If your first thought was "ewww" when you read canned salmon, 1) good on you for still clicking the link to the article and 2) you need to check yourself because canned salmon is AMAZING. That's why it's this week's ViTL Pantry Staple.
On top of providing you with bomb.com recipes and super duper educational articles, we're starting a new series this month called ViTL Pantry Staples.... All the things we keep in the pantry that we couldn't live without. Or couldn't live as awesomely without. And we're starting off with a real winner: cat food! I mean, canned salmon.
Full disclaimer: YES, it does kind of smell like cat food...but so does canned tuna and most people don't bat an eye at that.
Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that Fancy Feast.
Extra points if you know what that's from.
Even though I may or may not eat canned salmon plain at times (ewwww, grosssss, whaaaaat - get it all out of your systems, people), with a little doctoring up, salmon from a can or pouch can be an amazingly delicious and easy source of protein.
We always keep 1 or 2 or 15 pouches/cans in the pantry because sometimes you open the fridge and realize you've put off that grocery store trip for much too long. Orrrr, you're packing lunch for work and need to prep something super easy. Or you're low on protein and don't want to cook chicken/eat your 1000th bite of Greek yogurt. Are you picking up what I'm laying down?
No moar chicken plz.
The first key to delish canned salmon is adding SPICES. Think of your plain can of salmon as a blank canvas. And then go crazy. I like to go crazy with:
- smoked paprika
- cayenne pepper
- chili powder
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- Italian seasoning
- black pepper
- curry powder
Not all at once though, ya'll. I'm not that weird. If you promise to keep reading, I might even provide a recipe at the end.
Salmon + mustard + Sriracha + celery. Mmmm.
The second key is CRUNCH. Most people aren't down with that full-on mushy texture (and if you are, good job for not being picky), which is why you should add some veggies (besides the fact that vegetables are healthy and should always be a part of a normal diet, but whatever). I like to add:
- diced carrots
Again - not all at once, it just depends on what I have on hand. Usually I have carrots in the fridge. The rest is variable.
Third key is CONDIMENTS. Condiments add more flavor and more importantly, moisture. No one wants to die choking on dry salmon. Rather than mayo, I go for:
- plain Greek yogurt (YES, really - you won't be able to tell the difference once you have a bunch of other flavors in there)
- mustard (yellow, dijon, brown, spiced, you name it)
- BBQ sauce
- hot sauce
- adobo sauce (+ chipotle peppers if you're daring!)
Fourth optional key is CARBS. Depending on your preferences you may or may not want to add some delicious carbies to your salmon. The easiest and tastiest way to do this (according to me and verified by Scott) is with garbanzo beans/chickpeas. Unlike other beans, they hold up with vigorous mixing and add a nice, solid texture. OR you could just serve your canned salmon mixture on top of a bed of whole grains like farro or rice. OR between 2 slices of bread. The world is your oyster.
That's it! Not too crazy, right? I promise with the right spices, condiments, and veggies your canned salmon will turn out delicious. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. If you're not feeling overly creative, check out the recipe below! It's my fave way to prep canned salmon, although each week is fairly different.
Smoky n Spicy Salmon Salad
1 pouch or can of wild-caught boneless/skinless salmon
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp Sriracha
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 handful baby carrots, chopped
1 large dollop plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
2 cups salad greens
In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except for the greens. Once well-mixed, serve on top of salad greens and enjoy!