How to Cook Salmon and Asparagus

This post is from the newest member of the Team Nerd Fitness, Taylor.  Taylor is the new Chief Wordsmith at Nerd Fitness, keeping everything organized, scheduled, and edited!  Want to learn more about Taylor (and the rest of Team Nerd Fitness)?  Click here.

This stormtrooper desperately needs your help. He needs you to eat this salmon.

You see, I used to eat Panda Express and crappy cafeteria food on a regular basis.

Then I learned how to grow up and cook a real meal.

…and then I ate that one healthy meal. Every. Single. Day. Chicken and veggies for lunch. Chicken and veggies for dinner.

But I slowly discovered that if you are able to cook something different every once in a while, your core healthy meal becomes a lot more enjoyable.  They say variety is the spice of life.  Welp, let’s go ahead and add some variety like a boss to the basic “chicken and veggies” meal!

Today we are going to cook some salmon!

Honey Soy Salmon

Whether you are at the “Panda Express” phase, or the “chicken-every-night” phase, introducing just a single simple and healthy meal can help break the cycle. You’ll be on your way to a cleaner diet, and you’ll prevent your favorite core meal from getting old too quickly.

If you’re looking for a nutrient dense, paleo friendly alternative, you can’t do much better than Salmon. Salmon is loaded with all sorts of good stuff: tons of protein, fish oil and Omega-3s, good fat, vitamin D, and more. The best thing about this recipe? If you don’t like very fishy fish, I’ll explain how the honey soy sauce can mask any unwanted fishy flavor.

For extra credit, learn some pro tips from nature’s experts on everything salmon, as they wrangle a meal without breakin’ a sweat (I apologize for the countless hours now lost to watching live bears, pandas, and puppy dogs). 

What You’ll Need


  • Salmon – The recipe below is for about l lb (~450g) of salmon, which works as a moderate portion for two. Feel free to scale up as needed!  If possible, go for WILD salmon, not farmed salmon.
  • 1 package of organic asparagus 
  • Honey 
  • Soy Sauce (not Paleo, I know…if you’re looking for a paleo/gluten free alternative, try coconut aminos or fish sauce. Also, if you’re worried about the sodium content, go with the low-sodium sauce.
  • Garlic
  • Cloves, Ground Red Pepper, Paprika, and Cinnamon – If you have access to five spice, be sure to use that instead of these spices! If you don’t have access to five spice and are finding this list intimidating, just make sure you have cloves, it’s the most important spice.
  • Paprika and Olive Oil – For the asparagus, but entirely optional.  There are a million different ways to season asparagus.


  • Cookie Sheet
  • Tin Foil
  • One small bowl
  • One good knife
  • Oven
Unlike Paleo Spaghetti, 95% of the work is in the set up, before any cooking begins. Once you get the ingredients together and the sauce mixed, you’re  in the home stretch.

Prepare the Sauce

Honey Soy Sauce Salmon Recipe Ingredients Mixed

In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup (~59 ml) honey and 4 teaspoons (20 ml) of soy sauce.

Add the spices, about five strong dashes of each. If you are using Five spice, be sure to use no more than 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g).

Mince and add two garlic cloves, and stir the concoction.

Marinate and Snack

Pour the honey soy sauce over the salmon.

Honey Soy Sauce Salmon Face up

After a moment, flip the salmon so it lies face down (skin up) in the sauce. 

Honey Soy Sauce Salon Flip

Honey Soy Sauce Salmon Marinade

Let the salmon and sauce marinate for 20 minutesRest and enjoy an adult beverage – this cooking stuff is hard work.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (200 celsius).


With tin foil in hand, make two sections in your cookie sheet:  One for the asparagus, and one for the salmon. The salmon goes on the cookie sheet with the skin side down.

Chop off the ends of the asparagus, coat with olive oil, salt, paprika, or your preferred asparagus seasoning. 

Honey Soy Sauce Salmon Asparagus Prepped

Once both items are on the tray, toss it in the oven. If you’ve been following the recipe so far, you’ll want to cook your 1 lb of salmon and asparagus at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Pro Tip: For a nice brown exterior, switch the oven off around 8 minutes and turn on the broiler. Broil for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on your broiling salmon!

