If you’ve been wanting to eat more fish but find it hard to make it at dinner, look no further than this easy, protein-packed meal prep canned salmon recipe! It incorporates colorful, crunchy carrots and cabbage plus flavor enhancers that take it over the top. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to eat more fish. Did I mention it also tastes awesome?
The Health Benefits of Regular Fish Intake
Currently, recommendations for fish intake in adults is 2-3x/week, equivalent to about 8-12 oz. Seafood is known to provide a “total package” of nutrients; things like EPA and DHA (anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids), protein, vitamin D and selenium. This confers powerful health benefits including reduced cardiac death, decreased blood pressure and a potential reduced risk for stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. If you recall, fatty fish was one of my 5 heart-healthy foods to add to your shopping list back in February. I’m always advocating for getting creative with fish in your cooking routine (and I live in a land-locked state!).
Is Fish Safe to Eat?
There always seems to be a bit of confusion over whether it’s safe to consume fish because of contaminants like mercury and PCBs. However the literature consistently shows that the benefits of eating sufficient amounts of fish far outweigh any potential risk. Especially when choosing a variety and eating it in reasonable amounts. Also, the highest-mercury varieties (shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish) are not typically readily available in grocery stores or at restaurants. The lowest mercury varieties (shrimp, salmon, chunk light tuna, catfish) are typically the easiest to find.
Barriers to Eating More Fish
According to national data, the “2-3x/week” target continues to be a challenge for most households. I know I struggle to include fish that often at dinner. I like to vary proteins throughout the week and don’t cook every single night. Because of this it would be really challenging to include it multiple nights if I’m not eating out!
Additionally, while many varieties of fish can be affordable, some types are cost prohibitive. Lastly and most importantly, fish doesn’t keep for long after you buy it fresh from the grocery store counter. It’s typically recommended to prepare it within 1-2 days. Sometimes I have to switch up my plan at the last minute, so that doesn’t always work out. Luckily there are a few simple ways to get around some of these barriers. One of my favorites is adding canned fish into your rotation.
Canned Fish as a Pantry Staple
In the past year or so, I started stocking more canned fish in my pantry to supplement the ~1 weekly serving that I was getting at dinner. This way I could get closer to that 2-3x/week goal without changing up my entire dinner routine. It’s always available when you need it and is really affordable (as low as $0.35/serving).
The recipe I’m sharing today incorporates salmon, but tuna is a great option too and would stand in just fine if you have some on hand. In addition to those two popular choices, I always keep some version of the following stocked and ready for a quick and easy protein source:
- Anchovies (my personal favorite) – we mostly use these for pizza, but also blend them into sauces for a salty umami flavor.
- Sardines – packed in olive oil. These are best served on crackers “as is” because when you try to mix them into a salad they usually just turn to mush.
- Smoked oysters! These sound super strange, but I actually really like the taste. No, they aren’t raw. Eat them straight out of the can or on crackers.
Meal Prep Canned Salmon
I’m referring to this as “meal prep” salmon salad because it’s the perfect make-ahead lunch option for busy weeks. If you use the 15-ounce can instead of the smaller ones (which this recipe does), you’ll have enough for several meals and can mix up your vehicle of choice. Most people seem to be in search of interesting packed lunch options besides sandwiches. This would be a great way to shake things up!
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Chopped vegetables (finely chopped works best here)
- Lemon, because lemon and fish are a match made in heaven!
- Capers for something interesting and brine-y
- Dressing to bring it all together. I used a mix of fabanaise (check this stuff out!), yogurt and mustard.
- Optional: fresh or dried herbs (fresh dill would be a fantastic addition)
This is so simple to pack up in food storage containers alongside some crackers and fruit for a balanced and tasty lunch! You could also wrap it up in lettuce leaves, spread it over toast, or scoop up with tortilla chips. Whatever you choose, I hope you love it.Print
Healthy Meal Prep Canned Salmon Salad
If you’ve been wanting to eat more fish but find it hard to include at dinner, look no further than this easy meal prep canned salmon recipe that incorporates colorful, crunchy carrots and cabbage plus a bunch of flavor enhancers that take it over the top.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
- Category: Mains
- 15 oz can salmon
- 1/3 cup finely diced carrots
- 1/4 cup finely chopped purple cabbage
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp full-fat Greek yogurt (or skyr)
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp capers
- Juice from half a lemon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- optional: fresh or dried herbs such as dill
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Get creative with different vegetable combinations and use whatever you have. Could also try cucumber, zucchini, avocado, celery, fennel or bell peppers!
- Serve with crackers (as shown above) on bread/tortillas or in lettuce cups.
Keywords: easy packed lunch ideas, canned fish recipes, wild salmon