One pan cajun salmon and asparagus is the ultimate dinner! Healthy, delicious and on the table in 15 minutes! Who needs takeout when a meal this good is less than 30 minutes away.
Dinner for me is seldom complicated. Despite the fact that I am a chef, I need dinner simplified and unassuming. I need minimal dishes to wash, maximum flavor and minimal time to prepare.
How much time does the prep for this one pan cajun salmon take? Well it depends how long it takes for your oven to warm up? Because it will most likely take more time to warm up your oven than it does to prepare this fish.
- Drizzle salmon with olive oil. Sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper, cajun spice and garlic powder. Squeeze on some lemon juice for good measure as well. Run the spice mixture in…to create a nice paste on both sides. (Most grocery stores sell salmon already pre-cut into 4-5 oz portions. I recommend getting that and saving yourself the time on cutting the salmon up)
- Slice up one lemon and top the salmon with the lemon slices.
- Take asparagus, snap off the woodsy stalks and place alongside salmon. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and PLENTY of garlic powder. A few squeezes of lemon juice on top to make it even more delish.
- Then into the oven it goes for 15 minutes. Sip your wine while it cooks and scroll through Facebook. Or be productive and make a salad…whatever floats your boat man…I don’t judge.
I have been making this dish for YEARS. I have done a variation of this not so very fancy (yet impressive) cajun salmon since I was 16. My mom always loved how I made salmon and so I would constantly create different recipes for salmon for her. Growing up, our oven at home broke ages ago and my mom (being the thrifty housewife that she was) went out and bought a toaster oven for $80 and we used that instead. It cooked my fish perfectly…every single time. My mom always thought I was nuts for cranking the heat up to 450 degrees and taking the fish out in 15 minutes.
“You will burn it at that high of a temperature,” “Mila, 15 minutes is not enough,” my mom would warn me. But I knew what I was doing was right…all the chef’s on TV said so.
I made this dish many different ways, sometimes changing the lemons for limes. Sometimes adding in wine like I do with my cajun chicken . Heck sometimes I even swapped out the salmon for halibut, cod or Chilean sea bass when I’m feeling fancy.
No matter what my changes were, the fish was ALWAYS perfectly cooked and on the table in 15 minutes.
I found that cajun spice provides food with so much punch and flavor that it was a shock that I had not used it more often in food! So I went on a phase where EVERYTHING had cajun spice. And that was how my Vegan Creamy Cajun Pasta was born…which is ummm…HEAVEN!
Generally speaking when you combine a spice mix with an oil or a sweet additive (honey, molasses, maple syrup) you create a paste. I love using that paste as a shmear’ on my fish and chicken. When you use a paste versus just simply dusting it on, the paste will adhere to the fish or chicken better and will obviously be more delicious…because duh… delicious is what we are going for here.
See this gorgeousness? This too can be yours…for a mere 15 minutes…
I love creating one pan meals with shrimp or fish using asparagus or cauliflower because they tend to bake off in the same amount of time as the fish. Plus asparagus is ridiculously gorgeous when it is roasted.
You can also make oodles of modifications to this recipe because in all actuality this is NOT a recipe it is a technique. Treat it as such and you shall be golden
- Add lime zest, olive oil, ginger powder and curry spice and create a killer Indian style fish.
- Add balsamic, olive oil and toss some cherry tomatoes in the mix and you have a fabulous Italian baked fish.
- Add lime zest, red pepper flakes, smoky chipotle powder and cumin and top off with cilantro and have a killer Mexican style fish.
- Substitute your asparagus for cauliflower, broccoli, brocollini, thin country carrots, sweet peppers, zucchini sticks or any other quick cooking veggies and have even more variety.
Let me make your life a little easier…I actually put this recipe in a VIDEO!!!
I hosted a Facebook LIVE with my friend Marlena from Love That Spice, a local spice shop by me and we used her Cajun spice. Let me tell you, that is POTENT..in a very good way. It just made me a believer that spices need to come from a reputable source because they are just that much better!
Mmmmmm deliciousness. Major nom’s! And all in one pan! Majority of the time guys… I use foil pans…because I am THAT lazy. I choose not to wash dishes if I don’t have to…and for this dish..I DON’T HAVE TO. As far as putting the spices on the fish go… I suppose as an alternative, you can combine all the spices, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a bowl. Then create a paste and smear it on. I felt the need to make this all in one pan so I did not want to dirty up an additional bowl.
So boys and girls tell me…what veggies would you put in this killer one pan wonder?
- 4 pieces 5-6 oz portions of salmon, cod or halibut
- 4 tbsp of cajun spice (more if you like it super spicy)
- 4 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- ½ tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- half a lemon sliced
- 2 pounds of asparagus, woody stalks removed*
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 450-degrees.
- Place the salmon pieces skin side down on a large enough sheet pan to accommodate the fish and the asparagus.
- Drizzle oil over the salmon and the veggies.
- Drizzle lemon juice over the salmon and veggies as well.
- Sprinkle the cajun spice, garlic powder, salt and pepper over the salmon and the asparagus.*
- Rub the mixture all over the salmon making sure that it is nicely covered in spicy goodness.
- Place the lemon slices on top of the fish.
- Toss the asparagus so it is evenly covered as well.
- Place into the oven for 15 minutes or until the fish is flaky.
2. If you really want to brown this baby up even more, turn on the broiler for the last 4-5 minutes of cooking time and watch it get blackened!
3. I should mention I use a convection oven. This may take longer in a standard oven but it will take close to the same time in a smaller toaster oven so feel free to use that.
4. As an alternative, you can combine all the spices, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a bowl. Then create a paste and smear it on. I felt the need to make this all in one pan so I did not want to dirty up an additional bowl.