Salmon tacos get a Mediterranean makeover with herby cabbage slaw, bright quick-pickled sumac onions, and creamy tzatziki sauce in this vibrant weeknight dinner recipe. Yes, you can make a fish taco, Mediterranean style!
I had a lot of fun with this Mediterranean-style salmon taco recipe, which is my own twist on the beloved fish taco.
Given that Mediterranean classics like chicken shawarma or fish gyros involve eating food wrapped in pita, the idea of merging Mediterranean flavors with fish wrapped in a tortilla is not a big leap. I'm telling you, taco tuesday will never be the same!
To make delicious salmon tacos every time follow these simple steps: season salmon well, cook it covered in foil, and top it with a zesty, cabbage slaw and pickled red onions. For the Mediterranean twist, I spiced up my salmon taco with Aleppo pepper, cumin and sweet paprika. To balance out the spices, I use creamy tzatziki with cooling cucumber.
This creamy, crunchy, boldly-flavored combo paired with perfectly cooked, well-seasoned salmon will have your entire family asking for second helpings! What can I tell you? Spice is life!
Table of Contents
Salmon Taco Ingredients
These salmon tacos with fragrant Mediterranean spices and toppings are sure to spice up your dinner routine. You'll need:
- Green cabbage: ½ of a green cabbage adds a nice fresh crunch to balance the buttery baked salmon.
- Flavor makers: These salmon tacos pack on the flavor with a blend of bold seasonings: salt, pepper, lime, cumin, red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper, garlic, cumin, and sweet or smoky paprika.
- Fresh herbs: Cilantro adds freshness. Dill brings the distinctly Mediterranean flavor.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Go for a high quality olive oil that’s not too bitter. Our Italian Nocellara is buttery and smooth, or try Spanish Hojiblanca for a peppery kick.
- Salmon: I like to use a thicker filet like center cut because it stays tender as it bakes. If you’re using a thin filet, be sure to check it at around 10-12 minutes to prevent it from getting dry.
- Tortillas: Grab small (4-inch) corn or flour tortillas. Your tortilla of choice is a highly personal decision, with corn tortillas being generally sweeter and slightly lighter (and, usually, gluten-free).
- Tzatziki sauce: The Mediterranean version of Mexican crema in these salmon tacos. Freshly made tzatziki with cucumber, salt, garlic, white vinegar, olive oil, Greek yogurt, and white pepper is worth the extra time if you have it. Or, save time with a quality store-bought variety.
- Pickled onions: Pickles bring a brightness that lightens the richness of the salmon. Make them yourself if you have time with red onion, red wine vinegar, sumac, salt, parsley, and mint. If you’re short on time, use a nice store-bought variety or substitute with fried lemon rings.
- Jalapeños: Freshly sliced jalapeño pepper adds a nice heat. If you don’t do spice, you can leave them off. Or, for a milder spice, simply remove the seeds.
How to Make Salmon Tacos
This salmon taco recipe is both easy and fast. Bookmark this no-fail salmon technique, and don’t forget to get all of your toppings ready to go.
- Preheat your oven. Position a rack in the center of your oven and heat to 375°F.
- Start the slaw: Core and shred ½ of a green cabbage and place in a colander. Once the cabbage is sliced, up season it with a big pinch of salt (about ½ teaspoon). Use your hands to toss, then set aside to soften for 10-15 minutes as you get the fixings ready: Tzatziki Sauce, Pickled Red Onions, sliced jalapeno, and lime wedges.
- Season the salmon: Place the salmon in a baking dish and pat dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and pepper. Rub the top with two minced garlic cloves and ½ teaspoons each of cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper. Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
- Bake the salmon: Cover the pan with foil, tenting so it’s not touching the salmon. Bake until the salmon is almost completely cooked through at the thickest part, about 15 minutes.
- Finish the slaw: While the salmon bakes, pat the cabbage dry with paper towels and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Add ½ cup of chopped cilantro leaves and 3 tablespoons of chopped dill. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the cabbage and season with ½ teaspoon each of cumin and red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper. Finally, drizzle it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to combine. Taste, adjust the seasoning to your liking, and set aside.
