Smoked Mackerel Salad

(Last Updated On: 14 January 2021)

You know sometimes salads are a bit uninspired, a bit dull and lack a bit of oomph? Yeah, well this Smoked Mackerel Salad is the opposite of that – bit flavours, vibrant colours and super good for you with all that oily fish, beetroot and cannellini beans.

I challenge you to find a tastier salad than this. The flavours are punchy, but in my opinion, they are perfectly balanced too. That’s no mean feat with Smoked Mackerel on the plate – a big, big flavour, but with some quick pickled onions, dill, cucumber, beetroot and horseradish we’ve managed to level the flavours with aplomb.

This will probably be my last foray into salads for 2020. It’s almost time for the slow cooker, the stews, soups and the big hearty feasts to make their big appearances. There have been some super salads during my inaugural summer though, so if you’re a sucker for a salad, or just looking for some light lunches be sure to check out my couscous salad or the chicken thigh double salad.

pile of smoked mackerel salad on a speckled blue plate, in the background is a jar of quick pickled onions

Before we dive in, if you’re planning on making this for date night, then don’t. I love smoked mackerel, but you will be able to smell it and taste it for the rest of the day, and that’s not a date night smell.


This smoked mackerel salad requires just ten ingredients, the majority of which have their individual health benefits. I’m not calling this a super salad, but if I were, I wouldn’t be exaggerating.

ingredients to make smoked mackerel salad

Mackerel: It’s hard to keep with this fish, one minute it’s good for you, the next it’s not. What is for sure though is that mackerel is high in Omega-3, which helps lower blood pressure, it’s also high in protein. The mackerel population is enormous too, so there’s very little chance of overfishing this delicious food.

Beetroot: The messiest food of them all, but also one of the best and tastiest. Beetroot is high in fibre, iron and Vitamin C as well as being chockablock with antioxidants. Like mackerel, it’s also proven to help lower blood pressure. Just make sure you’re wearing gloves and a t-shirt you don’t like when you’re handling the pesky, purple stuff.

Cannellini Beans: Another protein PUNCH, but this one is fat free, also an excellent source of fibre.

Watercress: My go-to salad buffer, packed full of Vitamin K (which is good for healthy bones), and Vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. Antioxidants are abundant too. Watercress is terrific, and that’s all there is to it.

The rest of your ingredients for this super smoked mackerel salad are Cookie and Kate’s quick pickled onions, half a cucumber, mayonnaise, some dill, horseradish sauce and some olive oil.

Small serving plate containing salad in the foreground, slightly back to the right is another small sideplate containing salad, blurred in the background is a large serving plate containing the rest of the salad.

Prepare to succeed

There’s not much to this smoked mackerel salad recipe. That doesn’t sound like something I should say as a food blogger, but this dish is all about balancing a whole load of robust flavours into a well rounded, enjoyable plate of food.

You can make the quick pickled onions head of time though, the Cookie and Kate’s recipe is so quick and easy I didn’t even think about making my own. You’ll want to eat them with absolutely everything (they’re damn good in a grilled cheese just FYI) so make more then you’ll think you’ll need.

For the dressing add two tablespoons each of olive oil and mayonnaise and tablespoon of horseradish to a small bowl and whisk until combined. Place theIn a separate bowl place 85gram of watercress, half the dill and the well-rinsed cannellini beans – add one tablespoon of your freshly made horseradish dressing and mix to coat the watercress leaves properly.

Watercress, cannellini beans and one tablespoon of horseradish dressing in a stainless steel bowl at the top of the shoot. In the bottom left of the shot is a jar of Quick Pickled Onions

The plating is really up to your style – I can’t work out if my images are a stylistic genius or they look like a dog’s dinner, to be honest. I cut my cucumber into ribbons using a y-peeler and then thinly sliced my beetroot, and well, basically just piled it all on top of the watercress and cannellini mix and hoped for the best.

Shot from above of over crowded plate of mackerel salad

Cost + Calories

We’ve gone over the health benefits of some of the ingredients in this salad, now let’s have a look at the two things that matter to most people most, the cost and the calories.

This smoked mackerel salad easily serves four as a lunch or a starter, and you may even find you have some leftover. It comes in a £1.07 per portion when shopping at Morrisons (prices correct at time of publishing, obvz). Calorie wise we are looking at roughly 381 calories a pop, which was surprising to me because it was damn filling.

Save it for later

I love Pinterest – I organise EVERYTHING by it. Kitchen project, on it! Want to build a table out of old pennies and an ironing board, you betcha! Not salad season right now? Fear not – pop this Pin on your favourite Pinterest boards for a later date.

Smoked Mackerel Salad Pinterest Pin

Please give some feedback on this recipe and your successes (or failures with it) in the comments below – let me know if you think my plating is a work of art or a dog’s dinner too, I need closure on that internal dilemma, ya know?

You can also get me over on Facebook (where I’m trying to do better), Twitter (where I tweet nonsense not about food mainly, but my pivot to food twitter is coming) and Instagram (where you get the pictures of recipes about a month before I write the recipes up).

Happy Cooking (not cooking).

Smoked Mackerel Salad

This punchy, flavourful salad is a good’un! Smoked Mackerel paired perfectly with beetroot, sweet quick pickled onions with a creamy horseradish, olive oil and mayo dressing.
Servings 4 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins


  • 85 g Watercress
  • Half a cucumber cut into ribbons
  • 250 g smoked mackerel
  • 400 g tin of cannellini beans
  • 150 g cooked beetroot thinly sliced
  • some quick pickled onions
  • small handfull of dill approx 5g
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish


  • Whip up some quick pickled onions (click the link in the ingredients)
  • Whisk together mayonnaise, olive oil and horseradish
  • Drain and rinse cannellini beans, place in a bowl with watercress and half the dill. Add one tablespoon and mix thoroughly to coat the watercress. 
  • Transfer watercress and beans to serving plate, flake over smoked mackerel. Roll up cucumber ribbons and place on the plate, scatter over remaining dill, add the sliced beetroot and a generous helping of pickled red onions. 
  • Drizzle over remaining sauce and serve.


Ribboning your Cucumber: Use a y-peeler to get nice thin ribbons of cucumber. If you’re not feeling fancy you can just cut your cucumber into chunk, no judgment here. 
You can make this salad ahead of time, it’ll store in the fridge for up to 3 days (assuming your watercress has enough life left). Just store the salad and sauce separately so you don’t wilt the watercress leaves. 
Author: JPLongland
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: Salad
Keyword: 15 minute meals, Seafood, Vegetarian

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