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Kalyn's Kitchen

Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives

Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives are so flavorful from the thyme, garlic and saffron that seasons the tomato-olive mixture. No worries if you don’t have saffron though, it will still be delicious without it!

PIN Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives!

Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives final shot of cooked salmon on serving plate

When I lived at my old house, this was the first recipe I tried when I’d finally gotten my grill out of the neighbor’s garage, where it had been stored for a very fun reason. I’d been looking forward to grilling for months, and of course as soon as I took a bite of the salmon from these Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives, I was immediately a fan of this recipe! And I’ve made it quite a few times since then. And every time I made it I wished it had better photos for the blog, so I am so happy to finally get them updated!

Not only does the foil-packet salmon taste amazing when it’s cooked with the tomatoes-olive mixture seasoned with thyme, garlic, and saffron, but this recipe is so simple you can have it on the table in less than 30 minutes. And no worries if you don’t have the optional saffron, I’m sure this combination will taste wonderful without it.

I’m guessing some people might like the sound of this but don’t have a grill, but you can definitely make it in the oven. I’d use the cooking time and temperature from Baked Salmon with Pesto and Tomatoes (and that’s another amazingly tasty foil-packet dinner with salmon that could also be cooked on the grill.) Enjoy everyone!

Saffron in small bottle with cork stopper

What is Saffron?

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, made from the dried stigma of the Saffron Crocus. Although it’s expensive, it’s used in very small amounts, so a tiny container like this will flavor many dishes. It has a slightly bitter, musty flavor that’s hard to describe, but it’s used in beloved dishes all over the middle east and southern Europe like Saffron Chicken, Paella, and Saffron Rice. Here is more information about Saffron and a good close-up of the Saffron threads.

Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives process shots collage

How to Make Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Take four salmon fillets out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature while you preheat grill to medium high.
  2. Cut olives and cherry tomatoes into quarters.
  3. Combine diced tomatoes, olives, olive oil, minced garlic, fresh thyme, saffron, and a bit of salt and pepper in a bowl or large measuring cup.
  4. Rub the salmon pieces with Szeged Fish Rub (affiliate link) or other fish rub of your choice.
  5. Tear 8 pieces of foil. (It’s double-wrapped for the grill so that’s why you need 8 pieces.)
  6. Place each piece of seasoned Salmon on two pieces of foil.
  7. Top each piece of salmon with 1/4 of the tomato olive mixture.
  8. Then loosely fold over the top pieces and ends of the foil to make a flat packet to sit on the pre-heated grill. 
  9. Our salmon was perfectly cooked in 10 minutes on the grill, but if you like your salmon less well-done you might want to check after about 8 minutes. 
  10. Serve right away and enjoy!

Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives close-up photo of cooked salmon on plate

Make it a Meal:

This would be great with Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan, and Goat Cheese or Easy Grilled Vegetables for a low-carb meal.

More Salmon You Might Like:

Air Fryer Salmon with Mustard-Herb Sauce
Roasted Lemon Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan Meal
Grilled Salmon with Maple-Sriracha-Lime Glaze

Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives close-up photo of cooked salmon on plate

Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives are a perfect easy main dish when you want something that's a bit special.

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced Kalamata olives (see notes)
  • 1 T finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves (see notes)
  • small pinch saffron, about 15-20 threads (see notes)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons fish rub (see notes)

Instructions

  1. Take four salmon fillets out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature while you preheat grill to medium high.
  2. Cut Kalamata olives (or black olives if you prefer) and cherry tomatoes into quarters.
  3. Then combine diced tomatoes, Kalamata olives, olive oil, minced garlic, fresh thyme, saffron, and a bit of salt and pepper in a bowl or large measuring cup.
  4. No problem if you don't have Saffron, just leave it out. If you only have dried thyme, I would use less and grind it up in a Mortar and Pestle (affiliate link).
  5. Rub the salmon pieces with a teaspoon or two of Szeged Fish Rub (affiliate link) or other fish rub of your choice.
  6. Tear 8 smallish pieces of foil, just large enough to wrap around the piece of salmon. (It's double-wrapped for the grill which is why you need 8 pieces.)
  7. Place each piece of seasoned Salmon on two pieces of foil; I sprayed the foil with olive oil before I put the fish on, but I'm not sure it's essential.
  8. Top each piece of salmon with 1/4 of the tomato olive mixture.
  9. Then loosely fold over the top pieces and ends of the foil to make a flat packet to sit on the pre-heated grill. You won't be turning them over, so you don't have to be too careful about the wrapping.
  10. Our salmon was perfectly cooked in 10 minutes on the grill, but if you like your salmon less well-done you might want to check by opening one packet after about 8 minutes.
  11. Serve right away and enjoy!

Notes

I would use salmon fillets that are about 6-8 oz. each. I used Szeged Fish Rub (affiliate link) but use any fish rub of your choice. Use regular black olives if you prefer. Use more or less olives to taste. If you don't have fresh thyme I would use a Mortar and Pestle (affiliate link) to grind the dried thyme. The saffron is optional, but use it if you have some.

