Healthy Weeknight Salmon Salad
This healthy salmon salad is the perfect weeknight recipe when you are craving a quick, easy, good-for-you, home-cooked meal.
Australian InspirationI was inspired to create this healthy salmon salad recipe by a dish served at the Outpost Kitchen, an Australian-style eatery in Costa Mesa, California. Owned by Australian transplant Jay Lewis, Outpost Kitchen offers authentic brekkie (breakfast in Aussie) and lunch. Their healthy food and delicious coffee is worth a drive to their slightly out-of-the-way, semi-industrial location in the outskirts of Costa Mesa, California.
A sample of an Outpost Kitchen brekkie of avocado toast
Some Thoughts on Salmon
JP catches the first salmonFor this healthy salmon salad recipe I start with wild-caught salmon. I know it is crazy expensive, but I think from a health perspective it is well worth the premium you pay over farmed salmon. Let's face it, we eat salmon not only because it is delicious, but because we believe it is good for us. It turns out, all salmon is not equal from a health point of view. After doing some salmon fishing in Alaska, I am even more dedicated to wild-caught salmon. Here are my reasons:
- Wild-caught salmon has a higher ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids. In other words, wild-caught has more of the good-for-you, healthy, anti-inflammatory fats.
- Wild salmon has fewer calories by weight and less fat, while farmed salmon has more saturated fat, the bad fat we want to minimize. The reason wild salmon has fewer calories and is less fatty is that wild salmon get more exercise swimming vast distances in open waters. Farmed salmon are packed tightly into pens, do not get to swim distances, and as a result, are pudgier.
- Farmed salmon are fed grains, pellets, high fat feed and synthetic dyes (to achieve the vibrant orange colors), where as wild salmon forge for themselves. Their brilliant color comes from eating krill.
- Farmed salmon are more prone to disease, parasites, sea lice and infection in their close-quarter pens and are frequently treated with antibiotics and pesticides.
- Farmed salmon have significantly more POP's (persistent organic pollutants), PCP (polychlorinated biphenyls) and PBDE's (polybrominated diphenyl ether), all which have been connected to a variety of human health issues including diabetes, stroke, cancer, neurotoxicity and obesity.
- Farmed salmon also pose more risks to the environment. They are prone to escaping their pens and cross breeding with wild salmon which can introduce disease and parasites to the wild salmon population. Additionally, the feed and antibiotics used farming salmon, as well as fish excrement pollutes the surrounding water.
How to Tell If the Salmon You Are Buying is Fresh or Wild?
Alaskan fisherman teaches us how to fillet our catchThere is a lot of wild salmon labeling fraud as well as mislabeling of the different species of salmon, with lower quality salmon (such as Silver) mislabeled as higher quality salmon (such as King). One study used dna testing to check for mislabeling and found 13% of salmon is mislabeled for species, and 30% of salmon labeled as wild, was actually farmed. A silver lining for home cooks is that 67% of salmon sold in restaurants is mislabeled and only 20% of salmon purchased in supermarkets is mislabeled. I focus on purchasing Alaskan salmon because farmed salmon is illegal in Alaska. So if you can trust the salmon you are purchasing is actually Alaskan, you can be assured you are getting wild caught salmon.
A Word on Sprouts and Micro GreensI do love sprouts and use two kinds in this salmon salad. I like the clean flavor and crunch that sprouts add to salads, sandwiches and Vietnamese pho soup. Unfortunately the moist and nutrient-rich environment that sprouts are grown in is also the perfect environment for a variety of pathogens including E. coli and salmonella. The only way to ensure that your sprouts are not carrying pathogens is to cook them. Unfortunately, cooked sprouts don't do much for salads, sandwiches and soup. Steps you can take to reduce the risk is to only buy very fresh sprouts, keep them refrigerated at 40 degrees F or below, wash your hands before and after handling sprouts, rinse them thoroughly before serving and consider growing your own sprouts. If you are concerned about eating raw sprouts in this salmon salad you cans substitute thinly sliced celery or fennel to achieve a little crunchy texture.
Healthy Weeknight Salmon Salad
Yield 2 servings
This healthy salad can be put together in 30 minutes and is just what the doctor ordered when you are looking for a fast, healthy and delicious weeknight meal.
- 1/2 bag arugula
- 1 handful bean sprouts
- 1 handful micro sprouts
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/2 cup dry roasted, salted peanuts
- 1 handful fresh mint, leaves torn
- 1 handful purple basil, leaves torn
- 2 thin slices of red onion, quartered
- 3/4 pound fresh salmon, preferably wild caught
- Good olive oil
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 2 lemons, one cut in half for squeezing and one cut in wedges for garnish
- Dried red pepper flakes
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the arugula out over a platter. Top with bean sprouts, micro sprouts, tomato halves, peanuts, mint, basil and red onion slices.
- Dry salmon thoroughly and season with kosher salt and pepper. Heat an oven-safe frying pan on the stove over high. When hot, add 1 T olive oil. When olive oil begins to shimmer, add salmon skin-side down and sear for 2 minutes. Turn and sear another 2 minutes. Put pan in hot oven for 5 minutes until salmon is done and flakes when nudged.
- Place cooked salmon in middle of lettuce platter and slices of avocado on either side. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze lemon over platter. Season with a pinch of kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and dried red pepper flakes.
Cuisine New American