Pan-seared salmon with a chia seed crust, served hot and crispy over a cool, crunchy fennel slaw, topped with quick pickled onions and fresh dill. A simple, healthy, low-carb dinner that is surprisingly quick and easy to make.

pan-seared salmon with chia crust served on fennel slaw, garnished with pickled onions and fresh dill.

You have escaped the cage. Your wings are stretched out. Now, fly.
– Rumi

Wow, things just heated up fast the last few days. Summer finally arrived in our area, and boy is it hot, hot, hot! Here’s a cool little number to try this week. And if you’ve been here a while, you’ll already know how much I like to pair hot and cold things together.

Well here’s another one for you: Pan-seared salmon with a chia seed crust served over a cool and crunchy fennel slaw. Chia seeds, if you are wondering, not only give the salmon a unique, delicious flavor but also an amazing texture!

This is a very healthy, low-carb meal that is high in Omega-3s. And it is very tasty!

Why You’ll Love This

  1. Refreshing summer dish. The cool and crisp fennel salad is perfect for hot summer days and nights!
  2. Nutritious chia seed crust. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3s, and they’re high in protein and fiber.
  3. Healthy, low carb meal. A light and nutrient-rich summer meal!
  4. Quick and easy! Made in just 30 minutes.


How to Make Chia-Crusted Salmon

Step 1: Make the slaw. Add slaw ingredients to medium bowl and toss, adjusting salt and lemon to taste.

Step 2: Prep salmon. Brush tops of salmon with oil. Mix kosher salt, black pepper, dried herbs, granulated garlic, and chia seeds in small bowl. Coat tops of salmon with chia mixture, pressing it down firmly with your fingers, all the way to the edges.

Step 3: Cook salmon. Heat oil in pan over medium-high. Once hot, add salmon, chia seed side down, and pan sear 3-4 mins, until golden brown and crispy. Flip each filet carefully with metal spatula, keeping crust intact. Cook until desired doneness, 3-4 minutes or more, depending on thickness.

Step 4: Assemble. Divide fennel slaw between two plates and top with fish. Serve with fresh lemon juice and garnish with pickled red onions (optional) and sprinkle with fresh dill (or parsley).

Expert Tips

  1. Make sure the salmon is dry. Before pan-searing, pat the salmon fillets down with a paper towel. Any excess water will interfere with the searing process.
  2. If using skin-on salmon: Add chia crust to flesh side and salt the skin side. Sear the chia side first, then flip and sear the salmon skin side until desired crispiness.
  3. Use a thin metal spatula. This really helps keep the crust in tact, especially if using a cast iron skillet. You can also use a fish spatula! Or use a nonstick skillet for easy cooking too.


Should salmon be room temperature before frying?

Yes. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before pan-searing so that it comes to room temp, but be careful not to let it sit too long. If it is cold, it will cook unevenly.

Is it better to sear salmon in butter or oil?

Oil is ideal for achieving crispy edges. If you wish, you could use both oil and butter if you want a bit of buttery richness.

Is it better to pan-sear or bake salmon?

Both are great methods! But due to the time it takes to preheat the oven, plus baking time, pan-searing is a quick and easy way to cook salmon fast.

Do I need an instant-read thermometer?

You can use one to check the internal temperature if desired, however it is not necessary. You can tell when salmon is done because it should naturally release from the pan and the exterior will be crispy with a golden crust. For the interior, when pressed with a fork, the inside skin flakes apart easily.

What else can I serve pan-seared salmon with?

This chia crusted salmon would go well with any roasted vegetables like broccoli or asparagus. You could also serve with whole grains, like rice—or serve over risotto!

Storage & Reheating

This recipe serves 2, but if you make a larger batch, then you can store leftovers for 2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Reheat in a skillet over medium-low heat, or serve leftovers chilled or room temperature with slaw or salad.

pan-seared salmon with chia seed crust served over fennel salad, garnished with pickled red onions and fresh dill.

Hope you enjoy this pan-seared salmon recipe and let us know what you think in the comments below!



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Chia Crusted Salmon, served over cool crunchy fennel slaw, topped with quick pickled onions. A simple, elegant dinner that is quick and healthy. #salmon #fennel #chia #fennelslaw #fennelsalad

Chia Crusted Salmon

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 8 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: dinner idea, salmon
  • Method: stovetop, pan-seared
  • Cuisine: American


Crispy, pan-seared chia crusted salmon is served over cool and crunchy fennel slaw, topped with quick pickled onions and dill. Paleo and gluten-free!


