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October 20, 2022

Blackened Salmon Sheet Pan with Asparagus and Ginger Cilantro Sauce

Blackened salmon, roasted on a sheet pan with fresh asparagus and finished with a bright, refreshing ginger-cilantro sauce makes for a dreamy weeknight dinner.


Blackened Salmon Sheet Pan with Asparagus and Ginger Cilantro Sauce

This Springy Blackened Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner is Healthy and Bursting With Flavor

Salmon and asparagus are natural dinnertime partners. Not only do the make for a very colorful plate—and you know that those bright colors mean you’re digging into a healthy meal—but they’re both in season at the same time! As asparagus starts to appear at the markets in April and May, the first wild salmon of the year are being caught in places like Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. As always, the classic seasonal eating adage what “grows together goes together” holds true here, and salmon and asparagus are truly a glorious pairing. We love food with a little kick, so we’ve opted to make the salmon ‘blackened’—more on that in a minute—and finish the whole beautiful meal off with a ginger-cilantro sauce that’s brightened with citrus and sweetened with honey for a healthy salmon dinner that’s bursting with bright flavor.

fillet of salmon, blackened seasoning, cilantro, asparagus, garlic, orange juice

All About Blackened Salmon Seasoning

Spicy and full of powerful flavors, blackened seasoning is a spice blend that has roots in Cajun cuisine and mimics the delicious char that meat cooked on a grill takes. While we love to use blackened seasoning on salmon, it’s also fabulous on all sorts of food! Use it on chicken to make blackened chicken, or try it on your favorite white fish—blackened catfish is a classic. For this salmon sheet pan recipe, you’ll use the blackened seasoning in two ways—first, you’ll use it to season the salmon, and then you’ll use it to season the cilantro-ginger sauce, too! Using it in both will help to bring the whole meal together into a cohesive whole. Everyone has their own take on blackened seasoning, but our favorite is (of course) our home blackened seasoning recipe! It combines:

  • Paprika

  • Cayenne

  • Garlic powder

  • Onion powder

  • Salt

  • Oregano

  • Thyme

  • Ground ginger

  • Brown sugar

fillet of salmon and asparagus on a baking sheet with parchment and olive oil
cilantro, garlic, olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, honey, salt, blackened seasoning and fresh ginger in food processor
cilantro, garlic, olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, honey, salt, blackened seasoning and fresh ginger in food processor
cilantro, garlic, orange, honey and fresh ginger sauce in a bowl

How To Shop for Salmon

Shopping for fish can feel like a real challenge. Do you want to buy fresh or frozen salmon? Wild-caught or farmed salmon? How much does good salmon cost? What’s the best place to buy salmon? It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. Here’s our quick guide to buying salmon:

  • Fresh vs. frozen salmon. Most fish is frozen when it’s caught, so you can relax a bit about the “fresh vs. frozen” debate. Any salmon that you find at the grocery store fish counter probably was frozen and (if it’s not frozen anymore) defrosted by the fishmonger. There’s nothing wrong with buying frozen salmon!

  • Wild salmon vs farmed. If you’re looking for a hard-and-fast rule here, you’re out of luck. Generally speaking, wild-caught salmon is better than farmed—better tasting and better for the environment. BUT, recommendations change all the time as the industry shifts and innovates. Responsibly-farmed salmon (which is a thing!) can be a better choice than irresponsibly caught wild salmon (which is, sadly, also a thing). When in doubt, consult the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s excellent “Seafood Watch” site, or you can download their app for real-time recs at the grocery store! As with all seafood, you can also look for labeling that indicates third-party certification, like the kind that the Marine Stewardship Council gives to fishers and fish farmers who meet their high standards.

  • How much does salmon cost? Fish should never be incredibly cheap. If it is, walk away! That said, there are some great tips and tricks we use for finding more affordable salmon! Salmon has a season—typically about May-October—and there are often sales running when salmon is in season because that’s when it’s most abundant and when grocery stores may be trying to move it through more quickly if they get a big shipment. Another of our favorite tricks is to buy a whole fish instead of filets. Ask for a whole fish—the per pound price on a whole fish is almost always better than for the filets—and have the person at the fish counter filet it for you. Yes, it’s a lot of fish, but as soon as you get home, you can simply freeze half of the salmon for later!

fillet of salmon with blackened seasoning and asparagus on a sheet pan
fillet of salmon with blackened seasoning and asparagus baked on a sheet pan

