today we’re talking cajun salmon burgers, also known as, “why didn’t anyone tell me dinner could be so easy?!”
there isn’t even any binder – just salmon, scallions, lime zest, and spices. with the exception of the lime zest, you could mix up a big batch of the cajun spice mix and keep it in the cupboard, ready to make cajun salmon burgers in under 5 minutes.
or, better yet, make and cook a big batch of these burgers and then toss them in the freezer for super fast meals. (“hi, my name is kate and my freezer is full of cajun salmon burgers from various rounds of recipe testing.”)
when i first saw this recipe, i was intrigued because the burgers don’t have any binder (bread crumbs, flour, etc.) and i wasn’t sure how they would hold together. my previous experience with (asian) salmon burgers included oats to help everything hold together.
oooor maybe just because the original source i adapted that recipe from liked oats, because it turns out we totally don’t need them to hold the burgers together. the burgers stick together perfectly well using… salmon!
about one quarter of the salmon takes a quick spin in the food processor to form salmon paste (sorry, but that’s the best word for it). then the rest of the salmon goes in for just a moment to get all combined with some of the spices. from there, it’s just forming and cooking the patties.
in terms of prep time, i’m pretty sure pulling all of the spices out of the cabinet is the most time-consuming step (unless you took my suggestion to make a big batch of the cajun spice mixture, in which case the most time consuming step is… slicing two scallions?).
that said, if you want healthy meals that can be ready *even faster*, these cajun salmon burgers are totally meal prep compatible/freezer friendly. i precooked mine so that i wouldn’t have to mess with that later, but, taking a page out of trader joe’s frozen circles playbook, you could also form these into really thin (about 1 cm) patties and freeze them raw, with waxed paper between the layers. since you made them thin, they would cook quickly once you took them out of the freezer without needing to be defrosted first. choices!
regardless of how much prep you do now to save your future self time, i do hope your very soon self gets to try these cajun salmon burgers, because it turns out dinner can be both simple AND delicious, at least when it’s these burgers.
looking for more salmon recipes? check these out!
did you make this recipe? i’d love to know what you think of it! leave a comment below and share a picture on instagram with the hashtag #tastyseasons.
cajun salmon burgers are easy, fast, and delicious - perfect for an easy weeknight dinner! a simple spice rub forms a yummy crust as the burgers cook quickly. these gluten free/dairy free/paleo burgers are freezer friendly so they're great for meal prep!
- 1 pound (454 g.) boneless, skinless salmon (see notes), cut into 1" (2.5 cm) cubes
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- in a small bowl, combine the spices to make the cajun spice blend.
- put ¼ of the salmon pieces in the bowl of a large food processor. process a few seconds until a smooth paste forms. add the remaining salmon, the scallions, lime zest, and 2 teaspoons of the spice blend. pulse a few times, just until the salmon is broken down into pieces about ¼" (0.6 cm). keep the mixture a bit chunky; do not blend the entire mixture into a smooth paste. remove the food processor blade and set aside.
- shape the salmon mixture into 4 patties. sprinkle the remaining spice blend over both sides of the burgers, pressing the spices in a bit so they stick to the burgers.
- heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet with a lid over medium-low heat. cook the burgers, covered, for 3 minutes on the first side, until a nice crust forms. flip the burgers and cook, uncovered, for another approximately 3 minutes, until the burgers register 140° F in the center (opaque pink all the way through if you cut into the center). serve immediately or allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for a super fast meal later (see notes for make ahead variations). leftovers are also awesome crumbled over salad tomorrow and i haven't tried it yet, but it just occurred to me they'd probably be delicious crumbled into a frittata or omelet.
salmon - i'm a big fan of trader joe's frozen salmon filets, especially when i pay attention and buy the ones that are skinless on BOTH sides. i think the ones with skin on one side are slightly healthier/more sustainable, but for something like this where i would have to skin the filet while it's still raw (which is not easy, unless you know of some trick that i don't!), i really prefer to let someone else/a machine tackle the skin removal task.
make ahead - if you want to make a larger batch of the cajun spice rub, it will keep for months in an airtight container in a dark cupboard.
as discussed above, you could either cook these burgers and then freeze them or shape them into thin (1 cm) patties and freeze them raw with waxed paper between the layers. if you cook them from raw frozen, they may need an extra minute or two per side, but they won't need much more time and they don't need to be defrosted first (assuming you made them 1 cm thick).
general recipe adapted from cajun salmon burgers on mark's daily apple and spice mixture adapted from cajun spice mix on allrecipes.