Recently, I wrote about my love of canned tuna. This week, I popped open another popular canned fish: salmon.

One of my goals in recent weeks has been to cut back on my grocery shopping to comply with social distancing directives. To that end, I've stocked up on more frozen fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, but I've also turned to more canned goods.

By necessity, I've become more flexible – picking up this instead of that and expanding my repertoire – as I reach for foods that are available, even if I am less comfortable with them. Canned salmon was one of those foods.

I've long tried to work farmed and wild-caught salmon into my diet. I like the flavor, how quickly it cooks and that it's so good for us. The fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to lower blood pressure and triglycerides as well less inflammation.

Salmon has the omega-3 eicosatetraenoic acid, or EPA, which is good for the skin, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, which supports brain function. A 3 1/2-ounce serving of salmon provides 20 grams of protein along with B vitamins, potassium, selenium and vitamins B12 and D, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

So rather than popping an omega-3 supplement, why not get the full benefits from a whole food?

The ideal way would be to eat fresh wild-caught salmon, but that can be pricey and sometimes difficult to find.

Having a few cans of salmon on hand makes it much easier to add fish to your diet a couple of times a week, as recommended by the American Heart Association. (The FDA recommends varying the kinds of fish one eats, because some fish can be high in mercury, but salmon is one it OKs eating two to three times a week.)

Successful experimentation with substitutions has been one of the kitchen experiences I've enjoyed in recent weeks.

Try this Quick Lentil Salmon Salad that delivers 37 grams of protein, if you've got salmon on hand. If you have tuna, it's tasty with that fish, too. The flavorful vinaigrette is one to try on other cold dishes as well.

Quick Lentil Salmon Salad

Active: 30 minutes | Total: 50 minutes

4 servings

This healthful salad gets its ease from canned salmon. Once the lentils are cooked until tender and cooled, the rest of the ingredients come together in just minutes, including a flavorful vinaigrette.

Make Ahead: Lentils can be made ahead and refrigerated for several days.

Storage Notes: Store the salad in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Ingredients

For the lentils

1 cup (7 ounces) brown lentils

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

For the dressing

2 cloves garlic, grated or minced (about 2 teaspoons)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, plus more to taste

For the salad

15 ounces canned salmon, drained, or 15-ounce cooked salmon fillet

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup medium dice carrot (about 1 large carrot)

4 lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Steps

Make the lentils: In a medium saucepan, add the lentils, the 1/2 cup of chopped onion, the bay leaf and oregano. Add enough water to cover the lentils by a scant 1 inch and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well and spread the lentils on a large flat platter or rimmed baking sheet. Let cool about 10 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, make the dressing by mashing garlic and salt into a paste with the side of a chef's knife (or a fork). In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mashed garlic, thyme, paprika and pepper. Taste and season with more salt and/or pepper as desired.

Remove any skin and/or bones from salmon, if necessary. Transfer the salmon to a large bowl and flake it into pieces. Add the 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion, carrot and 3 tablespoons dressing; gently toss to coat.

Add the lentils to the remaining dressing; gently stir to combine.

Divide the lentils among 4 bowls, top with the salmon salad. Serve chilled or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

Nutrition | Calories: 172; Total Fat: 19 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 65 mg; Sodium: 200 mg; Carbohydrates: 32 g; Dietary Fiber: 14 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 37 g.

Adapted from CookingLight.com.

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