Rice Side Dishes for Salmon

Salmon is a versatile and delicious fish that pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Choosing the perfect rice side dish to accompany this flavorful protein will not only enhance your dining experience but also make your meal more satisfying and nutritious. From fragrant jasmine to earthy wild rice, there are countless options to customize your plate to your preferences.

The process of choosing a rice side dish for your salmon begins with understanding the different types of rice available, and how each can elevate your meal. A well-prepared rice dish can provide a delectable contrast in flavor and texture to your salmon, while also adding a range of essential nutrients to your overall meal. Paired with complementary vegetables or other ingredients, a good rice side dish can truly make your salmon dish shine.

Exploring various rice-based recipes can also lead to new and exciting ways to utilize leftovers or expand your culinary repertoire. With a multitude of options, you can effortlessly find the ideal rice side dish to suit your preferences, dietary requirements, and the specific style of your salmon dish, be it grilled, baked, or poached.

Key Takeaways

  • Rice side dishes can enhance the flavors and textures of your salmon meal
  • Consider the type of rice that will best complement your salmon, and pair it with suitable vegetables or ingredients
  • Experiment with different recipes and preparations to elevate your dining experience and utilize leftovers efficiently
rice side dishes

Choosing the Right Rice

White vs Brown Rice

When choosing a side dish for salmon, you may wonder which type of rice to use: white or brown rice. White rice is popular because it cooks faster and has a lighter, fluffier texture. It is also versatile and goes well with many dishes. However, it has less fiber and nutrients compared to brown rice. On the other hand, brown rice provides more nutrients and has a nutty flavor, making it a healthier option. Consider your preferences and the dish you’re making when deciding between white and brown rice.

Long-grain vs Short-grain Rice

Rice comes in various sizes, such as long-grain and short-grain. Long-grain rice has a slender shape and stays separate when cooked, making it ideal for dishes where you want the rice to maintain its individual grains. Examples include basmati and jasmine rice. Short-grain rice has a rounder shape and tends to be sticky when cooked, making it suitable for sushi or dishes with a creamy texture. Choose the right grain size based on the desired texture and appearance of your rice side dish.

Choosing Between Basmati, Jasmine, and Sushi Rice

There are several types of rice that you can use for your salmon side dish, such as basmati, jasmine, and sushi rice. Each has unique properties that can complement your meal:

  • Basmati rice: This long-grain rice is known for its fragrant aroma and slightly nutty flavor. It pairs well with curry dishes or dishes with bold flavors. Use basmati rice if you want to add an aromatic touch to your side dish.
  • Jasmine rice: Similar to basmati, jasmine rice is a long-grain rice with a slightly floral aroma and a soft, sticky texture. It is commonly used in Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines. Choose jasmine rice for a softer, stickier side dish with a light fragrance.
  • Sushi rice: This short-grain rice has a sticky texture when cooked. It is particularly suitable for sushi or other dishes where the rice needs to stick together. Sushi rice can also be used for making rice balls or rice pudding. Select sushi rice if you need the sticky consistency or are incorporating Japanese flavors into your side dish.

By understanding the characteristics of white vs. brown rice, long-grain vs. short-grain rice, and different types of rice like basmati, jasmine, and sushi rice, you can confidently choose the right rice for your salmon side dish.

Basic Preparations

When it comes to preparing rice side dishes for salmon, there are two common yet distinct methods to consider: cooking rice in the oven and cooking rice on the grill. This section will guide you through these basic preparations and provide helpful tips to enhance the flavor of your rice.

Cooking Rice in the Oven

Cooking rice in the oven is a convenient method, as it allows you to prepare a large quantity while focusing on your salmon dish. Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C) and choose a baking dish that can accommodate the amount of rice you want to prepare.

First, rinse your rice under cold water to remove excess starch. Then, in the baking dish, combine the desired amount of rice and water or broth, following a 1:1.5 ratio for white rice or a 1:2 ratio for brown rice. For added flavor, you can toss in a blend of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or dill, as well as a splash of lemon juice to complement your salmon.

Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil or a lid, and place it in the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes for white rice and 45 minutes for brown rice, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. Remove the dish from the oven and let it sit, covered, for an additional 5-10 minutes to allow the rice to steam.

Cooking Rice on the Grill

Grilling your rice side dish not only imparts a smoky flavor but also frees up oven space for your salmon. To begin, preheat your grill to medium heat, around 350°F (177°C). You’ll need a grill-safe container that can withstand high temperatures, such as a cast iron skillet or a disposable aluminum pan.

