Canned salmon salad on 4 pieces of flatbread with dill for garnish and chopped red onions, capers, and radishes for toppings

Quick Canned Salmon Salad – no mayo

Liven up your sandwich routine with the convenience of tasty, canned salmon salad made with a few fresh and simple ingredients, no mayo. Key ingredients like plain yogurt, lemon, and everything but the bagel seasoning help bind the salmon and celery together and impart a yummy flavor that you can easily customize with other optional ingredients.

Take a break from cold cuts and try this quick, hassle-free canned salmon salad recipe. You’ll have a nutrient-dense and delectable high-quality protein to reach for minus the cooking. Tons of boxes checked off there!

And if you think a sandwich is the only thing to eat salmon salad with, keep reading to see all the ways you can enjoy it.

WHY THIS WORKS

  • Nutrient-dense salmon is the star of the recipe
  • Simple and easy-to-find ingredients
  • No cooking required
  • Takes 10 minutes or less to make
  • No special equipment needed
  • No chopping if you get the celery and optional ingredients pre-chopped
  • Customizable to suit your taste…read on for all the optional ingredients
  • A great way to use up leftover plain yogurt and celery
  • Enjoy it with other foods besides sandwiches…read on!

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SALMON

Salmon is one of the most nutrient-dense foods that consistently ranks on lists of healthiest foods to eat. Consumption of fatty fish like salmon has been well studied and shown to have positive impacts on overall health.

Salmon contains essential omega-3 fats, high-quality protein, nutrients, and compounds that offer several health benefits. According to Healthline, numerous studies show that intake of salmon may:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Help with weight management due to high-quality protein
  • Help prevent inflammation
  • Improve brain function
  • Support mental health
  • Help maintain eye health due to vitamin A content
  • Support bone health due to vitamin D content.

The American Heart Association recommends two 3-ounce servings per week of fatty fish like salmon to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

But what do you do if the price of fresh salmon is too much for your grocery budget? Enter canned salmon…

BENEFITS OF CANNED SALMON

While the taste may be different, canned salmon is just as nutritious as its fresh counterpart. Plus, it offers these other benefits:

  • Budget friendly
  • Shelf stable
  • Convenient – cooking is a non-issue
  • Great source of calcium and vitamin D – nutrients needed for bone health that some people are not getting enough of

Adults need 1000 milligrams of calcium to support bone health and up to 1200 milligrams after age 50. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), canned salmon with bones contains 181 milligrams of calcium in a 3-ounce serving, providing about 10% of the recommended calcium intake.

For reference, the NIH list of other calcium-rich foods includes non-fat milk which has 302 milligrams in a 1 cup serving, and raw broccoli which has 90 milligrams in a 1 cup serving.

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption. The recommended intake for vitamin D for adults is 600 IU and up to 800 IU for adults over age 70. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 3-ounce serving of canned salmon, depending on the variety, contains an impressive 479-730 IU of vitamin D. That one serving can meet most to all of your vitamin D needs.

INGREDIENTS FOR CANNED SALMON SALAD – NO MAYO

Ingredients for canned salmon salad, no mayo: plain yogurt, everything but the bagel seasoning, pepper, salt, canned salmon, lemon, and celery.
  • Canned salmon – High-quality protein loaded with omega-3 fat and nutrients. You can choose between canned salmon with bones and skin or boneless and skinless. Just note that the latter contains less calcium. You may not even notice the difference in a recipe like this where the mixing of the ingredients will crush the already tiny bones.
  • Plain yogurt – A healthier alternative to mayo with fewer calories and more nutrients like calcium. Choose dairy or dairy free. If you choose dairy-based yogurt, I recommend whole milk or 2% plain yogurt for flavor.
  • Celery – For the crunch factor. You can find celery pre-chopped and avoid chopping altogether.
  • Lemon – A little tanginess that complements seafood.
  • Everything but the bagel seasoning – A workhorse seasoning that goes with just about everything.
  • Salt and pepper to taste – You may eliminate the salt if you’re trying to watch sodium intake since canned salmon contains salt as a preservative.

STEPS

Chopped celery on a cutting board next to a knife.

Start with chopping the celery. You’ll want to chop the celery into thin slices, about 1/8 – 1/4 inch. If you need a quick lesson on chopping celery, check out this wikiHow article.

A medium-sized bowl with all the ingredients: chopped celery, canned salmon, plain yogurt, everything but the bagel seasoning, salt, pepper, and squeeze of half of a lemon.

Add the celery and all the other ingredients to a medium sized bowl.

