Salmon gives salad nice protein punch
Sometimes, it’s just too hot to turn on the stove. The key is to stock 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 well-stocked fridge keeps you from hitting the fast-food place even once, then you’ll come out ahead financially (and nutritionally).
Canned salmon is one of my favorite quick foods. When it goes on sale, you can stock the pantry with a few cans, making wild salmon downright inexpensive.
Not only is canned salmon full of protein (12 grams 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, however).
Pair the salmon with beans or other 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 refrigerator, so you can graze on this fiberand protein-filled salad for a day or two with no problem.
Today’s recipe, a Lentil and Salmon Salad with Smoky Mustard Dressing, was inspired by my favorite 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 flavors marry into a surprisingly complex dish, never hinting at the fact that this recipe is of the 5-minute-dump-stir-and-serve variety.
Lentil and Salmon Salad With Smoky Mustard Dressing
2 ½ cups cooked lentils 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
(about 1 ½ 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
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon water 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
¼ cup lightly chopped dill leaves
Mix (or layer) the lentils, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, 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 to taste with salt and pepper. This makes about ½ cup.
Pour ⅓ cup of the dressing over the salad. Top with the fresh dill leaves. Toss and serve on leafy greens tossed with the remaining dressing, if desired. Will keep for two days in refrigerator, in covered glass container.
Makes 6 servings. Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 211 calories, 18 g protein, 7 g fat, 20 g carbohydrate (3 g sugar), 25 mg cholesterol, 364 mg sodium and 8 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1 ½.