Lemony Cedar Planked Salmon with Garlic & Dill

It’s been a busy weekend for us, filled with lots of errand running, cleaning, reorganizing, and furniture shuffling. Abbi’s birthday is coming up soon, so as an early birthday present, we got rid of her toddler bed and upgraded her to a twin bed with a new comforter/sheet ensemble.  When Abbi saw her new bed all made up in her room she jumped into it and giggled, and giggled, and couldn’t stop giggling. I wish I would’ve had my camera ready to get a video of it. It was priceless! 


Speaking of my camera, I’ve also been taking lots of pictures this week. I’m trying to teach myself how to shoot in manual mode (you manually adjust your camera settings, like shutter speed and the aperture value) instead of auto (the camera automatically adjusts the settings for you). It’s not an easy task, or at least I don’t think it is anyways. We have a Nikon D90, and although I have no clue how to use it properly, I love it. Photography is something I’ve always loved, but lately I’ve developed a real passion and appreciation for it. I don’t want to be a professional photographer by any means, but I’d love to be able to take amazing photos and grasp how to set up my camera properly given the lighting, weather, type of shot, etc… 

I actually took this next picture (below) in manual mode (and in case you couldn’t sense it through your computer screen, I’m really, really happy I was able to somewhat figure the settings out). I’m not saying this shot is perfect, because I know it’s not, but it’s an improvement for me, and well… I’m slightly giddy about it. If any of you photographers out there would like to critique this photo, I’d love to hear what you have to say! 

Cedar Planked Salmon Allergy Free Alaska

As for the object of the picture above, many of you know we are very blessed to have a freezer full of Alaska wild salmon. It’s one of the perks that comes along with living in this great state, along with the gorgeous views and sub-zero temperatures (my voice is laced with sarcasm re: sub-zero temps!). I try to prepare fish for dinner at least 1-3 times a week, but because we eat it so often, I have to season our salmon really well and try to switch it up as much as I can. We love our Slammin’ Alaska Salmon Burgers with Garlic Dill Aioli, but there’s also something to be said about a fresh grilled fillet – especially one grilled on a cedar plank. 

This Lemony Cedar Planked Salmon with Garlic & Dill is especially flavorful and moist. Scoring the flesh prior to slathering on the marinade allows the flavors to easily permeate the fish. It will produce a flaky, savory, and absolutely delicious salmon fillet. And the smokiness of the cedar gives the fish just the right amount of added “wow factor.” Holy yum — it’s so good!! 

We enjoyed our salmon with a side of potatoes (either sweet potatoes or white potatoes would be delicious) and green beans, but you could easily pair it with a side salad and peas, steamed broccoli, a veggie stir fry, or whatever else you have on hand. Salmon is especially versatile and generally couples well with any savory side dish. 

I hope you all have an incredible week!
All my love,

Lemony Cedar Planked Salmon with Garlic & Dill

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Lemony Cedar Planked Salmon with Garlic & Dill

Inspired by this recipe


  • 1 cedar grill plank
  • 2 lbs. salmon fillet with the skin on (I used Alaska Sockeye)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon lemon zest (depends on how lemony you want it)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, melted


  1. Soak the cedar plank in cool water for at least 2 hours. Use something heavy to place on top of the plank to keep it submerged (I used a heavy drinking glass, but you could also use a heavy bottomed pan, or a brick).
  2. Blot the salmon off with paper towels and place the fillet skin side down on large cutting board or sheet pan. Use a fillet knife to score the flesh of the fish by making a number of shallow diagonal cuts across its surface, about an inch apart (take a look at the picture above to see how I did it).
  3. Use the back of a large kitchen knife to work the garlic and sea salt into a paste. Scrape the paste into a small mixing bowl, and add the dried dill, black pepper, lemon zest, mayonnaise, olive oil, and ghee. Stir together and then slather the mixture on the flesh of the salmon fillet.
  4. Place the cedar plank on a grill that has been preheated to high heat. Close the lid until the plank begins to smoke, about 3-5 minutes. Flip the plank over and place the salmon fillet directly on the plank. Cook on medium-high to high heat (see notes) for 15 - 25 minutes, or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees (F).

