Salmon Garam Masala Burgers with Walnuts

Salmonb1Summer meals are meant to be simple, lively and close to the earth. With all the farmer’s markets starting up around us, it is been an exciting time to plan family meals again. This time of the year however also tends to be packed with school closing activities – exams, recitals, school trips and graduations to name a few so I keep the meals practical. Every week I begin with a prayer hoping that the week at work allows enough time to soak up some of the summer vibe and thus far this week the vibe gods have been kind to me. May their tribe increase! OK, may their tribe increase because even my family deserves evenings where mom cooks, and then we all eat, rare but such happens on these summer evenings.

The fine print: I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Call it the spirit of summer, but ast evening, I enjoyed about 2 hours watching a chance movie, about as close as it gets to savoring the sweetness of doing nothing, somewhere I could not help pondering to the current state of American politics… Where have we ended up, really? A crazy man talking nonsense on national stage, a relatively sane man acting somewhat crazy and our first real chance at a women presidential hopeful being challenged for not showing enough of her fun side…

Salmon on tomato_650Not sure where all of my ponderings and meanderings have landed, I retreated as I usually do to the safety of my kitchen. This Sunday I tried my hand at making salmon burgers and paired them with a refreshing and crisp radish and chive blossom salad freshly picked from our garden, the results being crisp, light and flavorful. In a quest for finding a lighter and healthier alternative to the beef patty, I have settled for fish specifically salmon and quite often work with salmon burgers for a summer meal. Working with fish over the grill is somewhat new to me, almost takes me back to my early days when I was generally learning my ropes with fish in general.

Assembled SB_650

It has taken me a little trial and error to get a salmon burger that holds well but is not heavy with binding agents and finally today’s version works well with using ground and finely chopped walnuts. The walnuts add a nice mild depth of flavor that complements the rich natural flavor of the salmon.Walnuts are a delicious and versatile ingredient that is the perfect complement to other whole foods for nutritious, tasty meals.Walnuts provide important components of a healthy diet – an ounce of walnuts has 2.5 grams of the essential plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber to keep you feeling full.

I have tried this with almond meal as well and it works just as well, keeping the burger gluten-free as well.  My recipe uses mild seasonings of chopped cilantro and garam masala and you can play with your favorite seasons as well.  Topped with ketchup and thinly sliced red onions this dish adds a nice elegant touch to your summer grilling. If you want to skip the bun, just serve this patties over a nice bowl of rice or even over sliced tomatoes the possibilities as they say are endless.



To keep your salmon burger moist, it is important to have a hot clean grill as the burger cooks quickly and it is important not to dry it out.  If you are like my son who has to have cheese on a burger, you can get creative with your cheese choices as well.  My personal favorites are feta or goat cheese, and of course do not forget a good glass of rose with your well-seasoned pink burger.

Salmon Garam Masala Burgers with Walnuts

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 burgers

Serving Size: 6

A wholesome and flavorful salmon burger recipe that cleverly uses nutritious and rich tasting walnuts as binding!


  • 1 cup fresh walnuts
  • 2 pounds skinless salmon fillet
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 11/2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Oil for brushing and basting
  • To serve
  • Thinly sliced red onions
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Feta or goat cheese (optional)


  1. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the walnuts and place the remaining walnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the salmon and pulse a few times until chopped but still chunky.
  2. Place this mixture in a mixing bowl.
  3. Finely chop the remaining walnuts and add to the salmon. Add in the salt, garam masala powder, minced ginger, cilantro and egg and mix well.
  4. Shape into medium sized patties about 3 inches and place over a piece of parchment paper and chill for about 30 minutes.
  5. Heat the grill and carefully place the burgers and cook for about 3 minutes, brush well with olive oil and turn and cook for another 3 minutes and carefully remove. If you want your burgers medium rare you can reduce your cooking time by a minute.
  6. Place over warmed hamburger or brioche buns, top with thinly sliced onions and feta and goat cheese and serve immediately with a side salad.


Notes: Prep time includes chilling and binding time.

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