This tray-bake comes together in no time with minimal prep work. Using fresh and wholesome ingredients, it is both filling, satisfying, and most importantly, delicious! These tray-bakes are a favorite in our house as it’s perfect for those busy weeknights or those nights when you’re just not feeling to babysit an array of bubbling pots and pans on the stove.
Here’s why you’re going to love, love, love 😍 this recipe:
- It’s a cinch to make and requires little prep and hands off cooking.
- It is clean eating, gluten-free and keto friendly.
- It’s loaded with good-for-you veggies and heart-healthy salmon.
- It is surprisingly filling and very satisfying.
- It can be made using any other seasonal veggie of your choosing.
- You can pair it with any carb of your choice from rice to pasta.
To make it you’ll need two trays and the following ingredients:
- Fresh salmon: You can use a whole fillet or slices. Wild or fresh, the choice is yours though I prefer wild since it tends to contain less calories and fats and more minerals than farmed salmon.
- Asparagus: You’ll need to trim the often tough and fibrous ends off your asparagus. To do this, I typically trim off about 1-inch and if there are stalks that seem to have a brown or hard end still I simply peel that layer off using a potato peeler. Snapping your asparagus in half so that it naturally beaks where the soft part begins tends to waste a lot of the vegetable.
- Fresh butternut squash: I highly recommend using a fresh butternut squash that is cut into smaller cubes to ensure that they cook quickly and evenly.
- Fresh cherry tomatoes: You can also use grape if you prefer. They don’t need to be on-the-vine either.
- Extra light olive oil: You can also use any neutral clean label oil of your choosing.
- Garlic: Opt for fresh cloves that you’ve either minced or grated finely.
- Salt: I recommend pink Himalayan or sea salt. You can also feel free to use smoked or other flavored salts you enjoy.
- Black pepper: Fresh cracked or ground is ideal.
- Lemon juice: I love using fresh lemons for this recipe.
- Butter: I’m using a salted butter but you can just as easily use unsalted.
- Parsley: Fresh or dried parsley can be used.
- Smoked paprika: I absolutely love the smokiness imparted by smoked paprika and I find that it complements both the salmon and the fresh lemon juice perfectly!
- Cayenne pepper: You can adjust this to suit your personal taste or omit it entirely. You can also use a chipotle powder if you like.
- Onion powder: I opted to use onion powder instead of fresh onion simple because it melded together into the rub better and can both seep into the salmon better without the risk of it burning on the fish.
- Oregano: Fresh of dried can be used.
- Bacon: If you have it on hand, opt for using a thick-cut bacon as it will render more fat and flavor onto your squash, if not, regular bacon works just as well!
- Cheese: I love using Fontina for this recipe as its taste and texture merge well with the salty bacon and sweet squash, but you can use any good melting cheese of your choosing.
Now a bit of an aside, the cheese and bacon are a bit…extra. It’s not wholly needed and you can skip them if you so choose as the buttery oven-roasted squash is delicious all on its own, but sometimes it’s nice to be a bit indulgent!
With your ingredients gathered, here’s how to make this easy tray bake:
The first tray we’ll prep consists of the tomatoes and butternut squash. To season them all we need is oil, salt, pepper and some of our grated garlic.
I like to use one dedicated bowl to season everything in one part at a time. So, for the tomatoes, we’ll add in the seasoning and toss the tomatoes until they’re fully coated before we place them onto the tray.
Next, in the same bowl, we’ll add the squash along with the seasoning for the squash, and toss them around until they’re fully and evenly coated before we place them onto the tray with our tomatoes. Finally, we’ll pop the tray into our preheated oven to bake.
While the tomatoes and squash get their headstart on cooking, we’ll season the asparagus with oil, salt, pepper and garlic, in the same bowl that the squash and tomatoes were seasoned in. Once that’s done, we’ll prep and the salon with an herb-butter rub.
After making a few diagonal cuts on the salmon which will allow the herbed butter to penetrate into the fish, we’ll make the rub that will season it…
…you guessed it, in the same bowl we’ve seasoned everything else in!
To make our rub, we’ll add our (melted) butter, oil, salt, pepper, garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, paprika, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, onion powder, and fresh parsley and mix it together before slathering the salmon in it. Use a spatula to scrape every last bit of the rub out and onto the salmon so nothing goes to waste. Now, I know this seems like a lot of ingredients for the rub, but it really does bring a wallop of phenomenal flavors to our salmon without overpowering it.
With both elements well seasoned, our tray of asparagus and salmon will head into the oven to join the squash and tomatoes. (At this point in time we’ll also sprinkle our bacon over the squash since we have the oven open!)
Once both trays are done, we’ll finish by topping the squash with our cheese and allow the residual heat from the tray and the squash to melt it (or you can set it back into the oven for a few minutes if you like).
Each element should be perfectly cooked, well-seasoned and ready to enjoy. Fresh, wholesome, and bursting with flavors ranging from sweet to tart to savory, this tray-bake is as sumptuous as it is colorful!
All that’s left to do is plate it however you’d like and enjoy! Bon appétit! 🍽️
Salmon and Vegetables Tray-bake
For Butternut Squash
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Tomatoes: Rinse and pat your tomatoes dry before tossing the oil, salt, pepper and garlic until evenly coated and place on a one side of a tray.
- Butternut Squash: Toss the cubed butternut squash in the oil, salt, pepper and garlic until evenly coated and place on the other half of the tray with the tomatoes.
- Place the tray with tomatoes and squash in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Asparagus: Toss the washed and trimmed asparagus with the oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and place on one end of a second tray.
- Salmon: Combine the oil, butter, salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, cayenne, oregano, parsley, onion powder and lemon juice together. Slash the salmon diagonally five or six times and evenly cover in the herb-butter mixture.
- Place the tray with the asparagus and salmon in the oven for 15 minutes and sprinkle the chopped bacon over the butternut squash.
- When both trays have reached their bake times, remove them from the oven. Sprinkle your shredded cheese over the squash and allow the residual heat to melt it.
- Serve immediately.
- Cut your squash into small cubes to ensure that they cook faster and more evenly.
- An easy method to seasoning your veggies is to use one bowl to add your seasoning and veggies to and tossing them one batch (veggie) at a time. Start with the tomatoes, squash, asparagus and end with the salmon, if there is excess seasoning in the bowl it can be used up by incorporating it into the herbed rub for the salmon.
- Once you set the squash and tomatoes into the oven for 20 minutes use the 5 minute between the bake times to prep the asparagus and salmon tray (that takes 15 minutes), that way both trays come out the oven at once.
- The addition of the bacon and cheese is honestly optional but adds a great layer of flavor and indulgent richness to the sweet oven roasted squash.
Did you try this recipe? What did you think of it? Did you add any other veggies to your tray-bake? Let us know by leaving a comment and rating below or by connecting with us (@kitrusycleaneat and #kitrusy) and don’t forget to show off your pics and tag us so we can celebrate your delectable creations together! 🥳