Recipe Notes from Megan

Every grill is different and some are hotter than others, which is why I suggest grilling the salmon at medium-high to high heat. You want the cedar plank to produce smoke, but you don't want it to dry out or catch fire before your salmon is finished cooking (not that you ever want it to catch fire!). I started cooking my salmon fillet on medium-high, but eventually had to turn up the heat to high because it was taking too long to cook. Start out at medium-high heat. If the plank is smoking and you feel like it's doing well, leave it be. But if the plank isn't smoking and your fillet doesn't appear to be cooking fast enough, turn the heat up to high and let it finish cooking at that temperature.


 This recipe is linked to Gluten Free WednesdayAllergy Free WednesdayFat Tuesday and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Nirvana Pasta (gluten & dairy free w/grain free option)

What a BUSY couple of weeks! There’s been lots going on here at home; between homeschool, another spondylitis flare (I’ll try to update my medical journal soon), working on the editing the cookbook manuscript, Abbi’s birthday, other family birthdays, and a 70 pound yellow lab puppy with a benign tumor on his paw and a bacterial skin infection… the list goes on. Never a dull moment around here!

In other news… THANK YOU for voting me as one of your Top 25 Food Allergy Moms of 2012! I know many of you voted daily and also asked your friends to vote for me. I appreciate all of you and can’t tell you how much it means to have the support of SO MANY. I feel incredibly blessed and loved!

Now for our dinner last night… Nirvana Pasta!!

Gluten free pasta… sauteed kale… roasted cauliflower… a whole head of roasted garlic… bacon. Yes, that’s right… BACON!

I need to give a shout out to my dear friend, Shirley (Gluten Free Easily), who actually helped me name this dish (she just doesn’t know it… yet). A few months ago Shirley shared her recipe for Bacon Chicken that had me salivating. She referred to bacon as nirvana; as a bacon lover, I wholeheartedly agree. So this is my nirvana dish (thanks, Shirley!).

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, EOA Link Up, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, GAPS Friendly Friday, and Freaky Friday.

Nirvana Pasta
Yields 4 – 6 servings

2 cauliflower heads, chopped in to 2 inch florets (approximately)
1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled and smashed
5 – 6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
12 ounces gluten free/nitrate free/uncured bacon (I use Hormel Natural Choice)
1-2 bunches curly kale, stems removed and leaves chopped in to bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
sea salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
16 ounces brown rice spaghetti noodles (I use Tinkyada) OR see Megan’s Recipe Notes for grain free & GAPS Legal option

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F). Toss the cauliflower florets, smashed garlic cloves, olive oil, oregano, basil and sea salt on a large parchment lined cookie sheet with 1 inch sides. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  2. While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the bacon in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Cool on a plate lined with a paper towel and then chop the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.
  3. Using paper towels, soak up most of the bacon grease from the skillet, reserving about a tablespoon (caution, the skillet and grease will still be hot). Cook the kale in the bacon grease over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until soft (about 5-7 minutes).
  4. Cook the spaghetti noodles 2-3 minutes less than the package directions recommend and strain the water from the pasta (the hot noodles will continue to soften up after you strain them from the water).
  5. On a large serving platter, layer the Nirvana Pasta in this order: pasta, kale, cauliflower, bacon. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Megan’s Recipe Notes:

  1. I only used 1 bunch of kale when I originally made this dish; I think next time I will use 2 bunches. I try (key word is try) to make sure I have more veggies on my plate than pasta, that way I’m eating foods with more fiber (that will keep me full longer).
  2. I cook my bacon in 2 separate batches. I think it cooks more evenly that way.
  3. If I wasn’t cooking for my children, I would add some heat (like dried red pepper chili flakes) to this dish. Feel free to spice it up if you wish!
  4. (GAPS Legal) If you would prefer a grain free dish, replace the brown rice pasta with 1 large baked spaghetti squash. Shred the insides and use them as “noodles.”

I can’t wait to hear how to you like this pasta!