In this vibrant spinach-stuffed salmon recipe, fresh salmon filets are filled with a bright and savory combination of roasted red peppers, capers, lemon, and Greek yogurt. It's gluten-free, packed with nutrients and bold Mediterranean flavors.

A close up of 4 cooked stuffed salmon fillets on a baking sheet with lemon wedges.
Photo Credits: Mark Beahm

This spinach stuffed salmon recipe satisfies all of my requirements for weeknight meals—it's easy, healthy, and full of flavor. The combination of roasted red peppers, capers, garlic, lemon, and spinach instantly transports me to my favorite part of the world, enjoying a cold glass of white wine, fresh fish, and a view of the Mediterranean. 

Rather than serving a side of creamed spinach or spinach salad, I make a spinach filling with my favorite flavor boosters. The fragrant filling then pulls double-duty by infusing the salmon as it bakes.

I gravitated towards capers and lemon to balance the richness of the fish, but I decided to take it further with preserved lemon for an even more vibrant flavor and burst of umami. Finally, there’s creaminess from a dollop of Greek yogurt, mellow heat from Aleppo pepper, and smoky sweetness from fire-roasted red peppers.

Like my stuffed tomatoes with tuna, this meal feels as special as my favorite dinners in Barcelona but I can get it on the table in just over half an hour. No transatlantic flight needed! 

Ingredients for stuffed salmon including salmon fillets, a shallot, garlic, baby spinach, roasted red peppers, capers, greek yogurt, Aleppo pepper, and lemon.


Flavor Maker Spotlight

Aleppo pepper comes from the Halaby chili pepper. It has a mild earthy spice to it with a touch of sweetness. The spice is named for the Syrian city of Aleppo, where the peppers were once grown in abundance. Now, however, the chili peppers are mostly grown in Turkey, often using Syrian seeds.

It's frequently used in Middle Eastern and North African Mediterranean countries, but, like many Mediterranean spices, it often crosses borders into new lands! To learn more about Aleppo Pepper read our guide, "What is Aleppo Pepper and How do You Use It?" or pick up Aleppo Pepper from our shop and put it to work in your kitchen.

In addition to using it in this stuffed salmon recipe, Aleppo pepper is amazing sprinkled over sliced tomatoes with crumbled feta, and a drizzle of olive oil, added to Turkish Red Lentil Soup, or used to brighten up a Mediterranean Chickpea Salad.

Ingredients for This Stuffed Salmon with Spinach

As a baker, my job usually has me surrounded by sweets during the day. So for dinner, I can’t get enough of anything savory, refreshingly bright, and briny! 

  • Salmon: Opt for a thicker filet, which is easier to fit more of the spinach stuffing.
  • Shallot: Shallots are sweet flavor-builders that are milder than onions. Their smaller size gives just the right amount for the spinach filling. You can substitute with yellow or green onions if you’d like.
  • Garlic: Garlic makes almost everything better. Sautéing the garlic tames its pungency for an irresistibly sweet, nutty flavor.
  • Spinach: Baby spinach is milder and sweeter than regular spinach.
  • Roasted red peppers: I like to use fire-roasted red peppers (homemade or store-bought) for an extra smoky punch of flavor. You can also use piquillo peppers or regular roasted red peppers.
  • Capers: Tiny capers have it all. They’re salty, briny, savory, and a natural pairing with lemon, like in chicken piccata.
  • Preserved lemon: Lemon that has been pickled in a salt brine. It has a savory, pickled flavor that's both more mellow and more complex than fresh lemon. You can often find it in the international section of your grocery store, order online, or make your own. You can also substitute with 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.
  • Greek yogurt: A couple of spoonfuls of full-fat Greek yogurt adds tangy creaminess and helps hold the filling together without diluting the other flavors.
  • Aleppo pepper: Aleppo pepper has less heat than other crushed red pepper but a more complex tart and fruity flavor. You can order Aleppo pepper from our shop, find it in the spice section of select grocery stores, or substitute it with chili flakes.
  • Lemon juice: Helps to cut through rich salmon and brighten it. I like to add a squeeze of lemon juice just before baking and serve the salmon with extra lemon wedges on the side.
  • Salt and pepper: Salt enhances the other flavors in the dish and freshly ground black pepper adds depth and vibrant spice.
An overhead photo of three stuffed salmon fillets on a serving platter.


