Fish + Seafood / Food / Main Dishes / Pescetarian

Pan-Seared Salmon With Avocado and Mango Salsa {+ Eating Fish During Pregnancy}

Fresh and simple ingredients are used to dish up this crispy-skinned pan-seared salmon topped with creamy and tangy avocado and mango salsa. It’s the perfect dinner to greet Spring and Summer, and great to add to your rotation when eating fish during pregnancy.

This recipe is sponsored by Orca Bay Foods | Thanks for supporting the brands I love and trust.


Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and receiving unsolicited advice from people when you’re pregnant.

“Should you be eating that?” A common eye roll-worthy challenge disguised as an inquiry. I’m not sure why some non-pregnant folks think they’ve done more research than an uptight Google-probing mom-to-be, but they seem to have no shame in it. Along with coffee and deli meats, fish remains a taboo food item for expecting mothers.

With that, I’ve partnered up with my seafood-loving friends at Orca Bay Foods to help set the record straight.

Is eating fish during pregnancy safe?

Not only is eating fish during pregnancy safe, but it’s recommended! Concern generally comes from the mercury levels in fish—which is a legit concern. However, many people fail to realize that not all species contain harmful amounts of mercury, and incorporating a moderate amount of low mercury seafood into your diet is actually beneficial for both mom and baby. Think about all of those wonderful Omega-3 fatty acids helping a baby’s visual and cognitive development! Additionally, these same fatty acids are known to have positive effects on pregnancy itself. Sounds like a WIN to me.

How can you differentiate between what is safe and what isn’t? The FDA offers a chart to guide you through fish consumption during pregnancy. Your doctor’s office should also provide you with the same type of chart at your first prenatal appointment.

In short, 2-3 servings of fish, per week, from the “Best Choice” column is recommended. These fish include favorites like cod, flounder, haddock, and salmon, so you’re not missing out on much!

What should be avoided when eating fish during pregnancy?

Here’s where all of that concern comes from. Despite the plethora of healthy recommendations, there are indeed a few species that contain high levels of mercury and should be avoided by pregnant women completely. Luckily, the list is short.

  • King Mackerel (not to be confused with North Atlantic mackerel, which is a smaller species and a good choice)
  • Swordfish
  • Shark
  • Bigeye Tuna
  • Tilefish
  • Marlin
  • Orange Roughy

The only real common one here is tuna, since bigeye tuna is often used at sushi restaurants. But sushi, when served raw, is another risky food that’s best to avoid due to the risk of foodborne illness and parasites. (Heartbreaking, I know. I already have my post-birth sushi takeout order ready for my husband to fetch as soon as I push the little one out. We’re going to have the most delicious and romantic hospital room sushi date ever.) If you need to fill the void, eat cooked sushi rolls, like the ones made up of shrimp or crab.

So! The next time a nosy family member or acquaintance on social media starts to interrogate your fish consumption, school them. Let them know that they no longer have to condemn anything and everything with gills—or the hungry mom-to-be eating them. Most fish are totally okay and will lend a helping hand with your unborn child’s development :)

Pan-Seared Salmon With Avocado and Mango Salsa.

Salmon has been a constant throughout my pregnancy. And because it’s so versatile, I’ve been able to incorporate other beneficial ingredients with it—like creamy avocado and tangy mangoes! This dish is a powerhouse for expecting mothers with its Omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats, potassium, and vitamins.

I like serving mine with coconut rice or quinoa, but you can easily toss this medley into a salad or eat it on its own. And if your carb-hungry like I am, bring a bagel into the equation. I slathered a bagel with cream cheese and topped it with the leftovers from this dish for lunch the next day. It was dreamy.

Close up of pan-seared salmon on plate over rice and topped with mango and avocado salsa.

Collage of dish ingredients.

Pan-Seared Salmon on plate over rice and topped with mango and avocado salsa.If you try this recipe or create your own variation, let me know in the comments! I love connecting with you. Then snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme and be featured in our newsletter.

Pan-Seared Salmon on plate over rice and topped with mango and avocado salsa.
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5 from 11 votes

Pan-Seared Salmon With Avocado and Mango Salsa

Pan-seared salmon promises a nice and crispy skin! Topped with creamy avocado and tangy mango, this recipe makes for a perfect spring and summer dinner.
Course Entree
Cuisine Pescatarian, Pescetarian, Seafood
Keyword 30 minute, easy, healthy, heart-healthy, Salmon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Dana Sandonato


  • 4 4 to 6 oz fillets of salmon, skin on I used Orca Bay Foods Alaska Sockeye Salmon
  • 2 TBSP neutral oil with high smoke point I use avocado oil or olive oil
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP ground coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin

Avocado and Mango Salsa.

