Avocado Salmon RecipeApril 20, 2010 Written by JP [Font too small?]
When I consult with a client about nutrition, I generally ask them to keep a one-week food diary. This not only gives me an idea about their typical nutrient intake, but also yields a seemingly unrelated point: most people tend to eat a relatively limited selection of foods on a regular basis. This is important to note when asking someone to eliminate specific foods from their menu plan. In essence, this strategy shows my clients that we can put together a delicious and practical list of meals and snacks that is more varied than their normal diet. One of the best and simplest ways to do this is to mix and match healthy recipes.
In the Healthy Fellow test kitchen the issue of combining foods involves a three-step process: 1) I review my list of the most nutrient dense foods; 2) try to group together two or more of these ingredients in a single recipe; 3) make sure that the recipe is easy to make and pleasing to the taste buds.
With this strategy in mind I decided to combine several super foods that I think most people would benefit from having more of: almonds, avocado, eggs, salmon and yogurt. Bringing all of these elements together lead to the creation of an hors d’oeuvres or snack that is both health promoting and surprising for the uninitiated.
The two focal points of the recipe are avocado and salmon. Avocado is a wonderful source of antioxidants (carotenoids), dietary fiber, healthy fat (mono-unsaturated fat), minerals (potassium) and vitamins (vitamin K). This combination of macro and micronutrients lends itself well to the promotion of a healthier cardiovascular system and a leaner waistline. (1,2)
The good news about fatty fish, such as salmon, continues to be one of the most consistent trends in modern nutritional analysis. In the past few months alone, high fish and/or salmon consumption has been linked to lower incidences of: heart attacks, heart failure, hypertension and inflammation (C-reactive protein). In addition, eating more fish appears to increase the levels of adiponectin, a hormone that “has insulin-sensitizing, anti-atherogenic and anti-inflammatory properties”. Higher adiponectin concentrations have been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. (3,4,5,6,7)
The selection of seafood is also of the utmost importance because of the real danger of heavy metal and pesticide contamination in certain varieties of deep sea and fresh water dwellers. Fortunately, wild Alaskan salmon is among the safest seafood choices for both the body and the environment.
- The Environmental Defense Fund lists wild Alaskan salmon as an “Eco Best” seafood option.
- The Monterey Bay Aquarium classifies wild-caught Alaskan salmon as a “Best Choice”
- The US Environmental Protection Agency singles out salmon as one of the lowest sources of mercury. (8,9,10)
Smoked Salmon Bites
almond pancakes (sub for buckwheat blini)
wild Alaskan smoked salmon
1 ripe, organic avocado
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt (full fat)
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
organic black pepper (to taste)
chopped chives (as a topping)
NutraSalt (to taste)
* Nutritional Information – Calories: 240. Protein: 13 grams. Fat: 18 grams. Fiber: 3 grams. “Effective Carbohydrates”: 2 grams.
* Based on one 4 inch almond pancake w/ a heaping tablespoon of the avocado crema and 1 ounce of naturally smoked salmon.
The recipe for the almond pancakes can be found here (link). The crema is easily made in a food processor, blender or with an immersion blender. Simply cube the avocado, add lemon juice, seasonings and yogurt and blend until smooth. Sprinkle chopped chives on top after each “bite” is assembled. The splash of green on top of the crema and salmon makes for added visual appeal.
I use Greek yogurt because it’s thicker and more nutrient dense than traditional yogurt. If you can’t find Greek yogurt in your neck of the woods, simply strain some conventional yogurt using a coffee filter. The straining process is the primary reason why Greek yogurt contains fewer carbohydrates and more protein than conventional yogurt. The liquid whey which is removed during the processing of this cultured dairy product is responsible for the aforementioned nutritional shift.
Taste isn’t the only reason to include more probiotic-rich yogurt in your diet. A study appearing in the April 2010 edition of the journal Nutrition determined that certain yogurts made with specific lactic acid bacteria are capable of improving constipation, lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and supporting liver function. But the digestive benefits of yogurt don’t end there. It’s fair to say that yogurt appears to be an excellent GI modulating agent that can also improve diarrhea and promote a feeling of hunger satisfaction. Not bad for an ingredient that also imparts a decadent sense of richness typically associated with heavy cream. (11,12,13)
Earlier in this column I mentioned the concept of mixing and matching healthy ingredients. The almond pancakes that I’ve used as a vehicle for the toppings have a mild taste and pleasing texture. If you top them with fruit preserves, they satisfy the sensation that you’d hope to have in a breakfast treat. However if use them as a vehicle for savory elements, the pancakes can easily take the place of crackers or mini-toast. The added beauty of this substitution is that these almond alternatives are gluten-free, low in carbohydrates and richer in nutrients than their conventional counterparts. That’s why this recipe provides a delicious and guilt-free option that can be used at dinner parties and as a regular snack to keep around the house.
Tags: Avocados, Fish, Nuts
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes