This simple meal of salmon, quinoa, and veggies is an uncomplicated way to get mega nutrition.
Getting more omega-3 fatty acids is a great goal for most people since many of us miss the mark when it comes to getting the minimum recommended daily amount of 250-500 mg per day.
And if you’re looking for something new besides the largely nutrition-less white rice, why not give quinoa a try if you’re not familiar with it. It’s super easy to prepare and you’ll no doubt enjoy the nutty flavour.
Although people can cook and eat quinoa seeds in a similar way to most grains, the quinoa plant itself is more similar to beetroots and spinach. People can eat both the seeds and leaves of this versatile, nutritious plant.
Although there are over 120 varieties of quinoa, the most common ones found in grocery stores are white quinoa, red quinoa, and black quinoa, or sometimes there solid together as a tri-colour quinoa blend.
Naturally gluten-free, high in protein, magnesium, potassium, folate, fiber and more, quinoa is gaining in popularity as never before. Including quinoa in your diet is easy.
One-cup (185 g) cooked has
- 222 calories
- 40 g carbs
- 5.2 g fiber
- 320 mg potassium
- 280 mg phosphorus
- 120 mg magnesium
- 78 mcg folate
Although it is really a seed, it cooks like a grain and can be substituted in most recipes where other grains are used like quinoa pudding instead of rice pudding or in tabbouleh instead of couscous.
Sockeye salmon, also called red salmon, kokanee salmon, or blueback salmon is a species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers that empty into it. This species is a Pacific salmon that is primarily red in hue during spawning.
It owes its reddish colour to astaxanthin, red algae that it feeds on. The astaxanthin accumulates in the flesh of the fish and when you eat it, you get all the amazing health benefits of this very unique carotenoid. Astaxanthin is a very potent antioxidant that benefits your heart, eyes, brains, and more.
Salmon is best known for its high content of omega-3 fats which have one of the best track records when it comes to broad health benefits.
But that’s not all, if any food deserves the label “superfood”, it’s salmon. As much as I love spinach and kale, salmon not only has way more nutrients per serving, the nutrients are much more efficiently digested and absorbed compared to nutrients found in plant foods.
A 100 g (3.5 oz) serving of sockeye salmon has:
- 153 calories
- 7.5 g fat
- 1424 mg (1.42 g) omega 3 fats EPA, DPA and DHA
- 22 g protein
- 192 IU vitamin A
- 16.7 mcg (668 IU ) vitamin D3
- 7.8 mcg vitamin B12
- 8 mg vitamin B3 (niacin)
- 27 mg magnesium
- 240 mg phosphorus
- 360 mg potassium (as much as a small banana)
- 1 mg zinc
- 30 mcg selenium
Getting more long-chain omega 3 fats is very important. Not be confused with the shorter chain omega 3, alpha-linolenic acid found abundantly in meats, walnuts, flax, hemp, soybeans, and chia which don’t have the same potent health benefits of EPA, DPA, and DHA.
We tend to eat too many omega 6 fats due to the prevalent use of grain and seed oils in food production. These include corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower seed oil, and cottonseed oil. Getting too many omega 6s throws of the important omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. The best way to improve this ratio is to consume more omega 3-rich foods like sockeye salmon.
Quick Cured Sake Salmon with Quinoa
- 1 1 pound, 454 g salmon fillet
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar divided
- 1 1/2 cup sake divided
- 1/2 tsp chili paste
- 2 garlic cloves mince
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 1/2 tsp olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh pepper
Place salmon, skin side down, on a plate. Combine 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon sugar; rub salt mixture evenly over skinned sides of salmon. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 2 hours.
Remove plastic wrap from salmon. Rinse salmon under cold water; pat dry with paper towel. Combine 1 cup sake, remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, chili paste, and garlic in a zip-top plastic bag. Add salmon; seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.
Place quinoa in a fine sieve; place sieve in a large bowl. Cover quinoa with water. Using your hands, rub grains together for 30 seconds; rinse and drain. Repeat procedure twice. Drain well.
Heat butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add pepper, carrot, and onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Add quinoa; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup water, remaining 1/2 cup sake, juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Stir in parsley. Keep warm.
Preheat oven to 450° F.
Remove salmon from bag, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 7 minutes).
Brush skinned sides of salmon with remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil. Heat an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat or BBQ. Add salmon to pan, skin side up; cook 3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn salmon over, and baste with reduced marinade. Place pan in oven, and bake at 450° F for 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Serve immediately with quinoa.
Doug Cook RDN is a Toronto based integrative and functional nutritionist and dietitian with a focus on digestive, gut, mental health. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Source & photo credit: Cooking Light Magazine