Bacalao (Salted Cod Salad)

Ensalada de Bacalao (Salt Cod Salad) - - @TheNoshery

Ensalada de Bacalao-19
When I was a kid, my grandmother would make this salad, and it was one of the few things I would refuse to eat.  Great way to start off a food post huh? Of course, I don’t think anyone can successfully feed a child salted cod.  If you have, please let me know.  After much protest from both me and my sister, this was no longer offered in our household.

Ensalada de Bacalao | - @TheNoshery
Moving forward, when I first moved to Florida, my mother-in-law would make this, and everyone loved it, especially OB.  I thought is was bizarro because all I could remember was how much I protested when I was a kid.  After some reluctance, I decided that I would give the salad a try.  After all, I didn’t like pickles and mustard when I was a kid, but I eat them now.  I was surprised to discover that it was wonderful.

Ensalada de Bacalao | - @TheNoshery
The most important part of this recipe is removing just the right amount of salt from the cod. If you don’t remove enough it’s inedible and if you remove too much it’s just bland. I typically will soak the salted cod in cold water for 15 – 30 minutes. I then place it in pot, covered with water and bring it to a simmer. Changing the water and bringing to a simmer 3 – 4 times or until the cod is to your taste.

Ensalada de Bacalao | - @TheNoshery
This salad has become one of my favorite easy make ahead meals. Served chilled or room temperature it’s the perfect recipe for the summer.  Although the main ingredient is salted cod, it is not overly salty, and it is not fishy.  It is a great combo of mild saltiness from the fish and sweet from the combination of tomatoes, onions, and olive oil.

Bacalao (Salted Cod Salad)
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb of salted cod
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • ½ large avocado or a whole small avocado, diced
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 12 green olives (optional)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  1. Soak salted cod in cool water for 15 - 30 minutes. Drain and transfer cod to a pot. Cover with water and bring to a simmer on the stove top. Change water and bring to a simmer 3 - 4 more times or until cod reaches desired saltiness. Drain, using a fork break up the cod and set aside.

  2. Saute onion in skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft and translucent.

  3. In a large bowl combine cod with onions and remaining ingredients. Toss until well combined. If the salad is too dry to your liking add more olive oil.

  4. Serve with rice or boiled yucca root drizzled with olive oil.



  1. Irma says

    Love your recipe!! This reminds me of my mothers bacalao. Thanks for the post. Do you have any recipes for bacalao guisado or any other fish recipes?

  2. Angel says

    I love this!! My mother-in-law made a different version. My husband is Puerto Rican, the food is amazing!!!

  3. Amanda says


    I am a Puerto Rican from NY that moved to Tulsa and can never find the salted cod in the box here! Where did you find it?I tried, Kim’s International foods and Nam Hi (or however you spell it) but couldn’t find it. Also, guineos are hard to find. Gracias!

    • says

      I got true salted cod at White River Fish Market. It’s pricey but worth it. Sometimes you can find Goya bacalao at Nam Hai, sometimes salted pollock which you can use as a substitute, but it hit and miss. The guienitos I have only found in Nam Hai at times. I hope this helps. Good luck!

    • Ana says

      In Utah I can only find bacalao in an Italian market: Baccala. I can find guineos verdes in one market that caters to the Polynessian population. You have to ask for no gas bananas–at warehouses they use some chemical gas to ripen bananas.

  4. Mike Nickerson says

    Aloha Meseidy,
    As you can tell, I’m not Puertoricano(?) but I have a step-daughter coming for Thanksgiving who is. She has been a big fan of Bacalao since she was a very young child. Naturally, I wanted to make her favorite dish for her visit and found your recipe…Thank you! My favorite is Ensalada de Pulpo in a plastic cup on the beach with a Fria!
    Best wishes for the coming holidays and bon provecho!

  5. says

    Hi. About 3 years ago I had a coworker who used to bring to work this salad It was absolutely delicious. Once I even gave her some money for all the ingredients and she made a whole lot, and I shared it with everyone on the nursing floor. Well since then, she left and I retired and we lost contact. I tried on my own to make it,, but it never came out right. Today I went on line and therre was your recipe. I did everything as you said. I even bought yucca (Goya frozen) from Shoprite and made them too, with Goya plaintains.

  6. Alba R says

    I love my serenata with everything cut in big chunks (lettuce, tomatoes and onions) an a lot of the ever good olive oil with some vinegar. For the side, I don’t care for anything else but boiled green bananas and yautía (taro root). Mmm, one of my favorites dishes since I was a little kid.

  7. SandyD says

    OMG, I love this. Being a Puerto Rican I grew up eating this and I still love it. I’m making this on the weekend with some arroz junto con habichuelas y escabeche de guineos. I can’t wait!!!

  8. Jeannette Perez says

    This is so good, I can’t wait to make it again. We used to have it on especially hot days in P.R., make up a huge batch, stick in the fride to chill and eat it on pan sopao. SO GOOD!

  9. John says

    Stumbled upon your site and this great recipe! When we were kids salt cod was poor people’s food and I swore I would never eat it again as an adult. I now love it and can’t wait to make your beautiful salad! As I remember, salt cod was around 50 cents a pound back then. How things have changed.
    Thank you!

  10. Margarita says

    My mother used to make this salad at least once a week when I was growing up.
    It was great with vianda or white rice and white beans. “YUM” Now I’m craving it.

  11. says

    Oh my goodness…this is my absolute favorite! Although I have to have a little piece of malanga with it. :)

    Thank you for the recipe…I usually only eat it when my mom makes it, but I think I will have to try this recipe over the weekend.

    • Roberto says

      I enjoyed reading your recipe. It cracked me up. I would very much appreciate a few more recipes if you wouldn’t mind emailing them to me. I love the Bacala’ito Frito, Sancocho, The steak marinated in onions, the Gondinga, beef stew & Chicken stew for over rice, Rice recipe; red, yellow, Thanks again for posting & I really enjoyed reading your way of putting things.
      You may enjoy some of my spelling, I was born & raised in the U.S. but Love who I am & My Island, which I visit every opportunity I get. I do speak my language & feel blessed that it was my first language. Have a wonderful day & Lord Bless. Thanks again.

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