Sometimes, it’s just too hot to turn on the stove. The key is to stock up your kitchen with “healthy convenience food” that doesn’t require any heat, such as fresh produce, canned beans, canned fish and small boxes of pre-cooked legumes found in the prepared produce section.
You can throw together a hearty meal in minutes without breaking a sweat. Sure, you will pay an extra dollar or two for steamed lentils, for instance, but if having a well-stocked fridge keeps you from hitting the drive-thru even once, then you’ll come ahead financially (and nutritionally).
Canned salmon is one of my favourite healthy fast-foods. When it goes on sale, you can stock up the pantry with a few cans of it, making wild salmon downright inexpensive.
Not only is canned salmon full of protein (12 g grams of protein per 2 ounces of fish) and omega-3 fatty acids, but it actually has more calcium than its fresh counterpart, since the small bones stay in the meat (and go unnoticed; remove any large bones, however).
Pair the salmon with beans or legumes plus some chopped fresh vegetables and vinaigrette, and you’ve got a dish hearty enough for a summertime supper. And it will keep nicely in the fridge, so you can graze on this fiber and protein filled salad for a day or two no problem.
Today’s recipe, a Lentil and Salmon Salad with Smoky Mustard Dressing, was inspired by my favourite bagel toppings ‚Äî red onion, tomato, capers, salmon and a hint of smokiness in the vinaigrette, which elevates the canned salmon into a little wink at lox. The flavours marry into a surprisingly complex dish, never hinting at the fact that this recipe is of the 5-minute-dump-stir-and-serve variety.
LENTIL AND SALMON SALAD WITH SMOKY MUSTARD DRESSING
Start to finish: 10 minutes
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 medium red onion, chopped
3 tablespoons capers
8 ounces canned wild salmon, large bones and skin removed
1/4 cup lightly chopped dill leaves
1/3 cup Lemon-Dijon vinaigrette, recipe follows
Salt and pepper
Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette:2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mix (or layer) the lentils, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, capers and salmon in a large salad bowl or on a platter. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, smoked paprika, lemon juice, vinegar and water until smooth. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to make an emulsion.
Season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/3 cup of the dressing over the salad. Top with the fresh dill leaves. Toss and enjoy. Serve on leafy greens, if desired. Will keep for two days in refrigerator, in covered glass container.