Pan-seared Salmon with Chia Crust, served hot and crispy over cool, crunchy fennel slaw, topped with quick pickled onions and fresh dill. A simple, healthy, paleo dinner that is quick and easy. Low carb, gluten-free and YUMMY!Pan Seared Salmon with chia seeds, served hot and crispy over cool crunchy fennel slaw, topped with quick pickled onions and fresh dill. A simple, healthy, pan-seared salmon recipe that is paleo and low carb! #salmon #fennel #chia #fennelslaw #fennelsalad #paleo #lowcarb #glutenfree 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 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. Remember the Grilled Chicken Shawarma over cool and refreshing Israeli Salad? Or  the hot & blackened Cajun Tempeh over greens and cool vegan ranch?

Well here’s another one for you… Pan-Seared Salmon with a Chia Seed Crust served over a cool and crunchy fennel slaw.  It’s top with Quick Pickled Red Onions and fresh dill.  Chia seeds, if you are wondering give the salmon a unique delicious flavor as well as the most amazing texture! A very healthy, paleo friendly, low carb meal that features seasonal wild salmon and fennel. So tasty!

Keeping this short and sweet today… I’m headed out to enjoy some outdoor time. As I type, Brian is loading up the kayaks for us to paddle down the Little Spokane River… one of my all-time favorite things to do here when it’s hot.  Hope you are having a fabulous summer!


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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

Pan Seared Salmon with Chia Seeds, Fennel Slaw and Pickled Onions

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: paleo, main, fish, entree, Gluten-free, low carb
  • Method: Pan Seared
  • Cuisine: Northwest


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!


Pan Seared Salmon
  • 2 4-6 ounces Wild Salmon (or Steelhead) filets ( I prefer thicker cuts)
  • 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 dill or tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 23 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Quick Pickled red onions

Fresh dill for garnish


  1. Make the slaw. Place the slaw ingredients in a medium bowl and toss well, adjusting salt and lemon. Set aside.
  2. Brush the tops of salmon with olive oil.
  3. Place salt, pepper, dried herbs, granulated garlic, chia seeds in a small bowl and mix.
  4. Coat the top of the fish liberally with the chia mixture, pressing it down well with your fingers, all the way to the edges.
  5. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Let the pan get hot.
  6. Add the fish, 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.
  7. Divide the fennel slaw between two plates and place fish on top. Squeeze with lemon and top with 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

Keywords: pan seared salmon, paleo salmon, salmon paleo, chia crusted salmon, fennel slaw, fennel slaw recipe, salmon recipe, easy salmon recipe, quick salmon recipe

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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. Loved it. I missed the pickled onions part and didn’t have time to make them – will do it next time.

  9. 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.

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

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