Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon with Cucumber, Dill Yogurt Sauce

Grilling with cedar planks imparts a slightly smoky flavor on the salmon, which pairs perfectly with a cool, creamy yogurt dill sauce and a squeeze of lemon for brightness. A simple way to elevate your dinner to restaurant quality! 


Grilling season is here! It's by far my favorite way to cook for a few reasons: it's quick, easy, and delicious; there's very little clean up; and perhaps mot importantly, that smoky flavor that only a grill can add to a dish is just one of my favorite flavor profiles. Even though I have TRIED SO HARD to hand this job over to my husband, I still do the majority of the grilling in our house. But that's OK because it's really very easy. Our grill is always overloaded with veggies -- I love to grill double or triple batches in the beginning of the week or over the weekend and then toss them with fresh greens or grains (or both!) for delicious salads. But we don't really discriminate - I will put almost anything on the grill. I've grilled tofu, hearts of romaine, avocado, whole fish, and the usual suspects like chicken, burgers, and steaks. 


To kick off the season, I thought I'd share one of my favorite ways to cook salmon -- using a cedar plank. We LOVE cedar plank salmon. So much so that we served it at our wedding. And somehow our amazing caterers actually pulled it off for 130 people. I'm still in awe of how they did that.


Cedar planks impart a slightly smoky, woody-in-a-good-way flavor that just tastes like summer. It also smells like you're having a bonfire scent while cooking a simple meal in the back yard, which is a nice bonus too. Every year my father-in-law gets us a big stack of cedar planks for Christmas so we are ready for the following season. He goes to Home Depot and has someone cut the planks for him. What a great way to cut costs from the over priced versions you get in the grocery store! 


The cucumber dill sauce is bit of a riff on tzatziki, so if it sounds familiar that's why. It pairs perfectly with the smoky salmon and I dig all things Mediterranean. 


One of the best parts about this dinner is that it's easy enough for a weeknight (as long as you remember to soak your plank before you go to work!) but special enough to serve for a dinner party where you'll be dining al fresco. Pair with a simple arugula salad dressed with lemon and olive oil and perhaps this Lemony Asparagus and Farro Salad and you've got yourself a well-balanced, healthy dinner that feels restaurant worthy in about 30 minutes. What could be better?

Tell me: What is your favorite thing to cook on the grill?


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Cedar Plank Salmon with Cucumber Yogurt Dill Sauce
  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon, preferably wild caught or sustainably farmed
  • 3/4 cup (1 6-ounce container) Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1/4 cup English or other low seed cucumber, shredded or finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp chopped dill, divided
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Also required: cedar plank for grilling
Soak cedar plank for at least 2 hours. Squeeze the juice from about 1/4 of a lemon over salmon and then top with dill, a tiny pinch of salt and fresh pepper. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place salmon on cedar plank and add grill. Cook covered until cooked to desired doneness. Note: it takes longer to cook on the cedar plank than if it were directly on the grates. For a piece of salmon about 1-inch thick, it will take 20-25 minutes on a medium-hot grill. Meanwhile mix together yogurt, lemon, cucumber, dill, salt, and pepper. This can be made ahead up to 3 days. When salmon is cooked, top each serving with ~2 tbsp of yogurt sauce and enjoy! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Notes: If you don't have a grill, you can cook salmon in the oven but without the cedar plank. The cedar plank does give the salmon a nice smoky flavor, but it will still be delicious with the sauce! Use extra sauce for salad dressing or as a dip with vegetables or crackers!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings