A COOL MEAL IN MIN­UTES

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - MELISSA D’ARA­BIAN

Some­times, it’s just too hot to turn on the stove.

The key is to stock up your kitchen with “healthy con­ve­nience food” that doesn’t re­quire any heat, such as fresh pro­duce, canned beans, canned fish and small boxes of pre­cooked legumes found in the pre­pared pro­duce sec­tion.

You can throw to­gether a hearty meal in min­utes with­out break­ing a sweat. Sure, you will pay an ex­tra dol­lar or two for steamed lentils, for in­stance, but if hav­ing a well­stocked fridge keeps you from hit­ting the drive-thru even once, then you’ll come ahead fi­nan­cially (and nu­tri­tion­ally).

Canned salmon is one of my favourite healthy fast-foods. When it goes on sale, you can stock up the pantry with a few cans, mak­ing wild salmon down­right in­ex­pen­sive.

Not only is canned salmon full of protein (12 grams of protein per 2 ounces of fish) and omega-3 fatty acids, but it ac­tu­ally has more cal­cium than its fresh coun­ter­part, since the small bones stay in the meat (and go un­no­ticed; re­move any large bones).

Pair the salmon with beans or legumes plus some chopped fresh veg­eta­bles and vi­nai­grette, and you’ve got a dish hearty enough for a sum­mer­time sup­per. And it will keep nicely in the fridge, so you can graze on this fi­bre and protein filled salad for a day or two no prob­lem.

The fol­low­ing recipe, Len­til and Salmon Salad with Smoky Mus­tard Dress­ing, was in­spired by my favourite bagel top­pings — red onion, to­mato, ca­pers, salmon and a hint of smok­i­ness in the vi­nai­grette, which el­e­vates the canned salmon into a lit­tle wink at lox. The flavours marry into a sur­pris­ingly com­plex dish, never hint­ing at the fact that this recipe is of the five-minute-dump­stir-and-serve va­ri­ety.

Len­til and Salmon Salad with Smoky Mus­tard Dress­ing MAKES 6 SERV­INGS

2½ cups cooked lentils 2 medium toma­toes, chopped (about 1½ cups) 1 medium cu­cum­ber, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup) ¼ medium red onion, chopped 3 ta­ble­spoons ca­pers 8 ounces canned wild salmon, large bones and skin re­moved ¼ cup lightly chopped dill leaves 1/3 cup Lemon-Di­jon vi­nai­grette, recipe fol­lows Salt and pep­per Lemon-Di­jon Vi­nai­grette: 2 tea­spoons Di­jon mus­tard 1 tsp smoked paprika 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp red wine vine­gar 1 tbsp water 3 tbsp olive oil Salt and pep­per

Start to fin­ish: 10 min­utes Mix (or layer) the lentils, toma­toes, onion, cu­cum­ber, ca­pers and salmon in a large salad bowl or on a plat­ter. In a small bowl, whisk to­gether the mus­tard, smoked paprika, lemon juice, vine­gar and water un­til smooth. Driz­zle in the olive oil while whisk­ing to make an emul­sion.

Sea­son with salt and pep­per. Pour 1/3 cup of the dress­ing over the salad. Top with the fresh dill leaves. Toss and en­joy. Serve on leafy greens, if de­sired. Will keep for two days in re­frig­er­a­tor, in cov­ered glass con­tainer.

Per serv­ing: 211 calo­ries (64 from fat); 7 grams fat (1 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 25 mil­ligrams choles­terol; 364 mg sodium; 20 g car­bo­hy­drate; 8 g fi­bre; 3 g sugar; 18 g protein.

MELISSA D’ARA­BIAN, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

When it goes on sale, you can stock up the pantry with a few cans, mak­ing wild salmon down­right in­ex­pen­sive.

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