While salmon has a beautiful, rich flavor all by itself, sometimes a sauce to go with it can really make it special. This dill sauce for salmon does just that and you can whip it together in just 5 minutes!
So, why does dill go so well with salmon? You see these two together a lot. It is a classic combination and often lemon is added, which I did here as well.
The addition of dill to salmon apparently originated in the Middle Ages. Northern Europeans needed a way to preserve their fish so they buried it with birch bark and a variety of spices – a process called “gravad – lax.” Over time the process was modernized and they added salt and dill for a nicer or “more gentle” flavor which is what we now know as gravlax. You can read more about this on the House of Hegelund’s website, which has a wealth of information on traditional arctic cuisines!
Whether they were the first to add dill to salmon, I’m not sure, but it is a classic combination and one I love which is why I wanted to come up with an easy dill sauce for my roasted salmon. This one is really easy – just put everything in a food processor and blend! Voila! You have a delicious sauce that really takes a weeknight meal from plain Jane to fancy in no time!
What You Will Need to Make This Zesty Dill Sauce for Salmon
- Minced garlic – this adds a nice punch to the sauce
- Lemon juice – lemon juice adds a lot of brightness and means you really don’t need to add any salt!
- Lemon zest – lemon zest adds a little pop of yellow color and zestiness to the sauce
- Cucumber – maybe this is unexpected but I think it also adds some freshness and green color – I leave the skin on so you get a little more color and a tiny bit of fiber.
- Plain Greek yogurt – I use full fat for this sauce. Fat free or low fat would thin it out too much
- Dill weed – I prefer fresh but you can use dry dill – see the FAQs for how to do that
- Black pepper – A bit of pepper adds a nice bite!
How to Make the Dill Sauce for Salmon
I wasn’t kidding when I said this was easy to pull together! I used my food processor, added all the ingredients and then pureed it for about 30 seconds. I scraped down the side of the bowl and pulsed it again to thoroughly chop up the cucumber and dill and it was ready to go. Prepping everything is what took the most time and even that was easy.
You can make the sauce while your salmon is roasting.
Here’s a quick video showing me making it!
Is this zesty dill sauce only good on salmon? My husband and I talked about that as we were enjoying our salmon dinner last night! Here are some other ideas we came up with:
- A dip for air-fried shrimp
- A salad dressing
- A topping for other mild-flavored but hearty white fish like cod
- As a spread for a fried fish sandwich
This sauce will last for 3 – 4 days in the refrigerator. You may need to stir it well before using it since it is pretty high in water due to the cucumbers and lemon juice.
You can certainly freeze this sauce. It may separate a little when you thaw it but a quick stir should take care of that.
I like to freeze this in an ice cube tray and then pop the cubes out once they are frozen and keep them in a resealable bag. This way I can pull a couple out to use when I need them.
You could certainly replace the yogurt with sour cream.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice will give you the best flavor but if you don’t have any bottled will work. You may need a little more, but go easy as it will make the sauce more liquid!
Yes, you could use dried dill. Just remember that you will need much less. Use 1 teaspoon of dried dill in place of 1 tablespoon of fresh.
The sauce is best stored tightly sealed in a non-reactive container in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Because of its high water content from the cucumbers and lemon juice, you may have to whisk it before using it.
It also helps to place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper right on top of the sauce and then cover it with another covering. This will prevent skin from forming on the top and keep it fresher longer.
Zesty Dill Sauce for Roasted Salmon
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup English cucumber finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh dill chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tsp minced garlic about 1 clove
- 1 ½ tsp. lemon zest
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process for approximately 30 seconds. Remove the lid and push the sides down.
- Replace the lid and process again for 30 seconds, pulsing to thoroughly chop the ingredients.
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