened?
Blackening a meat (like salmon) simply means adding a blend of blackening seasoning to your meat before cooking it. It adds a delicious flavor to meats and even veggies or plant-based proteins like tofu! In this recipe you have the option to grill or bake your salmon once you’ve added the blackening seasoning, and you’ll cook it skin side down over a higher heat to seal in all of the moisture and flavor.
If you’re wondering about where you can find the blackening seasoning mentioned in the recipe, it’s usually at larger grocery stores but sometimes can be hidden, often disguised as Cajun seasoning. I’ve included how to make a DIY blackening seasoning version in the notes section of the recipe if you prefer to do that instead of buying the entire blackening spice.
What else is in these healthy salmon tacos?
You’ll just need a few other fresh ingredients to assemble these healthy salmon tacos:
- Forbidden rice (aka black rice): this rice is ridiculously delicious, chewy and pairs well with the slight spiciness of the fish. Did you know that black rice has the highest amount of antioxidants compared to any other rice? It’s also rich in protein and fiber and has anti-inflammatory properties. Time to get on the black rice train people! Here’s the brand I usually buy.
- Homemade mango guacamole: this also helps to balance all the flavors out. It’s a little sweet and a little spicy to add a burst of freshness to every bite of your salmon tacos.
How to use leftover blackened salmon:
Oddly, the salmon makes the best leftovers when scrambled with eggs. Salmon breakfast tacos on repeat. Try adding it to a breakfast burrito like this one, or make a DIY salmon bowl with more forbidden rice like this one!
See how to make the blackened salmon tacos:
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
If you make this, leave a comment below to let me know how it turned out or snap a picture, upload it to Instagram and tag #ambitiouskitchen! xo.
Blackened Salmon Tacos with Forbidden Rice & Mango Guacamole
- For the rice:
- 3/4 cup uncooked forbidden rice (black rice)
- For the salmon:
- 1 pound fresh salmon (I prefer wild)
- 1 tablespoon blackening seasoning
- For the mango guacamole:
- 1 medium ripe avocado
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 ripe mango, diced
- Zest and juice of 1 small lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the tacos:
- 8 corn tortillas
- To garnish: extra cilantro & diced red onion
Cook rice on the stovetop according to the directions on the package. Black rice typically takes about 45 minutes to cook and is chewy when done.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees if you are baking the salmon (options to grill are in the notes section). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and grease lightly with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Place salmon skin side down and sprinkle blackening seasoning on the salmon. Use your fingertips to rub the seasoning evenly all over the salmon. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until salmon easily flakes with a fork. Mine is always perfect at 18 minutes!
While the salmon is cooking, make the mango guacamole. In a medium bowl, add the avocado and use a fork to mash it until it reaches the desired consistency. (If you like chunky guac, don’t mash it as much.) Add in diced red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and mango; stir well to combine then add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until tacos are ready to assemble.
Once salmon is done cooking, flake it with a fork and discard the skin. Add flaked grilled salmon and rice to warm corn tortillas, then top each with a heaping tablespoon of guacamole. Serves 4 people, 2 tacos each.
Directions for grilling the salmon: Preheat a gas grill over medium-high heat. Rub blackening spice mixture all over salmon. I would also lightly brush both sides of the salmon (including the skin) with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Be sure to also oil your grill a bit! Place salon skin side down first on grill, close grill lid and grill about 6-8 minutes. Carefully flip salmon and cook 6-8 more minutes or until cooked well. Salmon is tricky, but it's best to undercook rather than overcook your filets.
How to make DIY blackening seasoning: In a small bowl mix together the following: 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (leave out the cayenne if you don't like spice). Rub all over salmon and then continue following recipe instructions.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Photography by: Sarah Fennel