If you are new to making salmon, cooked salmon should flake fairly easily when you poke it with a fork. Check to make sure that the salmon is no longer translucent.

Honey Soy Sauce Salmon Finished

Enjoy! If you don’t enjoy fishy fish, be sure to save the sauce from the baking sheet, and re-drizzle on your salmon.

Salmon for the win!

Bear Catching Salmon

Yes, cooking and eating the same thing is easy.  It’s comfortable.  But it’s also boring!  Don’t be afraid to try new sources of protein, new methods of cooking, and new foods that you’ve never tried before.  Sure, you might not like it…but you might LOVE it.

Only one way to find out, right?  

What other simple salmon recipes do you enjoy?  How would you adjust the above recipe?  

For the Rebellion!



photo –  Bear Catching Salmon, Stormtrooper Fish

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  • Keith Moore

    My wife & I cook salmon 2 or 3 times per week. Here’s our go-to salmon recipe. We use salmon filets similar to the one you used.

    * Remove salmon from fridge and leave it on the counter for an hour or so. You want it to come up to room temperature.
    * Heat oven to 350F.
    * Coat meat side of the filet with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried dill.
    * Put an oven proof pan (we use cast iron) on the stove over medium high heat.
    * Sear the filet (meat side down) in the pan for 2 minutes.
    * Turn the filet (so it’s now skin side down) and transfer to the oven.
    * Bake for as long as necessary. A general rule of thumb is 10 minutes total time (including the 2 minute sear) per inch of filet thickness. We tend to like ours on the rare side, so we shoot for 7-8 minutes total time.
    * When done, remove from the oven. The skin should peel off easily.
    * Serve on a plate with steamed/roasted veggies (the asparagus looks great!) or over a large spinach salad.

    Bonus extra: After the filet is done and the skin peeled, reheat the pan on the stove and fry the skin in the residual oils. Mark Sisson (of calls fried salmon skin “bacon of the sea”, and it is indeed delicious.

    Bonus #2: While the salmon is cooking, heat a pint of fresh blueberries in a sauce pan over medium heat crushing periodically with a large spoon. They’ll eventually release their juices and cook down to a thick sauce. (Optional: Add a tbsp or two of balsamic vinegar.) Serve over the salmon filet. “Salmon plus blueberries” may sound rather strange, but it’s awesome!

  • Travis Martin

    I was youtubing how to cook fish a little while ago, and I came across a segment of Jamie Oliver’s show “Dream School” in which he explained the basics of cooking fish. In a nutshell, you score the skin, douse in olive oil, salt, and pepper on both sides, then toss it in a frying pan on screaming hot heat skin-side down. The skin protects the meat and keeps it juicy. The skin also gets super crispy and delicious, so it’s way easier to get the nutrients out of that part of the fish.

    He talked about broiling, baking, steaming and maybe a few other methods as well, explaining that it will affect the flavour for each type of fish.

    Best tip: smell the fish before you buy it. If it smells “fishy”, it’s no good.

  • gonestarfishing

    Strict Paleo eaters may want to substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce! I haven’t tried it myself but apparently it will give the same flavor profile of soy sauce, without the evil soy 🙂

  • nebtlly

    That thing you said about the blueberries? Holy damn. I might actually have to make them last longer than the ride home for that.

  • stardust462

    This is my favorite salmon recipe ever and it’s fool proof – salmon baked in foil:

    I always make extra and have some for salad the next day.

  • Taylor Share

    I’m always snacking on blueberries — this sounds delicious!

  • Charlie

    Excellent recipe!!  Asparagus is awesome and worth having smelly pee afterwards!

  • Scapegoat

    The easiest/fastest way to cook salmon: Heat pan over medium-low/medium heat, add in some olive oil.  While the pan is getting hot, sprinkle salt and pepper on the salmon.  Put the salmon in the pan skin side up for 3-4 minutes (depending on thickness), then flip and let cook for 3-4 minutes more skin side down.  10 minutes total cooking time, deliciousness.

