When the weather is warm, and your grill is hot, there is no easier way to throw together a simple supper for 2 or a dinner party for 12 than tossing a load of vegetables and a few pieces of good fish on the grill.

But, sometimes, I know you need a little more spice, girl!

And that’s when you want to take that fish, rub it with a little chili powder before you grill it, make a spicy and sweet mango and cucumber salsa and have a Grilled Salmon Burrito!

I have to admit, I did not invent this dish, I just made it skinny. The original version was something that I found and fell in love with during a Good Morning America road trip to New Mexico in 1998.  After we spent a day or two shooting from hot air balloons, interviewing faith healers and learning how to do rain dances (really) with  local native Americans, we did what all good journalists do on the road: we found the best food the region had to offer! And we ended up at Cafe Pasqual’s in Santa Fe.

On any given morning, tourists (and locals) will stand in line for an hour to feast on their amazing breakfasts.

But, for me, the absolute best thing on their menu was the grilled salmon burrito with mango salsa.

A giant hand-made flour tortilla, stuffed with chili rubbed grilled salmon, herbed goat cheese and black beans and topped with a sweet and spicy mango salsa, this dish made all the travel, and the rain dancing, worth it. (And I was thankful the balloon ride was over because, after that meal, there was NO way I was getting off of the ground.)

Luckily for me, the chef/owner Katherine Kagel sent me home with her delightful cookbook so that I could impress my family and friends for years to come. Unluckily for my ever-growing waistline, I did.

But by re-working her recipe just a bit–bumping up the vegetables, reducing the cheese and using a 100 calorie fiber rich tortilla–I can still enjoy the flavor and texture her gorgeous dish offers, but for about 300 calories instead of 1000!

When I get back to Santa Fe, I will be thrilled to eat at San Pasqual’s and will again order Katherine Kagel’s version–though I may split it with someone. In the meantime, this version allows me to savor the flavors of Santa Fe without having to wear a tee-pee to dinner!



This bit for the grilled salmon is not really a recipe, but a guide. You may want to cook up a half pound of salmon if you have a small family (or are single but want leftovers to play with), or 4 pounds if you’re having a party.  All you need to do is rinse the salmon well, sprinkle it, liberally, with salt and chili powder, and then a little cayenne pepper. Grill it, skin side down for 5 minutes, flip and cook 3 minutes more. You’re done.


(This recipe makes a big bowl that will top 10 burritos but it’s easy to reduce.)

1 large ripe mango, peeled and flesh chopped.

2 Persian cucumbers, peeled a bit and chopped (or half an English Hothouse Cuke, seeded)

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

1 T garlic, minced

1 small red onion, chopped fine

1 small red bell pepper, chopped fine

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1 T seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar

1 T Red Wine Vinegar

Juice and zest of one lime

salt and pepper to taste

2 T feta*

Chop all the fruit and veg, mix and taste for seasonings–they will get stronger after a half hour while you’re grilling the fish so don’t add too much extra salt or vinegar until the end.

(*You can add feta to the top of the mango salsa bowl if people are serving themselves at a party, or just add it a teaspoon to each burrito if you’re building them yourself.)


I make my own black beans out of dried beans, adding a little chopped celery, onion and bell pepper in the last 5 minutes. But you can just used canned black beans, rinse before assembly.


Any soft salad greens, like a spring mix, or arugula, or even spinach mixed with turnip or dandelion greens will do… Just toss them with some salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. (You won’t need to add oil as salmon is an oily fish.)


Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave on high. 30 seconds for 2, 90 seconds for 4.

Smear a tablespoon of fat free sour cream on the tortilla and add a handful of greens, about 3/4 cup of salmon and a quarter cup of black beans… (add feta, a teaspoon per burrito if it’s not on the salsa.)

Roll up and top with mango salsa…

Or, roll up and serve the burritos wrap style that you can eat without a knife and fork…place them on top of more salad with the salsa on the side.


The next day, heat a corn tortilla in the microwave and have a skinny snack..

Or, make a salad of spinach and top with leftover salmon and mango salsa…


Either way, you have ready to go deliciousness loaded with protein and fiber that also hits all of your taste buttons!

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