Thoroughly rinse your rice under cold water to wash away any extra starch and combine the rice with your choice of water or broth in the grill-safe container, using the same ratios as mentioned for oven-cooked rice. Enhance the dish by adding your preferred herbs and a splash of lemon juice.

Cover the container securely with a lid or aluminum foil, and place it on the grill. Close the grill lid and cook the rice for about 25-30 minutes for white rice or 40-45 minutes for brown rice, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Once cooked, remove the rice from the grill and allow it to steam, covered, for 5-10 more minutes before serving.

Health and Nutritional Benefits

Benefit of Grains

When you choose rice as a side dish for salmon, you are not only enjoying a delicious meal but also reaping many health benefits. Rice, whether it’s white, brown, or other whole grain varieties, provides a range of essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, rice and other grains can aid in maintaining healthy digestion and promoting overall well-being.

One of the advantages of opting for whole grain rice, like brown rice, is the higher fiber content. Fiber supports:

  • Improved digestion
  • Weight management
  • Reducing the risk of heart diseases

Why Salmon and Rice

Salmon and rice offer a balanced, nutritious meal that supplies your body with vital nutrients. Salmon is packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to several health benefits, including:

  • Heart health
  • Brain function
  • Reduced inflammation

Moreover, the protein in salmon plays a crucial role in repairing and building body tissues, making it an excellent choice for maintaining muscle mass and other bodily functions.

Pairing salmon with rice contributes to a well-balanced diet, giving you the energy you need and promoting heart health. Besides, the combination of rice and salmon provides essential vitamins, including a variety of B vitamins and minerals like magnesium and selenium.

In summary, combining salmon, rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, with rice, a source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, creates a tantalizing and healthy dish that meets your nutritional needs. So, enjoy a delicious, well-rounded meal with the confidence that you’re making a heart-healthy choice.

Rice Side Dishes for Baked Salmon

Cilantro-Lime Rice

Cilantro-lime rice pairs excellently with baked salmon. To make this refreshing side dish, cook your rice as you normally would. After it’s cooked, stir in lime juice and freshly chopped cilantro. This rice dish adds a zesty and bright flavor to the rich taste of baked salmon. For an added zing, you can also mix in a bit of lime zest.

Portuguese Tomato Rice

Pair your baked salmon with a Portuguese-inspired tomato rice. Begin by sautéing onions, garlic, and diced tomatoes in olive oil. Add a dash of paprika for a smoky flavor. Then, stir in your rice and cook it in the tomato mixture. The result will be a savory and slightly spicy side dish that complements the taste of baked salmon.

Hawaiian Pineapple Rice

For a tropical twist, try Hawaiian pineapple rice with your baked salmon. Cook your rice with a mixture of pineapple juice and water. Once cooked, toss in chunks of pineapple, diced bell pepper, and sliced green onions. This sweet and tangy rice side dish enhances the overall flavor of your salmon and adds a tropical flair to your meal.

Mushroom Risotto

Rich and creamy mushroom risotto works well with baked salmon. Sauté your choice of mushrooms, onions, and garlic in butter until tender. Add Arborio rice and cook, gradually adding chicken or vegetable broth. Stir constantly until the risotto is creamy. Your decadent mushroom risotto will be the perfect complement to the baked salmon’s flaky, tender texture.

Cheesy Broccoli Rice

Pair baked salmon with a comforting cheesy broccoli rice for a well-rounded meal. First, cook your rice in chicken or vegetable broth. Then, stir in steamed broccoli florets and grated cheese of your choice, such as cheddar or mozzarella. The creamy, cheesy broccoli rice adds a mellow flavor that balances the baked salmon.

These rice side dishes offer a variety of flavors to enhance your baked salmon experience, whether you’re craving zesty cilantro-lime rice or a hearty mushroom risotto. Enjoy experimenting with these combinations to find the perfect pairing for your meal.

Complementary Vegetables

Roasted Asparagus

A perfect side dish for salmon is roasted asparagus. This delicious and healthy vegetable pairs well with the rich taste of salmon. To make roasted asparagus, simply toss the asparagus in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast it in the oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 12-15 minutes. To enhance the flavor, you can add a sprinkle of lemon zest before serving.

Garlic Butter Green Beans

Garlic butter green beans is another excellent choice for a side dish. To prepare this dish, blanch the green beans for a few minutes and then sauté them in a skillet with butter and minced garlic until they are tender and fragrant. The combination of garlic and butter adds a rich flavor that complements the salmon perfectly.