  • Joe Auerbach

    I was JUST about to say that.  then again, I just us soy.  My diet is not so dialed in that a bit of soy will screw it up. 

  • Taylor

    Great tip, I’ll be sure to add in some soy alternatives for the very serious paleo people!

  • Sarah Franco

    Welcome to the team Taylor!  Looking forward to reading more of your stuff (especially if it’s more recipes-love the simple meals here on Nerd Fitness).

  • catherine marshall

    For the true Canadian: MAPLE SALMON!

    Drizzle 100% pure Maple Syrup over salmon
    Sprinkle a little cinnamon over it
    Bake at 350 for 20 mins

    Pinch of ginger
    Pinch of garlic
    Pinch of brown sugar

    And for the asparagus:
    Butter, lemon, lime, garlic & basil

    Find me on the forum as “Cutebug” if you want more recipes (Cashew-encrusted cod, anyone???)

  • Dragonjax

     +1!!! I ordered coconut aminos from Amazon, and it’s terrific in stir-fry dishes.

  • DK

    Would it be possible to make this recipe more world-wide-friendly and add the number of grammes in brackets after the cups? It’s a pain to find a really nice looking recipe and then spend forever translating back from cups to something I can actually use.

  • Auntymelly007

    I’m a fan of seasoning my asparagus with Montreal steak spice.  So yummy!

  • FaceAK

    oh boy, salmon. One of my favorites, and luckily I live in Alaska so summers are full of the fresh stuff from friends! I find that cooking a salted fillet in a super hot cast iron skillet with olive oil for 4 min each side (starting with skin side down) makes the perfect fillet. And the hot skillet makes that skin nice and crunchy, absolutely awesome. I’m drooling a little just thinking about it!

  • Brandon E

    If this is “for beginners”, you might want to explain in more detail about cutting off the bottom of the asparagus. Why and how much. I snap mine rather than cutting, but someone who’s just getting started cooking could use more info.

    Great looking salmon recipe. I’ll be trying that.

  • Jakibarclay

    For a very,VERY easy dish– we like to bake our salmon with lemon juice and Chef Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic.

  • Shoshie

    Also yummy: pomegranate honey salmon.  Buy a pomegranate.  Remove seeds by whacking the pomegranate a bunch with a spoon.  Separate some seeds for garnish, and pulverize the rest with a fork.  Add in some honey, grated ginger, salt, and fresh ground pepper.  Also good: paprika or a little bit of cayenne.  Throw the honey-pomegranate sauce onto the fish and bake it until it flakes.  Add on the additional pomegranate seeds.  Done.  Also works for chicken.  The honey really seals in moisture and makes the meat really succulent.  Mmmmm.  I want it to be pomegranate season.

  • Shoshie

    Also, easiest and fastest way to cook salmon is in a microwave.  Take salmon.  Throw on whatever spices you like.  Microwave in covered dish for 3.5 minutes.  Check salmon.  If uncooked, keep cooking in 30 second increments.  

    Microwaving also works great for artichokes.  Cut off the stem and top pointy bits of the artichoke.  Rinse the artichoke.  Pop into covered dish for 7 minutes.  Eat with lemon butter.  Rejoice in the deliciousness that is artichoke.

  • catherine marshall

    You want to be a bit careful with microwaving – some vitamins are destroyed by microwaves!

  • Marianne

    I live in Norway, so I eat a lot of salmon. This is my go to miso salmon recipe:

    – oven at 190C
    – 300 – 500g salmon +/-

    – maybe on good heaping tablespoon of miso (fermented soy is sorta paleo)
    – a teaspoon of minced ginger out of a jar (or shredded from fresh if ambitious)
    – 1/4 teaspoon honey (just a tiny touch or it gets too sweet)
    – 2-3 tablespoons black sesame oil
    – 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce

    The marinade should be thick enough that it does not run right off the fish. So I typically drizzle the oil/soy while stirring to make sure I don’t put in too much. I go for a thin coating so that the fish isn’t too salty. However, I also taste the marinade as I make it to see if it could use more sesame oil/soy/honey, etc.