- Flake the salmon: Once it has finished cooking, remove the salmon from the oven and flake it with a fork. Then cover once more with foil and set aside for 2 minutes. Wrap the tortillas in parchment paper, then foil, and place them in the oven for a few minutes to warm.
- Finish the salmon: Cut a lime in half and squeeze it immediately all over the salmon.
- Assemble and serve: Divide the salmon among the tortillas. Add the slaw, tzatziki, pickled onions, and jalapeno peppers. Serve warm, with lime wedges on the side.
Tips for Salmon Tacos
This salmon taco recipe is very beginner-friendly. I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make sure you're successful every time. First, wrap the fish in foil to trap the aromatic steam keeping the fish tender and flavorful. To test the salmon for doneness:
- Use visual cues. When salmon is cooked through, its flesh turns opaque, and the color changes from translucent to a light pink with some whiteness near the edges.
- Flake. Check the thickest part of the filet with a fork or the tip of a knife. The flesh should easily flake apart with a gentle push.
- Measure. Use a thermometer to measure the thickest part of the fish. The USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145°F. That said, if you’re working with a high quality salmon, closer to 125°F will be medium-rare and tender.
How to Use Up Leftover Cabbage
This salmon taco recipe uses half of a head of cabbage to make the slaw, but don't let that second half to go to waste. We have loads of cabbage recipes on the site, but the two linked below use exactly half a cabbage. One cabbage = many meals!
What to Serve with Salmon Tacos
These salmon tacos with Mediterranean-style coleslaw and toppings really need nothing more. The beauty of a taco is that it’s a whole meal: side dish, salad, and main in one convenient wrap!
Though this is a weeknight-friendly dinner recipe, it can also be handy for a casual dinner party. Serve with light and refreshing pitcher cocktails to share, like sparkling Agua De València or bright Rosé Lemonade.
If you're looking for something totally refreshing without the alcohol, Strawberry Lemonade or Hibiscus Tea are always a welcome refreshment in my home.
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Salmon Tacos (Mediterranean-Style)
For the slaw:
For the salmon:
- 8 4-inch corn or flour tortillas
- ½ cup tzatziki sauce, homemade or quality store-bought, plus more to your liking
- ½ cup pickled onions homemade or quality store-bought, plus more to your liking
- 1 to 2 jalapenos, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 large lime, sliced into wedges
- Preheat your oven: Position a rack in the middle of your oven and heat to 375°F.
- Soften the cabbage: Place the cabbage in a large colander. Season with a big pinch of salt (about ½ teaspoon). Toss with your hands and set it aside for about 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the toppings.
- Season the salmon: Pat the salmon dry and season well with salt and pepper. Place the salmon on a baking dish. Rub the top with the garlic, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper. Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
- Bake the salmon: Cover the dish with the foil, tenting to make sure it is not touching the salmon. Bake in the heated oven for 15 minutes, or until the salmon is almost completely cooked through at the thickest part. Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your fish. If your salmon is thinner, check several minutes early to ensure it does not overcook. If your piece is very thick, 1 ½ or more inches, it may take a bit longer.
- Make the slaw: While the salmon bakes, pat the cabbage dry with paper towels and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the cilantro, dill, lime juice, cumin, and red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper. Drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Set the cabbage slaw aside for now.
- Flake the salmon: When the salmon is cooked to medium, carefully remove from the oven and uncover. Use a fork to flake the salmon, then cover once again with foil for 2 minutes. Wrap the tortillas in parchment paper, then foil, and place them in the oven for a few minutes to warm.
- Finish the salmon: Cut the lime in half and squeeze it all over the salmon.
- Assemble the salmon tacos: Spread the tzatziki on a tortilla, keeping the remaining tortillas covered to to keep warm. Top with salmon, slaw, pickled onion, and jalapeno. Enjoy warm, with the lime wedges in bowls on the side.
- To ensure even cooking, let the fish come closer to room temperature before baking. Set the salmon on the counter for about 15 minutes before roasting.
- Wondering what to do with the second cabbage half? Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the crisper of your fridge. Turn this delicious and totally underrated vegetable into "Sexy" Crispy Roasted Cabbage or Vegan Cabbage Soup.
- Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.