How to Make Blackened Salmon in the Oven

While it might seem like this salmon recipe has a lot of fussy little elements—making homemade blackened seasoning and the cilantro-ginger sauce—they all come together really, really fast. Like any sheet pan dinner recipe, this one is about convenience and is meant to be weeknight friendly for sure. Plus, like most sheet pan dinners, it’s healthy! Like, really really healthy. Salmon is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, lean protein, and vitamins, too. Asparagus is full of fiber, potassium and folic acid. So truly, this easy blackened salmon recipe is like a multivitamin on a plate that actually tastes good. Magic! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Make the blackened salmon seasoning. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the blackened salmon seasoning. P.S. feel free to double or triple the batch and that way you’ll have some on-hand for next time.

  2. Make the cilantro-ginger sauce. Pour all of the cilantro-ginger sauce ingredients into a blender and blend!

  3. Put the salmon (skin side down) and asparagus on the sheet pan. Slick them both with a little oil and coat the salmon generously with the homemade blackened salmon seasoning blend.

  4. Pop the sheet pan into the oven! Roast until the salmon is cooked through—you can test this by poking it with a fork. If it flakes, it’s done. If you want to use an instant-read thermometer to check the doneness, look for a reading of about 125˚F.

  5. Serve! Drizzle everything with the citrusy cilantro-ginger sauce and eat!

Blackened Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner with asparagus and cilantro ginger sauce
Blackened Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner with asparagus and cilantro ginger sauce

Tools You’ll Need

More Easy Salmon Recipes to Try

Blackened Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner with asparagus and cilantro ginger sauce

Healthy, Quick and Easy—The Weeknight Magic 3!

We hope this baked blackened salmon recipe perks up your weeknight dinner routine as much as it has for us. If you make it, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Blackened Salmon Sheet Pan with Asparagus and Ginger Cilantro Sauce

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 505


  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon filet, skin on
  • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Blackened Seasoning

  • 1 tsp paprika (not smoked)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar

Cilantro Ginger Sauce

  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems, ends trimmed, about 2 cups packed
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, from 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp blackened seasoning
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the salmon skin side down on the baking sheet. Pat dry with a paper towel. Place the asparagus on the baking sheet around the salmon.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil over the asparagus and a little on the salmon too. Sprinkle the asparagus with the salt and toss them a little to coat.
  3. Make the blackened seasoning: In a small bowl, mix all ingredients until fully combined. Reserve 1 teaspoon of seasoning for the cilantro ginger sauce and sprinkle the remaining over the salmon, rubbing to completely coat it.
  4. Place the salmon and asparagus in the oven. Cook until the salmon is tender and the salmon is flaky, about 13-16 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon and asparagus.
  5. Make the cilantro-ginger sauce: Add all ingredients to the base of a high powdered blender or a food processor. Pulse or blend until mostly smooth.
  6. Serve the salmon and asparagus drizzled with the cilantro ginger sauce.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories505
  • Protein51 g
  • Carbohydrates11 g
  • Total Fat29 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium390 mg
  • Total Sugars7 g

Blackened Salmon Sheet Pan with Asparagus and Ginger Cilantro Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Kristina

    Is there another fish you can recommend? Hubby doesn't like salmon although I do.

    You can sub whatever kind of fish you both enjoy.

  • Maeley

    I love this recipe and have made it before. Is there a good cocktail or wine pairing with this?

    A full-bodied white wine like oak-aged Chardonnay, Viognier, or White Pinot Noir pairs nicely with salmon. If you are feeling a cocktail a martini might be a nice addition.

  • Danielle

    This was super easy on a busy weeknight and it was packed with so many rich falvours. The rub was just so tasty, the whole family loved 6 yr old said "this was the best fish he has ever had in his whole life." Definitely will re-do this one!

    Thanks Danielle! We are so happy you both loved it!

  • Amy

    I enjoyed this recipe. I went too heavy on the garlic and OJ which thinned gave the sauce too much bite and thinned it out too much. Will definitely try again with the right proportions, and next time on the cedar plank on the grill.

    Thanks Amy, glad you loved it!

  • Laura

    Effortless and delicious recipie! The salmon rub was delicious and I could eat the cilantro sauce on its own. Glad I have leftovers!!

    Thanks Laura! Glad you enjoyed it and leftovers are the BEST!