How to Make Stuffed Salmon with Spinach

  • Get ready. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil (about 2 teaspoons).
  • Get your seasonings ready. Finely dice 2 roasted red peppers (if you want to roast them yourself, follow this method). Peel and finely dice 1 shallot. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Drain and roughly chop 2 tablespoons capers. Finely chop 1 preserved lemon (peel and pith included). 
  • Prepare the spinach. Heat the 2 teaspoons olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and 5 ounces of baby spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes.Baby spinach, chopped shallot and garlic sauteeing in a frying pan with a wooden spoon.
  • Dry the spinach mixture. Scrape the wilted spinach into a fine-mesh strainer. Set the strainer over a small bowl or hold it over the sink while you use the spoon to press the spinach against the strainer a few times to drain the excess water.
  • Make the filling. Transfer the spinach mixture to a cutting board, roughly chop, then add it to a medium bowl. Add the roasted red peppers, capers, preserved lemon, 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Stir to combine.The spinach stuffing for the salmon in a bowl with a spoon.
  • Make a pocket for the filling. Pat the salmon dry. If you’re using whole salmon filet, slice it into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each), then use a sharp knife to cut a slit down the side of each filet without cutting through to the other side. Season the salmon all over with salt and pepper, including inside the pockets. A pocket for the spinach filling being created in a salmon fillet with a knife, next to another fillet on the cutting board, and a platter containing two other salmon fillets.
  • Stuff and bake. Arrange the salmon skin-side down in the pan. Sprinkle the filets with extra Aleppo pepper if you’d like a little more heat and squeeze the juice from half a lemon. Spoon a quarter of the filling into each pocket. Bake until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily, 12 to 14 minutes.An uncooked salmon fillet being stuffed with a spinach filling, next to a bowl of the filling and a baking sheet with the rest of the stuffed salmon.
  • Serve. Serve immediately with extra lemon wedges on the side for squeezing. A close up of cooked stuffed salmon fillets on a baking sheet with lemon wedges.


Swaps and Substitutions

Most of these ingredients are pantry staples in my house, but you can customize this stuffed salmon recipe to what you regularly have on hand or your favorite flavors.

  • If you don’t have preserved lemons: Substitute with 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. It won’t have the same savory, briny flavor, but it will still be deliciously lemony. 
  • Shallot: Replace with half of a small onion (any color, but I like red) or even a couple of sliced scallions. 
  • Capers: Green or black olives are always an alternative to capers. 
  • Roasted red peppers: Use umami-rich sundried tomatoes. 
  • Spinach: Swap for Swiss chard, rainbow chard, beet greens, or even kale.
  • To make this recipe dairy-free: Skip the Greek yogurt. You can keep the creaminess if you substitute it with 1 tablespoon of tahini or 2 tablespoons of unsweetened plant-based sour cream. 
  • Adjust the seasoning: For weeknight dinners, I want a balance between lots of flavor and a short ingredient list. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add some extra herbs and spices to the filling. Or, you can rub seasonings into the salmon, my favorites being sweet Spanish paprika, sumac, harissa paste, dill, or tarragon.
A stuffed salmon fillet on a plate with a serving of green beans, and a lemon wedge. This is next to a serving platter with the rest of the stuffed salmon and a bowl of rice.


What to Eat with Spinach Stuffed Salmon

This spinach-stuffed salmon is simple enough for a weeknight meal. I like to pair it with sides that are easy to make and go well with other meals I plan on making during the week.

Take advantage of your empty stovetop with a side of golden saffron rice or a salad like this Greek green bean salad (this recipe is what you see in the photos with the salmon) or this colorful asparagus salad. Or you can do it all in the oven—this roasted fennel or these Greek potatoes roast at the same temperature as the salmon.

