Canned pink salmon is economical, long-lasting and versatile. A 3-ounce serving contains only 4.2 grams of total fat, less than 1 gram of saturated fat and is an excellent source of vitamin B-12, vitamin D, selenium and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It does, however, contain more cholesterol and sodium per serving than fresh pink salmon. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommends choosing canned brands that contain wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Pregnant or nursing women, women who plan to become pregnant and young children can safely consume up to 12 ounces of fish like canned salmon weekly.
Use It to Lighten Favorite Dishes
Lower the calorie and saturated fat content of meals by using drained, canned pink salmon as a substitute for chicken, beef or pork in your favorite dishes. Instead of topping tostadas and nachos with ground beef or filling enchiladas and burritos with shredded pork, swap in canned salmon. Use salmon, not ham or bacon, in omelet, quiche and frittata recipes. Spread a whole-wheat pizza crust with homemade low-sodium tomato sauce, fresh pesto or a creamy low-fat white sauce, and top it with shredded spinach, roasted garlic and chopped vegetables like onions and tomatoes along with flaked pieces of canned salmon.
Stir It into Grains or Pasta
For a quick lunch or dinner packed with nutrition, mix chunks of canned salmon into cold or hot cooked brown rice, wild rice, couscous, barley or whole-wheat pasta. Add in shredded carrots, diced celery or radishes, minced green onions, pitted Greek olives, drained capers and chunks of steamed or roasted vegetables such as peas, broccoli, bell peppers or asparagus. Let your personal taste -- and what you have available -- be your guide, adding as much of whatever ingredient you prefer. For additional fiber, add in cooked beans; cannellini or white beans pair well with salmon. Lightly toss the mixture with a homemade vinaigrette and season it with chopped fresh herbs.
Add It to the Soup Pot
Cookbook author Mark Bittman says you can prepare a healthy, basic seafood soup in under 30 minutes by bringing stock or broth, high-quality canned tomatoes along with their liquid and seasonings like garlic and chopped onions to a simmer in a large saucepan, then stirring in drained canned salmon. Heat the soup through and serve with a whole-grain bread and salad greens. Try adding canned salmon to bean soups and low-fat clam chowder or substituting the salmon for the poultry in chicken or turkey noodle soup.
Bake, Broil or Grill It
Salmon cakes are a go-to way for many home cooks to use canned salmon, but most are breaded, then pan-fried and served with creamy sauces, yielding a meal that can be high in both calories and fat. For a healthier option, combine canned salmon with whole-wheat breadcrumbs or a cooked whole grain like brown rice, your choice of spices or herbs, a liquid like salsa or barbecue sauce and an egg, if desired, then shape the mixture into patties that can be grilled, broiled or baked. Serve the salmon burgers on whole-wheat buns with your favorite burger toppings. Experiment with different flavors: For instance, use soy sauce, ginger and green onions in the salmon mixture for an Asian-inspired burger.
- CNN.com: Fishing for Fast, Easy Nutrition? Consider Canned
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch: Salmon
- American Heart Association: Fish 101
- Alaska Seafood: Entrees
- EatingWell: Delicious Canned Wild Salmon Recipes
- TheKitchn: 7 Ways to Eat Canned Salmon for Dinner
- Alaska Seafood: Sandwiches
- How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food; Mark Bittman
- Alaska Seafood: Soups
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Fish, Salmon, Pink, Canned, Drained Solids
Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.