Grilling with cedar planks imparts a slightly smoky flavor on the salmon, which pairs perfectly with a cool, creamy cucumber and dill yogurt sauces. This grilled salmon with yogurt sauce is a simple way to elevate your dinner to restaurant quality!
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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.
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 that we served it at our wedding. And somehow our amazing caterers actually pulled it off for 130 people.
Grilling with a cedar plank
Using a cedar plank may sound fancy, but honestly it’s SO easy. You just have to plan ahead because the plank needs to soak in water for at least 2 hours.
The cedar plank imparts 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.
If you’ve never grilled with a cedar plank, here’s a quick tutorial.
Where to buy cedar planks
Most grocery stores sell them near the fish aisle, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret — that’s by far the most expensive way to buy them.
Option 1: buy a 12-pack on amazon for less than $2 per plank (at the grocery store they are anywhere between $3 – $6 per plank).
Option 2: Home depot or Loews. 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. I’m honestly not sure how much these are, but if someone is going to find a deal, it will be my father-in-law.
5-minute cucumber dill yogurt sauce
This sauce makes the dish, so take the 5 minutes to make it. It’s very similar to tzatziki, so if you don’t have the ingredients or don’t feel like making it yourself, you can use store bough tzatziki in it’s place.
The cool creamy sauce pairs perfectly with the smoky salmon and transports you just for a few moments off to the Mediterranean.
How to serve cedar plant salmon with yogurt
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?
Cedar plank salmon
- 1 1/2 lbs salmon, preferably wild caught or sustainably farmed
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Fresh squezed lemon juice from about 1/4 of a lemon
- 1 tsp chopped dill
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup (1 6-ounce container) Plain Greek Yogurt
- Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
- 1/4 cup English cucumber, shredded or finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp chopped dill
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 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!
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!