What Rice Side Dishes Go Well With Salmon? (17 Best Ideas)

Categorized as Foodpairing

Are you looking for something to pair with your salmon dinner? You don’t have to settle for a boring side dish when it comes to this delicious fish. Rice dishes are the perfect accompaniment, and there are plenty of options that will tantalize your taste buds.

I’ve rounded up 17 delicious ideas that will make your next salmon dinner even better. Whether you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal or want something fancier for special occasions, these sides will add flavor, texture and nutrition to your plate in no time.

Why Is Rice a Great Side for Salmon?

Rice is the perfect accompaniment to salmon because it complements the delicate flavor of the fish. It’s also incredibly versatile, you can choose white rice for a plain and simple side dish, or opt for wild, brown, basmati or jasmine rice for more flavor and texture. Plus, it’s quick and easy to cook, which makes it the perfect side for busy weeknights.

Cooking it correctly is key – while microwaving or boiling are both acceptable routes, you’ll get the best results by steaming the rice in a pot with a clove of garlic and some vegetable broth. This will add layers of flavor to your side dish that will pair perfectly with your salmon.

For even more depth of flavor, try adding herbs like rosemary and thyme to your steamed rice before serving. You could also throw in some cooked vegetables, like mushrooms or peas, when you steam the rice to create an all-in-one meal that pairs perfectly with salmon. 

If you’re looking for something a bit heartier than plain white or brown rice, consider trying fried rice. The combination of textures from the crunchy vegetables and egg bits are delicious when combined with savory soy sauce and salmon on top.

The possibilities are endless – feel free to experiment with different flavors like cilantro-lime or smoky chipotle until you find one that suits your taste buds. Fried rice is ideal for those days when you need something quick but still want a steakhouse-quality flavor. 

When served together, salmon and rice make for an unbeatable duo that works well as either an entree or a side dish on any menu. With its versatility and sheer bulkiness, there’s no denying that this classic pairing is here to stay.

What Rice Side Dish Go Well With Salmon?

Here are 17 rice side dishes to make your salmon dinner even better:

1. Sushi Rice

Sushi rice is the cornerstone of any good sushi dish, so it goes without saying that it pairs exceptionally well with salmon! Not only does it act as a great base to bolster any fish’s flavor, but its perfect cookability and light texture makes salmon practically beg to be placed on top.

Additionally, when paired with some of the more classic sides such as soy sauce, seaweed salad and spicy mayonnaise – all of which complement salmon to perfection – you have yourself an unbeatable combination fit for a king.

2. Lemon White Rice

Lemon white rice provides a complementary flavor to salmon dishes, which are typically more savory than sweet. While most people may not think of white rice as being “lemony,” the addition of lemon zest, juice, or teaspoons of butter with a bit of lemon pepper seasoning can take this otherwise plain side dish to the next level.

Preparing lemon white rice is quite simple and straightforward – just use long grain white rice and stir in your favorite combination of the listed ingredients. While the dish does work well with salmon, it also pairs nicely with many other seafood entrees for added variety and complexity.

3. Sesame Ginger Brown Rice

This sesame ginger brown rice recipe is an incredibly flavorful and healthy way to enjoy salmon. Brown rice has a slightly nutty taste which makes it the perfect complement to salmon’s delicate flavor.

Adding a combination of sesame oil, freshly grated ginger, and garlic creates a savory side dish that pairs perfectly with salmon. The sesame oil adds a lovely flavor to the brown rice, while the ginger and garlic bring out the subtle yet complex flavors of the salmon.

4. Wild Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms and Asparagus

This wild rice pilaf with mushrooms and asparagus is sure to become a favorite side dish in your home. It has all the flavor of traditional rice pilaf, but with the added bonus of wild rice which adds a nutty flavor and an interesting texture.

The mushrooms and asparagus add a depth of flavor that pairs well with salmon and makes for a delicious combination. The dish is also very easy to make, so it’s perfect for busy weeknight dinners.

5. Cilantro Lime Rice

The cilantro lime rice is a great way to add a burst of flavor and texture to your salmon dinner. The cilantro and lime give the rice a bright and zesty flavor, while the combination of jalapeno pepper gives it just the right amount of heat.

The flavors in this dish work particularly well with salmon, as the lime and cilantro bring out the subtle flavors of the fish. It’s a great option for those nights when you want to cook something special but don’t have a lot of time on your hands.

6. Coconut Rice

Coconut rice is a great accompaniment to salmon, as it adds a hint of sweetness and nuttiness that works well with the fish. The dish is incredibly simple to make, as all you need to do is combine cooked white rice with coconut milk and then simmer until the desired texture is achieved.

The coconut milk gives the rice a unique flavor and makes it a great side dish for salmon, as it helps to balance out the strong flavor of the fish. For an extra burst of flavor, you can also add shredded coconut and lime juice.

7. Fried Rice

Fried rice is a classic side dish that is perfect for salmon dinners. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a restaurant-quality side dish in minutes. The key is to use cold cooked rice, as this gives the fried rice a bit of crunch.

Once the rice is ready, you can then add your favorite combination of vegetables and proteins. This makes for an incredibly filling and flavorful side that pairs perfectly with salmon.

8. Risotto

Risotto is an Italian classic that pairs wonderfully with salmon. Risotto is made by slowly stirring hot stock into Arborio rice, creating a creamy and luxurious texture.

Adding your favorite combination of vegetables or proteins to the risotto makes for a flavorful side dish that perfectly compliments many different types of salmon dishes. The creamy texture also helps to bring out the flavor of the fish, making it an ideal pairing.

9. Forbidden Black Rice

Forbidden black rice is a type of Chinese heirloom rice that has a nutty flavor and an interesting deep purple color. It’s perfect for pairing with salmon, as its unique texture and flavor help to bring out the more subtle flavors in the fish.

The bright purple hue also gives the dish an eye-catching appearance, making it a great way to dress up any dinner. Add your favorite vegetables, proteins, or herbs to make the dish even more flavorful and special.

10. Basmatti Rice

Basmati rice is a type of long-grain rice that has a unique nutty flavor and texture. It’s perfect for pairing with salmon, as its subtle flavor helps to bring out the more complex notes in the fish.

Adding herbs, spices, or vegetables to the basmati rice also help to add depth and complexity to the dish. This makes it an ideal side for any type of salmon dinner, as it can easily be adapted to suit your individual tastes.

11. Garlic Butter Rice

Garlic butter rice is a simple yet flavorful side dish that pairs perfectly with salmon. All you need to do is cook regular white rice, and then mix it with garlic butter for an incredibly rich and creamy texture.

The garlic and butter give the rice a rich flavor that works well with the subtle flavors of salmon, making it an ideal companion. Add your favorite type of herbs or finely diced vegetables to the rice for an extra burst of flavor.

12. Mango Wild Rice Salad

Mango wild rice salad is a fantastic way to dress up any salmon dinner. The combination of sweet mangoes, nutty wild rice, and crunchy vegetables makes for a unique yet delicious side dish that pairs perfectly with the fish.

The salad also has a hint of lime juice and fresh cilantro which helps to bring out the flavors of the salmon. The bright colors and flavors also make it an attractive dish that can be served either hot or cold.

13. Brocolli Rice

Brocolli rice is a great side for salmon dishes, as it adds an extra layer of flavor to the meal. Simply cook the rice and then mix in cooked broccoli florets for a delicious and nutritious side dish.

The bright green color of the broccoli helps to add a pop of color to any plate, and the nutty flavor of the rice helps to round out the dish. Add your favorite herbs and spices for an extra burst of flavor, or a drizzle of olive oil for a richer texture.

14. Spanish Rice

Spanish rice is a classic dish that pairs wonderfully with salmon. It’s made by cooking white short-grain rice in tomato sauce, creating a rich and flavorful side dish.

Adding bell peppers, onions, or other vegetables to the mix helps to give the rice an even more complex flavor profile. The bright red color of the dish also helps to make it a beautiful accompaniment to any salmon dinner.

15. Parmesan Rice

Parmesan rice is a delectable way to enjoy your favorite salmon dish. Cook white short-grain rice and then mix in grated parmesan cheese for a creamy, luxurious texture. The nutty flavor of the cheese helps to bring out the subtle flavors of the salmon, and the creamy texture adds interest to any plate.

Add your favorite herbs and spices for an extra kick of flavor, or use different types of cheese for a unique twist on the classic dish. No matter how you serve it, parmesan rice is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

16. Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is one of the most healthy side dishes to go with salmon. Not only is it light and low-carb, it’s also surprisingly versatile – you can make it as a side or even turn it into an entrée in its own right.

You can keep it simple by just throwing some diced vegetables into the mix and cooking them until they are tender. Or you can get creative and craft various flavors like garlic, ginger, and soy sauce for that classic Asian flair. Either way, your salmon is sure to be perfectly complemented by this healthy and delicious dish.

17. Wild Rice Pilaf with Apples and Pecans

Wild rice pilaf with apples and pecans is a great way to add some sweetness and crunch to your salmon dinners. The nutty flavor of the wild rice pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the apples and pecans – creating a unique flavor profile that is sure to impress.

The dish is also surprisingly easy to put together, as all you need to do is cook the wild rice and then mix in the apples, pecans and seasonings. Serve it hot or cold, depending on your preference – either way, it’s sure to be a hit.


It’s clear that there are a plethora of rice side dishes that go well with salmon. From popular favorites like wild rice pilaf and risotto to more exotic options such as forbidden black rice, these dishes offer something for every taste. Not only are these dishes delicious accompaniments for salmon, but they also provide a great source of nutrients and fiber.

Whether you’re looking for something simple to serve alongside your salmon or something more complex to impress guests, these 17 best ideas can provide the perfect solution. Make sure to balance out your meal with plenty of seasonal vegetables for a nutritious and filling dinner!

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!