Love Salmon? This Grilled Salmon with Red Pepper Sauce is a quick & easy meal perfect for weeknight dinners, special occasions, and fancy enough for entertaining. The salmon is simply grilled with cajun seasoning and lemon and topped with a fresh sauce of red bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. All on the table in 30 minutes!
Salmon has to be at the top of my list when it comes to fish. If you haven't noticed by the number of salmon dishes I have on this blog, I do love my salmon! And it can be prepared quickly and easily and in so many delicious ways.
It can be grilled as in my Cajun Grilled Salmon, roasted like this Bloody Mary Salmon, air fried like this Air Fried Salmon with Lemon Sauce, as well as baked as in my simple Baked Asian Salmon with maple glaze.
This particular grilled salmon with red pepper sauce recipe is super simple, healthy, and ready for the table in under 30 minutes. Never cooked salmon before? No worries! This recipe and the tips below will make you an expert in no time.
Table of contents
Frequently asked questions
I'm talking wild salmon here, the healthiest choice for eating, and there are three that I recommend. There is King Salmon, Sockeye Salmon and Coho Salmon.
Sockeye Salmon, with its medium oil content, is best grilled or smoked while Coho Salmon is a milder salmon with a medium-firm texture and does best grilled on wood planks, steamed, poached, or sautéed. King Salmon on the other hand, with the highest oil content, can be grilled, roasted, or pan-seared.
It is not recommended to rinse raw fish as the bacteria can splash onto other foods and surfaces. Cooking will kill any harmful bacteria present.
My answer is a definite yes! Cook the salmon flesh-side down first for about 6-8 minutes then flip to skin-side down for another 3 minutes. This will crisp up the skin and you will be able to lift the salmon flesh off the skin in one piece, ready to serve.
I like to test it by gently pressing down with a fork near a corner to see if it flakes off easily. If it does, it is done. You do want a slightly pink center to keep it moist.
How to choose the best salmon
First, you have to know how to choose a quality piece of salmon. When choosing, you want a piece that is moist and glistening with a rich, red flesh and firm texture. In other words, super fresh!
Next, choose the appropriate type of salmon for the cooking method. Sockeye Salmon, with its medium oil content, is best grilled or smoked while Coho Salmon is a milder, medium to firm-textured fish and does best grilled on wood planks, steamed, poached, or sautéed. King Salmon, with the highest oil content, is great just about any way!
King Salmon was the best choice for this grilled salmon recipe. The simple preparation method produces a healthy, delicious meal and allows all the flavors of this premium seafood to shine through. All you need is a simple sprinkle of Cajun seasoning and lemon juice prior to grilling. Of course, a topping of fresh sweet red pepper sauce is just icing on the cake.
This sweet red bell pepper sauce is a simple sauce and a go-to in my house for any number of dishes. It's the perfect complement to the rich taste of salmon and tastes great on other grilled foods from chicken to tuna to burgers. Use it to wake up eggs, potatoes, pasta, and pizza too!
And summer is the perfect time to make it with so many fresh ingredients available in the stores. All you need are red bell peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, and garlic.
How to make red pepper sauce
To prepare this dinner, make the red pepper sauce before you start the salmon and let it simmer on the stove until you are ready to serve.
- In a medium saucepan, brown the chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add chopped red bell peppers to the onion-garlic mixture and saute for 5 minutes.
- Toss in tomatoes and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until it reaches a nice saucy consistency.
- In the last few minutes, add chopped cilantro, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Stir and heat through.
Tip: I like to serve my red pepper sauce a little bit chunky but you can also puree it in a blender if you prefer it smooth. Be careful when blending hot sauces and blend in small batches to allow the heat to escape.
How to grill salmon filets
- Squeeze lemon or lime juice over salmon then sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. You don't have to season the skin side. You can also add some asparagus to the dinner and grill at the same time. Just toss with a little olive oil and sprinkle on some Italian seasoning.
- Preheat grill to high heat, about 350-450 degrees. You can use a charcoal grill, gas, pellet, or even a George Forman grill. Spray the grate lightly with a nonstick spray. Place salmon, skin side up, on the grill, and cook for 6-8 minutes. Turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes. At this point, you should be able to slide a spatula between the skin and flesh and lift it off the grill. Cool, huh?!
Pro Tip: Remember, perfectly grilled salmon takes only 8-11 minutes. Don't overcook it as it dries out and loses all it's wonderful flavor.
Set skinned, grilled salmon on a serving plate and serve with lemon and lime wedges and the red pepper sauce on the side.
I'm now a huge fan of King Salmon and take note of when the season occurs every year. Usually, you will see it in your local stores from May through June. It's a great time to stock up your freezer and enjoy whenever you get the craving.
This salmon with red pepper sauce dinner was absolutely delicious! The grilled salmon retained its moisture and tasted so rich and buttery while the red pepper sauce gave it an added layer of flavor. I like to serve mine with roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, and a glass of chardonnay. Make it a quick and easy weeknight dinner or save it for a special occasion. Whenever you have it - enjoy!
More grilled seafood recipes
Easy Spicy Grilled Shrimp is a quick & easy dinner that can be on the table in 30! Cajun seasoning, a little lime, marinate then grill for 4 minutes. Easy peasy!
Fantastic Grilled Fish Tacos lends tacos a smoky flavor and, when topped with a crunchy slaw, keeps them coming back for more.
Grilled Bay Scallops from Running to the Kitchen are tossed in a garlic basil butter sauce for the perfect quick & easy dinner.
Grilled Mahi with Pineapple Salsa takes a mild, tasty fish to tropical heaven. Perfect for the summer ahead!
Find lots more healthy seafood recipes here on 2CM!
Grilled Salmon with Red Pepper Sauce
- 1 lb. salmon with skin cut into 4 4-oz fillets
- Lemon juice
- Cajun seasoning
Red Pepper Sauce
- 1-2 Tablespoons light extra virgin olive oil
- ½ medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 medium red bell peppers chopped
- 4-5 medium tomatoes chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Red Pepper Sacue
- Prepare the red pepper sauce and let it simmer on the stove as you prepare & grill salmon.
- In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil.
- When it is hot, add onion and garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add red bell peppers to onion-garlic mixture and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn down heat and pour in chopped tomatoes and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- In the last 2 minutes, add cilantro, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Stir and heat through.
- Drizzle a little on top of salmon fillets and serve remaining sauce on the side.
- Preheat grill to high heat (350-450 degrees). Spray grate with nonstick spray.
- Leaving skin on, season flesh side of salmon with a sprinkling of lemon juice and cajun seasoning such as Emerils.
- When grill is hot, place flesh side down on grate and grill for 6-8 minutes depending on thickness.
- Turn fillets and grill with skin side down for an additional 2-3 minutes. Salmon is done when the flesh inside is pink and flakes easily.
- Slide spatula between skin and salmon flesh and remove to plate. If the skin does not come apart from the flesh, the salmon may need to cook a little longer.
- Serve immediately with red pepper sauce on side.
This post has been updated and was first published on October 1, 2018.