    I put the fish on a cookie sheet covered with foil, spread the marinade over the fish and pop it into the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes depending on how rare I want it to be. The top and/or edges of the fish should be browning a bit by that point. I could probably let the fish sit and marinade for a bit before putting it in the oven, but I’m lazy.

    So all in all, the time it takes to make this is the time it takes to mix 5 things together and smear it over a fish. By the time the fish is out of the oven I’ve made a giant salad, set the table and washed the two things I got dirty.

  • Taylor

    Thanks! If you have anything specifically that you’d like to see, feel free to shoot me an email at or post here!

  • Taylor

    Check back later for a world-friendly update 🙂

  • Kohls Customs

    This recipe looks great but I try to not use soy sauce with anything (you know, paleo and all). This is the recipe I use and I definitely follow the KISS method. I also have a very paleo side dish that I make that consists of green beans, bacon and onions that I’ll add. Seriously this is one of the tastiest and EASIEST meals that I make


    Ingredients: – salmon fillets
                        – olive oil
                        – garlic salt
                        – black pepper
                        – paprika
                        – honey

    1. heat the oven to 400 degrees
    2. lightly brush on some olive oil
    3. season the salmon with garlic salt, black pepper and paprika
    4. (if you have a cast iron pan) sear the salmon skin side down for 1 minute and place the pan in the oven for 10-12 minutes
        (if you don’t have a cast iron pan) place the salmon on a cooking sheet covered in parchment paper and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes
    5. remove from oven and drizzle honey over fillets

    Green beans and bacon (serves 3-4)

    Ingredients: – 1 regular sized onion (white or sweet)
                        – 6-8 strips of bacon (depending on how much you like bacon)
                        – 2-2.5 cups of green beans

    1. steam the green beans
    2. fry bacon in pan (keep 1/4 to 1/2 of the leavings), do not burn
    3. chop onion into small pieces (stop before they’re too small and will turn to mush during frying)
    4. place bacon on towel to dry and fry onion in remaining bacon leavings until they brown
    5. chop the bacon into smaller pieces
    6. once the onions have browned, throw the beans and bacon back into the pan and mix everything together.
    7. once ingredients are mixed serve on the side of the salmon

  • Liz

    Real fresh salmon doesn’t need anything except butter, salt and pepper, and maybe a little squeeze of lemon juice.

  • Kelly

    I’m also an asparagus snapper. Wherever it snaps is the amount to remove. Vegetable magic!

  • sunrunner

    I was going to add the same thing except I was thinking about Braggs Liquid Amino Acids… It tastes just like soy sauce… nver heard of coconut aminos but will have to check ’em out

  • Pat G

    This is my favorite way to pan fry Salmon. Butter + salt & pepper.

  • Chrissa Hunt

    I usually make a parchment pack of my salmon, placing it on top of the asparagus and seasoning it. It cooks perfectly every time.

  • RedPanda

    For a slightly different, more vacation-ish variation on a salmon filet, I like to drizzle it with unrefined coconut oil, sprinkle on black pepper, and squeeze a lime over the filet before baking. The smell is out of this world! And it’s low carb and gluten free, to boot.

  • Chris Ly

    My favorite salmon recipe: buy sushi grade salmon, cut it up, eat. 

  • DK

    Thanks 🙂 I hope to be cooking this soon.

  • aakashkotnala

    hello,you write soo good articles every time .check my blog

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  • Xadus06

    Something to remember about olive oil is that it smokes at around 375 so be mindful that it isn’t burning its cooking.

  • Khaled Allen

    Delicious! Salmon is pretty much my #1 favorite food.

  • PattyRice

    I have never cooked salmon before and my husband loves it!  Will definitely try it myself at home now 🙂
    Thanks and welcome aboard!

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  • Bharati Naik

    looks delish. i bet you could get 90% of the flavor with half the effort by just using soy and honey (i hate being in the kitchen) ha.

    i usually just use a dry rub when i make salmon, old bay, or some blackened redfish seasoning.

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  • Anon

    If you want gluten free Soy Sauce look for Tamari

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