  • 1 ripened mango, cubed
  • 1 large ripened avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper


  • Cast iron skillet


  • Remove salmon from fridge. Pat the fillets with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Sprinkle each fillet with a bit of salt and cracked black pepper. In a small bowl, mix the chili powder, ground coriander, and cumin. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over each fillet, rubbing the seasoning into the fillets with your bare hands to coat. Set the fillets aside and let them come to room temperature. This should take about 15 minutes. (Bringing your fish to room temp will ensure an even cook throughout the fillets.)
    In the meantime, prepare the avocado and mango salsa.

Avocado and Mango Salsa.

  • Combine the diced mango, avocado, and freshly chopped parsley or cilantro in a large bowl. Drizzle lime juice over the ingredients, then add a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Give the contents a good stir; set aside.


  • Add a generous amount of your oil to your skillet — enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat over high heat until the oil starts to smoke a tiny bit.
  • Carefully place one or two salmon fillets into the hot pan, skin-side down. (*See notes about cooking multiple fillets at once.)
    As soon as the fillet hits the pan, press down on it with a spatula until the fillet flattens out (this only takes seconds) while bringing the heat down to medium. Pressing the fillet keeps the skin firm against the pan and will give you crisp results without curling your fillet upward. Let your salmon cook for about 4-6 minutes, or until you can see a nice golden brown color on the edge of the skin. DO NOT touch, push, or try to budge your salmon beforehand, or you'll tear the skin. Once you see the golden edges, carefully slide your spatula underneath the fillet and turn it over. (If it doesn't release, give it another 30 seconds and try again.)
  • Once you've flipped your salmon, it's likely a little over halfway cooked so it only needs another 2-3 minutes of cooking. If you have a meat thermometer, remove the salmon once it reaches an internal temperature of 140-145º F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, cook the fish until it's opaque, and then go order a meat thermometer ;)
  • Once the fillet is cooked, carefully remove it from the pan and set it on a plate; cover with tin foil so it stays warm. Repeat the same process for the other fillets.


If your skillet has enough room to cook two fillets at once, awesome. If not, don't overcrowd your skillet—cook one at a time. You can place your cooked salmon fillets on a plate and cover them with tinfoil to keep them warm while you cook the other fillets.


  • Instant Pot Mexican Rice | Killing Thyme
    June 16, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    […] Pan-Seared Salmon with Avocado and Mango Salsa […]

  • Amanda
    April 12, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    5 stars
    Look at that perfect sear on those salmon fillets! That’s total salmon goals right there. I absolutely love the sound of the avocado and mango salsa. Salmon is so rich with all of those wonderful oils that are so beneficial to us, and I love to brighten it with bright, fresh flavors on the plate. It’s great to know that salmon is safe during pregnancy as well–passing that info, and this recipe, along to one of my friends who is expecting!

  • Trish Bozeman
    April 12, 2019 at 10:08 am

    5 stars
    Ooooh where was this when I was pregnant? I basically lived off of smoothies and toast because I just couldn’t gather the energy to cook anything. I love how quick and easy this is and healthy so you feel like you’re doing what you should for that little one in there. I’m saving this to make when the weather heats up a bit here!

  • Julie Menghini
    April 9, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    5 stars
    I love the freshness that this salmon dish provides. We love avocado and mango so this is totally a win for us. I tend to think that maybe if you shouldn’t eat it while pregnancy maybe it should be limited when your not? So glad the list is short and I’ll definitely be making this amazing salmon!

    • Killing Thyme
      April 11, 2019 at 8:38 am

      Thanks, Julie!
      The fish that is listed as high in mercury/unsafe to eat while pregnant should definitely be limited in general.

  • Marisa F. Stewart
    April 8, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    5 stars
    The right fish is so good for you and the baby. Yes! I hate unsolicited advice. I will bite my tongue before I say anything even though I want to. One fish I will NOT buy is farm raised. Too many warnings about it. We love our wild-caught salmon. Love the taste and the meat when cooked right is heavenly. That avocado on top sounds delightful.

    • Killing Thyme
      April 11, 2019 at 8:47 am

      Thanks, Marisa!
      You’re a better person than I am for biting your tongue. That is an art I have not perfected ;)
      That’s totally understandable about farm-raised fish. Most come from questionable environments. The only one I *really* trust is NZ King Salmon. I’ve eaten it, it has a pristine flavor and texture, and Monterey Bay has it listed as a Best Choice (pheuf). But other than that, I’m with you.