A fork mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Use a fork to mix all the ingredients. If you’re using canned salmon with bones, you can easily mash the bones with the fork. You won’t notice the bones if you mash and mix well.

If you’re using optional ingredients that you want in the mix, too, add them in now. Depending on the number of optional ingredients you add, you may need to add a little more of the plain yogurt to get the consistency right so that everything binds well.

Canned salmon salad after mixing of ingredients.

Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Canned salmon salad served on several pieces of flat bread with a variety of toppings - chopped tomato, radish, red onion, scallions, capers, and dill.

Cover and store in the fridge or serve immediately. Canned salmon salad is great in a sandwich or on toast or crackers. Add toppings such as scallions, capers, or dill. See FAQ for more serving ideas and variations.

FAQ

What can I serve canned salmon salad with?

  • Use as a filling in sandwiches – cold or grilled.
  • Swap out the bread for a wrap or lettuce wraps.
  • Add a scoop to a salad bowl.
  • Spread on top of toast, crusty bread, flat bread, or crackers.
  • Use as a filling in cooked tortillas. They’re a tasty protein filling for quesadillas. Or try them rolled up in tortillas and air fried with guacamole on the side.
  • Serve as a dip along with crudites – celery, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots sticks.

What ingredients can I add or substitute to make this recipe my own?

Endless options here. This is a basic recipe that you can make your own by playing around with other ingredients.

All of the following optional ingredients or substitutes work well in adding to the salad mix or sprinkling on top. Just be sure to adjust the amount of plain yogurt to get everything to bind together. As always, taste and adjust the flavors to your liking.

  • Capers
  • Fresh chives
  • Dill or parsley – fresh or dried (3 portions of fresh herb = 1 portion of dried herb)
  • Red onion
  • Scallions or green onion
  • Chopped hard-boiled egg – Look out for the cooked, peeled, and ready-to-eat eggs for convenience
  • Substitute for celery – Radishes or carrots would work well to add crunch to the salad. Radish has a slightly peppery taste and carrots will give it a slightly sweet taste.
  • Substitute for everything but the bagel seasoning – Dill, Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, or smoked paprika.

What kind of canned salmon should I get?

The short answer is the one you will eat.

I prefer the canned wild salmon with skin and bones to get the most omega-3 fat and nutrients. If the bones are a non-issue for you, get the bone-in variety. For this recipe, you won’t even notice the bones if you mash them up and mix them well with the other ingredients.

Is canned salmon cooked?

Canned salmon is not cooked the way you may be thinking – in a pan over a stove or baked in an oven. It goes through a heating process to kill off bacteria, no different from canned tuna. Essentially it is cooked.

Can I use fresh salmon?

Yes. If you have leftover cooked salmon, use it up in this recipe.

How to store salmon salad?

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Canned salmon salad on 4 pieces of flatbread with dill for garnish and chopped red onions, capers, and radishes for toppings

Canned Salmon Salad (no mayo)

Johna Burdeos, RD
An easy-to-make tasty, canned salmon salad that's made with a few simple ingredients. Canned salmon is a convenient high-quality protein with omega-3 fat, calcium, and vitamin D. Enjoy this salad as a filling in sandwiches and lettuce wraps. Or add a scoop to a veggie bowl or toast. Or serve it with crackers for an appetizer or snack. Make it your own with a variety of optional ingredients.
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 5 people
Calories 138 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 medium bowl
  • 1 fork
  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 cutting board

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1 can salmon – 14.75 ounces can bone or boneless (see notes)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt add plain yogurt of your choice – dairy or non-dairy (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons everything but the bagel seasoning
  • 1/2 lemon – juice of
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper or to taste
  • Optional: mix into the salad or sprinkle on top: chopped hard-boiled egg, capers, dill, chives, red onion, scallions, or chopped radishes.

Instructions
 

  • Chop celery and place in a medium bowl.
  • Open canned salmon, drain well, and place in the bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl as well as any optional ingredients if you'd like. Using a fork, flake the salmon and mix all the ingredients.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Serve immediately or cover and chill.

Notes

Prefer not to do any chopping? Look out for pre-chopped ingredients at your local grocery store. 
 
The tiny bones in canned salmon typically break down as you mix the ingredients in a recipe like this. But you can use boneless canned salmon, too, if you prefer. Note that the boneless version contains less calcium. 
 
If you’re doing dairy-based plain yogurt, I recommend using yogurt made with whole milk or 2% milk for the best flavor. 
 
If you’re adding optional ingredients to the salad mix, you may need to add a little more plain yogurt to ensure that everything binds together.
 
*Nutrition information is an estimate based on ingredients used. 
Keyword 6 ingredients, canned salmon, salmon salad

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