So, last night I did something really smart. Wanna know what? I meal planned! What is it about the term “meal plan” that sounds so complicated and serious? It was really quite simple, and it was my way of starting this week on a healthy foot.
Since I’ve been testing some salmon recipes lately, I had a few portions of cooked salmon in the fridge. My first thought was to turn those leftovers into my Spring Salmon Salad. Y’all know how much I love chicken salad, and salmon salad is just another rendition. To honor the season, I’ve used peas and asparagus, along with sautéed kale and micro-greens for a little leafy nutrition. On a slice of whole grain toast, this dish is fiber-packed and ready to picnic, which, with Memorial Day coming up, also makes it a great recipe to whip up for your long weekend plans.
I love cooking local asparagus in the spring and it is a perfect compliment to salmon. And frozen peas? I mean, I love these all year round. I also love mayo all year round, so even though I want to eat healthfully, I’ll rarely give up my mayo. For a little added tang and creaminess, I also add sour cream to the sauce, but if you are going dairy free you could leave this out. Or, if you usually have yogurt in the fridge but not sour cream, use yogurt instead.
Truthfully, the funny thing about this recipe is that it is really quite versatile. It’s more of a formula than a recipe in that way. So making swaps is totally cool. Take the fresh herb, for example. I use parsley because I always have it in my fridge, but dill, chives, basil or even cilantro would all be equally delicious choices. Choose what’s in your garden, in fact!
I cook nearly everything I eat at home from scratch, and whenever I’m eating at my healthiest I’m always figuring out ways to layer in extra fresh veggies. Which is why in this recipe I sauté some kale to layer under the salmon. If you are not a fan of kale, use baby spinach instead. It still has those leafy-green benefits, but it’s more “user-friendly” if you will. As for the bread, this is also flexible. I like whole grain, high-fiber slices. But, a whole grain wrap or gluten-free variety would also be great swaps.
Admittedly, when I meal plan, I don’t have to worry about too many meals or too many mouths. I’m also totally good about eating leftovers, which means I can cook a big batch of a few things and eat all week. This week, I planned on a batch of this salmon salad plus a lentil and chickpea salad (coming later this week on the blog). Easy, peasy.
However, if I were meal planning a more extensive menu, I would start out by making a meal with seared salmon (perhaps paired with this creamy cauliflower alfredo pasta?) and I’d make extra so I could turn the leftovers into this “salad”. Since it’s a dish that’s great for lunch or snacking, it’s a meal that keeps on giving. My favorite way to meal plan!
Peas, asparagus, sautéed kale and micro-greens all piled high on a slice of whole grain toast, makes this dish fiber-packed and perfect for lunch, dinner, or even a picnic!
2–3 stalks of asparagus, sliced into 1/4” coins
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 slice whole grain or gluten-free bread
2 cups torn kale leaves, stems removed
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh herb – parsley, dill, chive or basil
2 tablespoons frozen peas
3 ounces cooked salmon, without skin
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Micro greens, optional
Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus “coins” and cook for 2 minutes. Strain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside on paper towels.
Set a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and warm. Once oil is hot, add bread slice. Cook until golden brown. Remove from pan and sprinkle with salt while warm. I like to cook only on one side, but you can cook the second side if desired.
Set saute pan back over medium heat. If it seems dry, add another drizzle of olive oil. Add kale and season with salt and pepper. Stir until wilted and tender, and still bright green. Remove from heat.
While bread and kale cook, mix the mayo, sour cream, red wine vinegar and fresh herb in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the peas and asparagus, then flake in the salmon.
To build the toast, arrange the kale on the crispy side of the bread. Scoop salmon salad on top, the add a bunch of micro greens, if using.