  • Debra
    April 8, 2019 at 11:20 am

    5 stars
    I’m not sure what I love most about this recipe, the salsa or the cooking method. I have always been intimidated making fish on the stovetop. I only do it in the oven or broiler. This method sounds so easy and quick though. That salsa sounds fantastic and I can’t wait to try this all together.

    • Killing Thyme
      April 11, 2019 at 8:49 am

      Thanks, Debra!
      Stovetop fish is really easy once you actually *do* it, but I totally get you. The first time I did it, I was pretty nervous about overcooking/tearing. Just baby it the first few times, and you’ll become a pro.

  • Traci
    April 8, 2019 at 10:48 am

    5 stars
    Oh how I love salmon and ALL of your fish recipes! The combo of chili powder, coriander, and cumin…is off the hook! Another home run, Dana! Congrats on your pregnancy…that’s great news! :)

    • Killing Thyme
      April 11, 2019 at 8:49 am

      Thanks, Traci!
      Off the hook—I see what you did there ;)

  • Daniela
    April 7, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    5 stars
    I love salmon because it’s so flavorful AND good for you, so I was thrilled to see a recipe that makes preparing it a breeze. I also love the avocado mango salsa; it’s one of my favorite flavor combos and it goes so well with salmon. I can’t wait to make this next week!

    • Killing Thyme
      April 11, 2019 at 8:50 am

      I hope you love it, Daniela! Keep me posted :)

  • Jenni LeBaron
    April 7, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve never had children, but it boggles me as to why some people feel the need to give others advice on what they should be doing. Some people just need to keep their eyes on their own plate! Salmon is one of our favorite dinner dishes so I love the look of this recipe. The mango salsa you added just elevated it even further and makes it look so bright and perfect for this new spring weather we’re having.

    • Killing Thyme
      April 11, 2019 at 8:51 am

      Some folks think they’re experts on everything and just *love* to hear themselves talk :)
      Thanks, Jenni! I’m so excited about this Spring weather.

  • Tracy
    April 6, 2019 at 11:17 am

    5 stars
    This looks so amazing! Girl where was this recipe when I was pregnant! I would have made it all of the time – I LOVED salmon and loved all the good omega 3 ! But I SO feel you about everyone’s judgement while being pregnant. I was blessed with two amazing pregnancies where I gained a perfect 25 and 29 lbs with each and people STILL judged me for that – saying I didn’t gain enough!!! You keep enjoying this special time and just smile and nod to all the judgey mcjudgers!!

    • Killing Thyme
      April 11, 2019 at 9:00 am

      Thanks, Tracy!
      And yes! I’ve gained about 20 lbs so far going into third tri. I’ve been eating a balanced diet. I pay attention, but I also don’t deprive myself of those occasional Dairy Queen Blizzard and pizza cravings ;) People always have something to say. You can’t win. And then it continues on with mixed views on certain parenting decisions. Some people’s lives are so humdrum that they need to poke into other people’s biz. But like you said, I’m just enjoying this time. I’m so so grateful for being able to have experienced an easy and uneventful over-35 pregnancy, even after a surgery that could have had ill effects on the whole thing. *Cue Matthew Wilder* Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my striiiiide…. haha. Thanks for being an awesome blog pal, gf! <3

  • Lisa Lotts
    April 4, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    5 stars
    Don’t you just hate those people that butt into your pregnancy with unsolicited advice. I say it’s between you and your doctor… and I don’t see how anyone would refute the healthy nature of this gorgeous salmon and salsa. I think we’ve got a few more months until the mangoes are in season here in Florida, so I’m pinning this recipe to make during our first crop. By the way — when are you going to share a little baby bump photo?

    • Killing Thyme
      April 11, 2019 at 9:08 am

      Yes! I’d never butt into someone’s decisions when it comes to their kid. I mean sure, there are naturally some things I disagree with or don’t like but hey—not my kid, not my business. And you’re absolutely right. If you trust and respect your doctor, follow their guidelines. My friend said that her doctor ok’d a second cup of coffee throughout the day during her third trimester. So she followed suit and boy, did her co-workers ever have things to say. Like, come on. Not to mention the rules are forever changing with more research being done and changes being implemented. My doc said deli meats were okay to eat again. So I ate’em!

      I can’t wait until you can get your hands on some nice local mangos!

      And heck, yeah. I should share a bump photo, shouldn’t I :)

  • Gloria | Homemade & Yummy
    April 3, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    5 stars
    We LOVE salmon. Perfect for any night of the week. Elegant enough for entertaining guests too. Love the salsa here….and this makes a great BBQ meal too. Love using my cast iron on the grill.


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