If you're like me and don't often find room in your grocery budget for fresh wild salmon, you should bookmark today's recipe for Wild Salmon Salad. It's very inexpensive, you can keep the ingredients on hand in the pantry and fridge until you're ready to make it, and it's extremely versatile. It's sort of like tuna salad, only with more of the good fats that your toddler needs and with a lot more flavor.
The current advice for fish is for little ones to have 2-3 child-size portions per week of lower mercury fish like shrimp, salmon, light canned tuna, tilapia, catfish, or cod. Not only is fish a good source of protein, but it contains DHA, a fatty acid that's a structural element of both the brain and the eye. Our bodies can't make it on their own, so we need to get it from what we eat. And while you can get some in fatty seeds and nuts like walnuts and flaxseeds, salmon is a really great source.
My whole family loves fresh wild salmon, but honestly, it's too expensive for us to have it on any sort of a regular basis. Maybe it's a little more affordable if you live closer to where salmon live, but here in the Midwest, it's pretty price prohibitive. Instead, I usually buy large cans of wild salmon from either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods—or the smaller cans from Wild Planet—to make salmon cakes or this salmon salad. Each can is less than $4—and makes about 4 servings—and is packed with the same nutrients in the fresh fish.
You'll want to buy the kind with bones since they add a lot of calcium. They crush really easily, so no one will notice them in there once you make this recipe. (It took me a little time to get used to the idea of eating the bones, so if it all sounds odd, you aren't alone!) I like to make this salmon salad in my food processor so the veggies get combined well, but you could also do it by hand if you prefer.
Try this easy meal component with crackers, spread onto bread or toast, with steamed carrots for dipping, or served in a pita pocket. Some little ones might even like to eat it with a spoon!
Wild Salmon Salad
My husband makes a lot of relish during the summer and I like to add it to this recipe since it adds a nice sweetness and a touch of salt. You don't have to add it, but if you don't, do add a little salt to taste. This stores really well in the fridge, so it's a good recipe to make ahead of time and pull out through the week.
Serves 4-6 (depending on how many adults and kids are eating)
- 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 cup loosely packed spinach
- 14.5 ounce can wild Alaskan salmon (with bones), drained
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon relish (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (optional)
- Add the carrot and the spinach to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse just to grind. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Store chilled for up to 5 days in an airtight container and serve with crackers, bread, toast, bell pepper strips, steamed carrots, or another favorite dipper.
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Wild Salmon Cakes