  • 2 pieces of salmon, skinless ( 4-6 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint, dill or tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon ( to finish)
Fennel Slaw:
  • 1 extra large fennel bulb, very thinly sliced ( a mandolin is great for this)
  • 1 Turkish cucumber
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1/2 ounce package of dill or tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 23 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Quick Pickled red onions

Garnish: fresh dill or tarragon.


  1. Make the slaw. Place the slaw ingredients in a medium bowl and toss well, adjusting salt and lemon. Set aside.
  2. Prep the salmon. Brush the tops of salmon with olive oil. Place salt, pepper, dried herbs, granulated garlic, chia seeds in a small bowl and mix.Coat the top of the fish liberally with the chia mixture, pressing it down hard with your fingers, all the way to the edges.
  3. Cook the salmon. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Let the pan get hot. Add the salmon,  chia seed side down and pan sear  3-4 minutes until golden and crispy. Using a metal spatula, carefully turn over, to keep the crust intact and continue cooking until the fish is cooked to desired doneness, 3-4 more minutes, or more depending on thickness.
  4. Assemble the plates: Divide the fennel slaw between two plates and place fish on top. Squeeze with lemon and top with optional pickled red onions and fresh dill.


If using salmon with skin, feel free to salt and crisp the skin side too, placing chia mix on the fleshy side.

I find that using a thin metal spatula ( especially in a cast iron skillet) helps to keep the crust ( in this case, chia crust) more intact. Just a personal preference.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 399
  • Sugar: 6.6 g
  • Sodium: 731.2 mg
  • Fat: 27.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11.9 g
  • Fiber: 3.7 g
  • Protein: 30.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 65.2 mg

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  1. I made salmon this way at least five times and each time we all felt as having meal so special, as if it was a celebration. Fennel is sometimes not available so I made few times soba noodles
    with ‘basil pesto'(omitted parmesan and hemp) and grounded pepita seeds. Today I had Napa cabbage so I made Quick & Easy Soba Noodles. It was again delicious.
    Thank you.

    1. Yay Miluska! I am so glad you gave this a go. It’s an unusual salmon recipe, but I really love it too! Different and delicious! And it can be paired with most any salad or veggie.

  2. The salmon and pickled onions were delicious. I found the fennel slaw to be a bit mild, but that may have been from rather bland lemons I had on hand.

    Using a medium heat, I wasn’t able to crisp the fish. I wonder if a high heat might do the trick.

    Definitely a repeater. Thank you Sylvia.

  3. This recipe will be perfect to try. There is fennel in my refrigerator that I want to use as well as the first dill of the season in my garden. Those pickled red onions sound good, will try them also……thanks for the recipe

    1. Oh my, the chia crust was so very good, I am going to try it on other fish and foods as well. I wonder if it would work with tofu?

  4. Salmon was wonderful. Sylvia, you have a way with spices and getting just the right balance! I also made the pickled onions which were perfect on top. I had a bit of trouble with the fennel slaw in getting the salt and lemon right, but would try it again, next time letting the flavors combine longer in the fridge before adjusting anything. Any recommendations? Thanks!

    1. THanks Mollie- I think that’s exactly what I would do. Let slaw flavors meld a bit before adjusting.

  5. Another fantastic meal and easy! My husband and I really loved the chia seed crust and the crunchy and crisp fennel slaw, as well as the pickled onions. I added apple to the fennel slaw which provided a subtle sweetness.

  6. This was exceptional. I don’t have much experience cooking fish, so I didn’t have high hopes, but it came out perfect both times i’ve made it. I didn’t have chia seeds on hand the second time, so used quinoa instead, and I liked it even better. More pop and crunch. Apparently one can’t go wrong with this recipe. Thank you!

  7. Hello-

    I had 2 questions on your recipe. 1) What does rinsing the fish do? I’m wondering if it affects taste/consistency. 2) Why do you choose to use a metal spatula over plastic/silicon?

    Thank you! Love our blog!

    1. Rinsing is not imperative! Im not sure why I put that down. As for metal spatula, I find for me personally not is easier to keep a crust intact especially when using a cast iron skillet. They are thinner and less flexible, so getting underneath the crust is easier. Just a personal preference….:)

  8. I made this when I got home from work with ingredients I mostly had already. Super quick, easy, fresh-tasting and filling. Plus I now have the leftovers packed up for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe! Will definitely make it again.

  9. This looks so fresh and delicious. And I love to pair hot and cold too! Especially in the summer.

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