Cook to Get Cut: 5 Healthy Salmon Recipes That Taste Great

When you’re looking to get lean, exercise is only half the equation. You can do all the crunches in the world, but the foods you eat are every bit as important. As part of our Cook to Get Cut series, we’ll show you how to use some of the healthiest eats to sculpt your physique without sacrificing flavor. Getting fit never tasted so good.

Most Americans are well aware that medical professionals want them to eat more seafood. They might not know just how much they should be downing, though. The American Heart Association said folks should see fish on their plates at least two times every week. This is especially true for fatty fish, like salmon, because it’s brimming with omega-3 fatty acids. These fats get a lot of mention in the media without much explanation as to why they’re so wonderful. It all comes down to keeping your ticker working properly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death among men in the U.S., responsible for one out of every four fatalities. Some of it’s due to lack of physical activity, but diet plays a pretty huge role as well. While individual studies can sometimes be misleading, an analysis from 2012 revealed just how many indicated increased fish consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Even if your heart is fine, salmon can do your body a world of good. Men’s Fitness said that fish is full of satisfying protein and can help discourage muscle breakdown, making it a great choice for those putting in time at the gym. Start eating your way to a slimmer shape and a healthier heart with these five fantastic recipes. With dishes this tasty, salmon might just become the new chicken.

1. Smoked Salmon and Egg Sandwich

breakfast sandwich, poached egg, salmon

Source: iStock

An egg sandwich makes a mighty fine breakfast. Next time, replace the bacon with some smoked salmon for a taste that’s just as delicious but a lot healthier. Cooking Light’s open-faced sandwich gets tons of flavor from a dill-flecked cream cheese, the smoky fish, and some spicy arugula. A perfectly poached egg makes a great topper.

Though this recipe calls for reduced-fat cream cheese, going with a full-fat version is perfectly fine. You’re using such a small amount, that the difference in calories is pretty negligible. If you’re extra hungry, top your toast with two eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup ⅓-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • ⅜ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 (1-ounce) slices whole-grain bread, toasted
  • 1 cup fresh arugula
  • 4 ounces smoked wild salmon
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions: Bring water and vinegar to a simmer in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add eggs, one at a time. Simmer eggs 3 minutes for runny yolks, or longer for more cooked eggs.

Combine cheese, onion, dill and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Spread 1 tablespoon cheese mixture over each slice of bread. Top each with ¼ cup arugula and 1 ounce of salmon. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon, blot dry, and top each sandwich with an egg. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.

2. Crunchy Wasabi Salmon with Lime

Dry Spice Wasabi Peas

Source: iStock

Wasabi peas have one of the worst nutritional reputations among foods since they’re so often associated with uncontrollable snacking and way too much booze. The real problem with the sweet, spicy, and crunchy eats is portion. They’re so addictive, it can be easy to go overboard. Epicurious’ snack food-coated salmon lets you enjoy the taste without overindulging. A quickly sautéed snap pea and cabbage side echoes the flavors, and provides you with tons of other nutrients.

Cabbage doesn’t get nearly as much love as it should. One cup of the raw veggie has just 22 calories, plus 1.5 grams of fiber. It’s also loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. Pair those benefits with the goodness of salmon, and a you’re in for a super-powered supper.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup wasabi peas
  • 4 (8-ounce) salmon fillets with skin
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedges

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Blend wasabi peas in a food processor until ground, but still coarse. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange salmon, skin-side down on baking sheet. Season with salt. Press wasabi peas onto tops of each fillet. Sprinkle grated lime peel over top, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake until salmon is just opaque in center, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and peas. Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer salmon fillets to plates. Drizzle with lime juice, and mound cabbage-pea mixture alongside. Serve with lime wedges.

3. Salmon Nuggets with Sweet Potato Chips

breaded fish, sweet potato fries, fish and chips

Source: iStock

When you’re in the mood for a crispy coating, beer-battered fish and chips is pretty hard to beat. But too much of the deep-fried dish isn’t going to do much for your health. Satisfy your craving without wreaking havoc on your diet by making BBC Good Food’s baked version featuring salmon and sweet potatoes. You’ll get plenty of satisfying crunch with a clever coating made from corn cereal. Be sure to leave the skin on the sweet potatoes to get the most fiber, vitamins, potassium, and iron.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into fries
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more
  • 1¾ ounces cornflakes
  • 1 medium egg
  • 9 ounces salmon fillets, skinned, and bones removed
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Cooked peas

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with oil and salt. Spread out and bake 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, crush cereal in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Transfer to a bowl. Beat the egg in another bowl. Cut salmon fillet into pieces, and season with salt. Mix the paprika and cornstarch, and sprinkle all over the fish. Toss to coat. Dip fish pieces into egg, then into crushed cereal, pressing to help coating adhere.

Remove fries from oven. Push to edges of tray, flipping to second side. Arrange fish in the center. Cook 8 minutes longer, or until fish is cooked. Serve fish and sweet potatoes with peas.

4. Asian Salmon Burgers with Avocado and Hoisin Sauce

mashed avocado

Source: iStock

It can be quite a challenge to feed a huge appetite without going overboard on fat and calories. For a meal that will fill you up without filling you out, Two Healthy Kitchens’ Asian-influenced salmon burgers are a great choice. The patties are full of flavor thanks to some ginger, hoisin sauce, and cilantro. Served on a whole-wheat bun with a creamy avocado topping, these sandwiches are completely satisfying.

When making the patties, be sure to start with salmon cut into 1-inch cubes. Anything smaller will break down in the food processor too quickly, leaving you with a mushy, pasty texture. Pulse the ingredients just until they’re combined, and you’ll get great results.

Ingredients:

 Patties

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • ¼ avocado, diced, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Avocado topping

  • ¾ avocado, diced
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch black pepper

To serve

  • 4 whole-grain sandwich buns
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Sliced tomato
  • Hoisin sauce

Directions: Place salmon, cilantro, green onion, hoisin sauce, ¼ avocado, ginger, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is combined and salmon is coarsely ground, but not too fine. Shape mixture into four ½-inch-thick patties, and set aside on a plate. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.

Preheat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sesame oil, swirling to coat. Cook patties, covered, 4 minutes. Flip and cook 3 minutes longer, or until salmon is just cooked through.

Meanwhile mash remaining avocado with salt and pepper. Serve burgers on buns with avocado mixture, tomato, lettuce, and additional hoisin sauce.

5. Salmon with Mango Salsa

salmon, mango salsa

Source: iStock

You don’t need tons of time or ingredients to turn out a stunning seafood dish. This simple salmon with fruit salsa from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food will be on the table in just 20 minutes. All you have to do is broil the fish and toss together a topping made with red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro, and mango. Top the fish with the salsa, and serve with some spinach and brown rice for a complete meal.

In addition to tasting great in this salsa, mango will also give you plenty of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. It could also be the key to keeping your digestive system healthy. A recent study found adults who consumed high levels of colorful fruits and vegetables, including mango, had a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Ingredients:

  • ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, and diced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets

Directions: In a medium bowl, combine onion, jalapeño, mango, chopped cilantro, lime juice, mango, and cucumber. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat broiler. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat source until fillets are opaque, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve fish with salsa and cilantro sprigs.

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