Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Canned salmon can be an easy, economical and healthy way to spruce up a busy weeknight dinner schedule.
When I ask clients about fresh and canned fish intake, salmon is rarely on their list. I think it’s partially because of the unknown of what to do with it. “Is it like tuna? Do I make it with mayo?” And for those who enjoy fresh salmon, the idea of it canned is not something that’s at the top of their grocery list.
But it should be. I won’t go into all the health benefits of salmon, both fresh and canned, here (because I have here) but in general, salmon tout high levels of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and protein.
Is Canned Salmon as Healthy as Fresh?
According to Consumer Reports, a USDA study revealed slightly higher levels of omega-3s in canned pink and red salmon than found in fresh salmon. An additional health benefit of canned salmon over fresh, is the amount of calcium in canned salmon. (That is, if you eat the tiny bones…which are completely edible!) A 3.5 ounce serving of canned salmon has almost as much calcium as a cup of milk. (If you would like to cook more fresh fish at home, but are unsure of whether or not you’re cooking it right, see my article on cooking fish here.)
a USDA study revealed slightly higher levels of omega-3s in canned pink and red salmon than found in fresh salmon
Which Canned Salmon is Healthiest?
There are two types of canned salmon. Sockeye (Red salmon) or Chum (Pink Salmon). Both are usually caught in the Pacific Ocean (wild) and not from the Atlantic ocean (which are farmed). (A note on farmed salmon – the USDA posted the results of a study that concluded that people who eat farm-raised salmon can increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids to the levels that help reduce the risk of heart disease. (See here, if you’d like)
Red salmon is prized for its firm, bright flesh and is usually more expensive than pink. Most canned salmon is not red salmon. (It’s more often frozen.)
Pink salmon has a milder taste and softer texture. Pink salmon is usually sold as frozen fillets, in pre-packaged meals and canned salmon.
Just as fresh wild salmon is considered safer, canned wild salmon is, as well. The canned salmon varieties that are lower in pesticides and PCBs are:
Alaskan pink salmon
Sockeye / Red salmon
And the best benefit of all?
It’s shelf stable! It’s so much easier to store cans of food in my cupboard or basement, than making sure I have room in my freezer. (And there’s never been a better time to use these pantry staples as now, during the COVID 19 quarantine.)
So, What Else Can You Make with Canned Salmon?
Salmon with pasta
Salmon pasta salad
Flaked Canned Salmon over greens
And, my fav….salmon burgers!
So, to the Salmon Burgers. They’re quick and easy, modifiable to your taste and can be made on the stovetop, the oven or barbecue!
Quick, Moist Salmon Burgers
Makes 4 burgers
1 – 14 oz can salmon, drained and flaked Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup bread crumbs (or panko)
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 large egg (or one flax egg)
¼ cup plain yogurt minus 1 Tablespoon
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. (If using a flax egg, add 1 tablespoon of ground flaxmeal with 3 tablespoons warm water to a bowl and let sit 5 minutes.)
2. Add all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix to combine. Use your hands to form into patties ½ inch thick
3. Heat 2 Tablespoons in a pan on medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook 3 to 5 minutes on each side until browned.
4. Transfer burgers on a whole wheat bun with your favorite toppings or on top of a bed of greens.
Nutrition Facts: Per burger
Calories: 252, fat 10g, saturated fat: 2g, polyunsaturated fat: 4g, monounsaturated fat: 2g, cholesterol: 136mg, sodium: 597mg, cholesterol: 13g, protein: 28g.