Recipe adapted slightly from Fine Cooking Grilling 2008.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 679Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 144mgSodium: 393mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 52g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives square image of finished dish

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives are a perfect entree recipe for any phase of the original South Beach Diet, or any other low-carb eating plan. Tomatoes do have a few carbs, so just use a bit less tomatoes if you prefer.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Grilling Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipes
This recipe was first posted in 2009; updated with better photos and nutritional information July 2020.

Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives Pinterest image

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    42 Comments on “Salmon Foil Packets with Tomatoes and Olives”

  1. I have GOT to find an affordable grill somewhere. Maybe on Freecycle or craigslist, at the very least?

    Well, at least I'll be grilling with my mom in less than 2 weeks. I'm definitely putting this on the list.

  2. CC, I think your mom's seasonings sound great too! Maybe I'll have to try that.

    Belhana, you're welcome.

    Prout Italian Cook, I made it again tonight for my dad and he told me over and over how good it was, ending with "the best meal I've had for a long, long time." So I think it's pretty good!

    Since there is no grill or stove in the assisted living apartment where my dad lives, I cooked it in a toaster oven preheated to 450, for just over 15 minutes. Very good.

  3. I'm going to make this ASAP! My mouth is watering!

  4. Kalyn, this sounds fabulous! This would be perfect for a quick weeknight meal. When entertaining, my mum loves to cook a large fillet of salmon in foil. She usually adds soy sauce, whole green onions, and chunks of ginger and garlic. It always turns out tender and tasty.

  5. Katerina, give it a try and I bet you'll like it, especially if you like saffron.

    Vintage Mixer, don't skip the tomatoes and olives too.

    Maria, I am happy indeed to have the grill back.

    CB, since this recipe came from Fine Cooking Grilling, you would have to address your concerns about the purity of the recipe with them. I liked it, and to each her own when it comes to cooking, I'd say. (And I don't think it would be the same in the oven. The hot fire right under the fish, cooked it quickly while leaving the tomatoes and olives less cooked. The oven wouldn't give that effect.)

  6. This sounds tasty – but when one seals food in foil and places it 'on the grill' to my way of thinking, there is no real reason or need for the grill. Just as well prepare it in the kitchen oven.

    When using a grill for cooking, seems to me anyway, is to use the tool for that which it is designed – searing food on hot grates, maybe over wood or charcoal, or to add smoke flavor with indirect cooking. All of this is exposing the meat, fish, veggies, fruit to the heat and to the fire or smoke. Sealing in foil is well – baking in foil. Cook it indoors OR SEAR THE FISH FIRST and place in the foil to finish.

    But that's just me. Maybe.

  7. We love making packets for the grill. I usually do all veggies but I want to try your salmon version! Looks fantastic. Glad you got your grill back:)

  8. great time for grilled salmon. We enjoyed some over a salad last night. We'll have to try it with herbs in foil next time!

  9. I am generally a fan of really simple salmon only because we get such amazing fish this time of year, but I think this deserves a try. Plus I could totally make it in the oven!

  10. StreamingGourmet, love the idea of salmon wrapped in nori too. This must be the easiest way imaginable to cook fish on the grill!

    Sarah, I loved it!

    CookinsForMe, as I said, I think the saffron is definitely option. However, it does give it that extra "over the top" flavor if you decide to try it. And saffron is expensive, but you use the tiniest amount, so it goes a long way.

  11. I'd like to try this but I'll probably leave the saffron out. Its something I've never used and would probably not use again but who knows, I might get wild and crazy and try it with the saffron. This recipe looks great and I'm eager to try it. Eating plain baked salmon is getting old!

  12. That looks and sounds delish! I love cooking with foil packets on the grill. It's a great way to combine flavors for fantastic dishes without having to spend hours marinating. I cannot wait to try this.

  13. What a great idea. The packets remove my usual anxiety about fish sticking on the grill and falling apart. On my cooking video site, CookusInterruptus posted a video where she (Cynthia Lair) bakes salmon wrapped in nori. Another great packet idea! Thanks for this one.

  14. Cora, that's just how I felt when I saw the recipe, and it was even better than I expected!

    Trish, I use it very sparingly here too, but it really was great in this dish.

    Italian Dish, didn't think about that, but yes, another plus!

    Lydia, salmon tagine sounds fabulous. I bet you'd like this too.

    Joanne, the sound of salmon in a packet with lemon and capers is enticing me. That sounds wonderful too!

  15. The best salmon that I ever made was in a packet with lemon and capers. I would love to try it with the tomatoes and black olives.

  16. This is my kind of dish. I often make a salmon tagine with a chermoula of olives, tomatoes, and garlic. To add the slightly smoky flavor from the grill would make it even more delicious — and very similar to your recipe. I'm bookmarking this one.

  17. Kalyn, not only does this dish look absolutely delicious, but I love that there's no pots and pan to clean up!

  18. That looks scrumptious. I love my salmon and that combo with olives, garlic and thyme is one I have done before too. Saffron is a guarded spice in my home…taken out for special occasions as you are right…tis durn expensive! I use it in my special biryani

  19. Oh my goodness! So many of my favorite flavors in one package – can't wait to make this one!