Glazed Carrots

A simple yet delicious side dish is glazed carrots. Cook the carrots in a mixture of butter, honey, and a touch of cinnamon until they are fork-tender. The sweet glaze enhances the natural sweetness of the carrots and balances the savory taste of the salmon.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Grilled Brussels sprouts provide a unique and smoky flavor that pairs well with salmon. Simply toss the Brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then grill them until they are tender. You can also add a drizzle of balsamic glaze to enhance their flavor even more.

Sauteed Veggies

A colorful and nutritious sauteed veggie mix can also be a great side dish for salmon. Choose your favorite combination of vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes. Sauté them in a little olive oil with garlic and your preferred seasoning to bring out their flavors.

By pairing your salmon with one of these delicious vegetable side dishes, you can create a well-rounded, flavorful, and healthy meal that will surely impress.

Speciality and Leftover Rice Recipes

Spanish Rice and Beans

Spanish Rice and Beans is a delicious side dish for salmon. To prepare this dish, cook rice with tomato sauce, onion, garlic, bell pepper, and a blend of spices. Add cooked black beans for a hearty and nutritious option.

Ranch Rice

Ranch Rice is a creamy and flavorful side dish that pairs well with salmon. To prepare Ranch Rice, cook your rice and mix it with a combination of ranch dressing, cream cheese, and your choice of vegetables like carrots, corn, or peas.

Parmesan Rice

Parmesan Rice is a simple yet flavorful option for a salmon side dish. Cook your rice and then mix in freshly grated Parmesan cheese, butter, and a touch of garlic powder. This cheesy and delicious side dish is sure to please.

Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice is a bold, flavorful rice dish that complements salmon. This Creole-inspired recipe includes cooked rice, ground meat, onions, bell peppers, celery, and a blend of spices. To make your Dirty Rice, sauté the ingredients together and then combine with the cooked rice.

Fried Rice

Fried Rice is a versatile, satisfying side dish that can be made using leftover rice. For a salmon-friendly version, try making Salmon Fried Rice using cooked, flaked salmon, soy sauce, sesame oil, and your choice of veggies. This twist on traditional fried rice is even better than take-out.

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice is a low-carb, grain-free alternative to traditional rice dishes. To make Cauliflower Rice, grate or process cauliflower florets until they resemble rice grains. Sauté the cauliflower with a bit of oil and add your choice of seasonings or vegetables for a light, delicious side to accompany your salmon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good basmati rice recipe for fish?

For a delicious basmati rice dish to pair with fish, try a simple saffron and almond rice. First, soak 1/4 teaspoon of saffron threads in a few tablespoons of warm water. Rinse 1.5 cups of basmati rice and combine it with 3 cups of water in a pot. Add the saffron, along with a pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Finally, mix in 1/4 cup of toasted, slivered almonds and serve with your desired fish.

Which brown rice side dish complements salmon?

A savory garlic and herb brown rice makes for a great side dish with salmon. Begin by cooking 1.5 cups of brown rice in chicken or vegetable broth according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté 4-5 minced garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until fragrant. Add 1 teaspoon each of chopped rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Stir in the cooked rice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

How do you prepare lemon and herb rice?

To make lemon and herb rice, cook 1.5 cups of white or brown rice according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté 2 minced garlic cloves and the zest of one lemon in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the juice of the lemon and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley. Stir in the cooked rice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

What is a seasoned rice dish that goes well with salmon?

Consider making a Mediterranean-inspired rice dish with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and feta as a flavorful side for salmon. Cook 1.5 cups of rice. In a pan, sauté 1/2 cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, followed by 3 cups of fresh spinach. Mix in the rice and 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

What type of jasmine rice pairs nicely with salmon?

For a delicious jasmine rice pairing with salmon, try a coconut-cilantro version. Combine 1.5 cups of jasmine rice, 1.5 cups of water, and 1.5 cups of coconut milk. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the rice is tender. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and stir in 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro.

What does Gordon Ramsay recommend as a side for salmon?

Gordon Ramsay suggests a simple yet flavorful minted new potato salad as a side dish for salmon. First, boil 1.5 pounds of new potatoes in salted water until tender, then drain and cut them into halves. In a bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Add the cooked potatoes and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine.

rice side dishes

Rice Side Dishes for Salmon + Recipe

Here's a recipe for Cilantro-Lime Rice:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 233 kcal


  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste


  • Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  • Add the rice and a pinch of salt to the boiling water, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Cook the rice for 18-20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork, then stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro.
  • Add salt to taste, if needed.
  • Serve the cilantro-lime rice hot or at room temperature.


Calories: 233kcal
Keyword side dishes for salmon
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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