I was surprised by how much I loved a filet of salmon served on top of garlicky mashed sweet potatoes during a leisurely lunch on a recent trip to Barcelona.

Show-Stopping Salmon Recipes!

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The Mediterranean Diet Starter Kit

Stock your pantry to start eating the Mediterranean Way! Includes Coriander, Cardamom, Allspice, Cumin, Za'atar, Sumac, Aleppo Pepper, Organic Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Tahini.

5 from 7 votes

Stuffed Salmon with Spinach, Capers, and Greek Yogurt

photo of author mark beahm.Mark Beahm
An overhead photo of three stuffed salmon fillets on a serving platter.
In this weeknight-friendly spinach stuffed salmon recipe, fresh salmon filets are filled with a bright and savory combination of roasted red peppers, capers, lemon, and Greek yogurt. It's creamy but not overly rich, gluten-free, and filled with delicious Mediterranean flavor! I love the umami-rich addition of preserved lemons, which you can find in the international or pickle aisle of many grocery stores, but feel free to use grated lemon zest in its place.
Prep – 20 minutes
Cook – 14 minutes
Total – 34 minutes
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 4
Course:
Entree

Ingredients
  

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 fire-roasted red peppers (homemade or jarred), diced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 small preserved lemon (homemade or jarred), pith, peel and flesh finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper, plus more for seasoning the salmon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the salmon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds salmon filet (at least 1-inch thick), sliced into 4 equal portions
  • 1 lemon, half sliced into wedges, half reserved for juice

Instructions
 

  • Get ready. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil (about 2 teaspoons).
  • Prepare the spinach. Heat the 2 teaspoons olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes.
  • Dry the spinach mixture. Scrape the wilted spinach into a fine-mesh strainer. Set the strainer over a small bowl or hold it over the sink while you use the spoon to press the spinach against the strainer a few times to drain the excess water.
  • Make the filling. Transfer the spinach mixture to a cutting board, roughly chop, then add it to a medium bowl. Add the roasted red peppers, capers, preserved lemon, Greek yogurt, Aleppo pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Make a pocket for the filling. Pat the salmon dry, then use a sharp knife to cut a slit down the side of each salmon filet without cutting through to the other side. Season the salmon all over with salt and pepper including inside the pockets.
  • Stuff and bake. Arrange the salmon skin-side down in the pan. Sprinkle the filets with extra Aleppo pepper if you’d like a little more heat and squeeze on the lemon juice. Spoon a quarter of the filling into each pocket. Bake until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily, 12 to 14 minutes.
  • Finish and serve. Serve immediately with extra lemon wedges on the side for squeezing.

Notes

  • Make sure to press as much water as possible out of the salmon mixture to prevent excess water from releasing as the salmon bakes. 
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 292.7kcalCarbohydrates: 6.9gProtein: 36.4gFat: 13.2gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 5.1gCholesterol: 93.9mgSodium: 620.7mgPotassium: 1142.5mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 1.6gVitamin A: 3573.5IUVitamin C: 34.2mgCalcium: 87.3mgIron: 2.9mg
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Mark learned to bake professionally at Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland, Maine and was most recently the head baker at Hjem Kensington, a Danish café in London. He lived in Barcelona and Madrid for six years, before moving to London and then back to the States. He is fascinated by the intersection of food, culture, and science. He has been developing recipes for home bakers for three years and began writing for The Mediterranean Dish in 2022.

When he’s not in the kitchen, he spends his time traveling, knitting, and learning to throw pottery.
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was so delicious and easy to prepare! My mother (who does not generally like salmon) asked if I could make it weekly. Thanks again for another great recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Fantastic! Our fillets weren’t thick enough to stuff so we just stacked them on top of each other with filling in between. Took longer to bake - 20 minutes.
    Will definitely make again!

  3. 5 stars
    So delicious! And thank you for your substitute suggestions. I used tahini instead of yogurt and it worked very well indeed.