This week I’m sharing with you a recipe that is a healthy spin on an old family classic. Gluten free and paleo-friendly, you probably have all the ingredients in your fridge right now for a last-minute dinner. The recipe also doubles well for a Meal Prep Sunday favorite!
On Sundays, I enjoy setting some time aside to plan out my meals. I always make my grocery list after I pick what dishes I’ll be cooking up along with some snack ideas so I have every ingredient on-hand throughout the week. This recipe for healthier salmon cakes is special in that it probably only requires 1 special ingredient to put on my grocery list à canned wild-caught salmon! Pantry-stable and more affordable than fresh salmon from the seafood counter, canned wild-caught salmon is a great protein option packed with healthy fats for a double-punch. This is a great main entrée to slide into meal plan rotation when you want to cut down on that weekly grocery expense without skimping on nutrition or taste.
Growing up, my mom would reach for that can of salmon for a quick and easy weeknight recipe. Warm and delicious, I still consider them one of my favorite meals of childhood especially with a side of green peas and lots of mustard. What a combination.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much to tweak a traditional salmon cake to a healthier version. First and foremost, you’ll want to get a high-quality fish which means that your fish should be sustainably sourced and wild-caught. Classic mayonnaise and breadcrumbs are substituted with an avocado-oil based mayo and ground flax to keep the recipe clean while providing creating a good base to keep the cakes together during cooking.
My favorite way to cook these up is to use my Lodge Cast Iron Skillet (linked at the bottom of the page). First, I like to sear the top, bottom and edges. Next, I will finish them up in the oven to cook them throughout. Don’t have a Lodge? No sweat! Use your favorite nonstick skillet. I have also tried cooking the cakes completely on the stovetop, but I have found it’s much less babysitting to just sear them and pop in the oven to finish out the cooking process while doing other things.
Have you ever used canned salmon before? If not, then you may be in for a surprise the first time you pop your can open! Most cans come with the bones and skin included with the salmon meat. No worries, the bones and skin are perfectly safe to consume and actually boost the nutritional intake (hello, calcium and Omega-3)! Most of the bones will “crumble” during the cooking process and the skin will be unrecognizable in the formed cakes so no need to remove them. You will want to first drain the excess liquid using the lid in order to get the best outcome of the recipe below. Enjoy and drop me a comment below if you cook these up!
Paleo-Friendly Salmon Cakes
- 1-15 ounce can Wild-caught (Atlantic) Salmon
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 TB ground flax
- 1 TB avocado oil mayo
- 2 TB Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1/3 cup shredded or finely diced carrots
- ½ TB chopped fresh parsley (omit if you don’t have any)
- 1 tsp dried dill
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Zest of 1/4 lemon
- 1 TB fresh squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, mix in first 5 ingredients as listed. Stir in the chopped onion, carrots, parsley, spices, herbs and lemon until well mixed. Separate the bowl into five parts and form cakes about 1” thick. Bring burner to medium-heat and prep skillet with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil, placing salmon cakes around the edge of the skillet. Flip after 6-8 minutes, or until bottom is adequately seared enough so that the cake will not fall apart upon flipping. Cook other side for 6-8 minutes. While searing, prep a 9” x 13” oven safe dish with nonstick spray. Carefully transfer cakes to dish and let cook for 15-20 minutes.
Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon. Best served warm once out of oven.
Reinvent your leftovers by serving warm or cold leftover salmon cakes on arugula or mixed salad greens with diced cucumber, grape tomatoes and fresh parsley, dressed with lemon vinaigrette – 2 lemons, juiced (about 1/2 cup) plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil. Store vinaigrette in an air-tight mason jar in the fridge, put on the counter about an hour or so before you want to make your salad. I like my dressing a bit on the tart side. If this is too tart for you then you can always add 1-2 teaspoons of honey to cut the lemon’s bite.
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