Salmon Pasta Salad Revisited

Every July 4th my mother would make what she called simply, salmon salad. It was a mayonnaise based pasta salad with canned salmon, crab and baby shrimp. I made one and put it on this site last year or the year before with a vinaigrette base. So now that I’ve found a vegan mayonnaise I can eat that doesn’t contain eggs or soybean oil, I decided this year to update this salad because it’s one of my very favorites. My mother always served blueberry muffins with it but I figure who needs all those added carbs! so I just serve the salad with the addition of more vegetables than just the onion and celery my mom used. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do. By the way, feel free to use a 16 ounce can of salmon, cleaned if you don’t have access to the fresh!

Bring an 8 quart pot of water to the boil, salt the water generously and add:

4 ounces gluten-free shells (you can use elbows or any other shape but my mom always used shells)*

When the pasta is about 2 minutes from being cooked add:

1-2 cups frozen peas (unless you have wonderful fresh peas!)

When the pasta is cooked, drain into a large colander and rinse with cold water until cool. I will often fill the pot I cooked the pasta in with cold water (it takes several times before the pot cools off) and then place the colander in it after I’ve sprayed the heck out of the pasta with cold water. I leave it in there for only about 5 minutes before it’s cool enough to add to the mixing bowl. While the pasta boils (or the water), heat an 8″ skillet over medium high heat with:

1 teaspoon olive oil

Add skin side down:

8 ounce (or so) salmon filet

Cook the salmon for 3-5 minutes on the skin side and then turn. Note, if it doesn’t come right off the skillet, it’s not ready to turn. Cook on the meat side for 2-3 minutes and then flip again to the skin side. Cover and reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon steak. Remove from heat, uncover and move the salmon to a plate to cool. When cool, flake with a fork and add to the vegetable mixture.

In a large mixing bowl (I actually use a 2 gallon plastic container), combine:

3-5 scallions, sliced on the diagonal

5-6 stalks of celery diced

1 medium, peeled and diced (and I also seed mine) cucumber

8 ounces of crab meat

8 ounces of baby shrimp (if you can eat them, I can’t so I leave them out)

In a smaller bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups vegan mayonnaise

2 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

NOTE: I had a half bag of snow peas left over from the Moo Goo Guy Pan so I destringed them, cut them in half (or thirds if really long) and added them with the peas to the boil – delicious! Some diced jicama or water chestnuts would also go very nicely in this salad.

Whisk to combine and then pour over the vegetables after adding the pasta, peas, and fish in the mixing bowl. Stir to combine and then cool in the refrigerator for about an hour to let all the flavors meld. I like to serve it over some lettuce or as I did now, pea shoots. Serves 4-6.

*Whole Foods makes wonderful organic chickpea shells. Only 37 grams of carbs per serving which is quite good for pasta, along with 21 grams of protein. And note, we only use 2 servings instead of 4 so it cuts down on the total carbs per serving even more.

Orange and Maple Grilled Salmon

This marinade smells wonderful! And what’s not to smell great with fresh orange juice and maple syrup along with some fresh grated ginger. Be sure to have your butcher scale the fish so that you can cut the skin into triangle cuts before cooking without serving scales, not very edible. Makes 2 servings.

Whisk in a small bowl:

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or you can use 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)

Salt and pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and just a shake of ground pepper

Pour the marinade into a gallon food storage bag and add the fish. Let the fish sit in the marinade for at least a half hour in the refrigerator. Remove from the marinade and dry the skin side lightly on a paper towel while heating, on medium high heat, a grill pan:

1 tablespoon oil wiped into the pan

Place the salmon in the pan, skin side down. Cook on medium high for 3-6 minutes depending on how thick the salmon filets are before turning them over (the salmon will release easily from the pan when its ready to turn over) to cook on the other side over medium heat for an additional 3-6 minutes (I usually cover the pan at this point for several minutes). And because I covered the pan to make sure the fish cooks inside, I usually turn it over onto the skin side again for a minute on high to crisp up the skin again. Ready to serve.

Quick Salmon Cakes

My mother would have loved these! I tried it first with fresh salmon and they were too dry and fell apart. Using canned salmon worked much better. I topped mine with an easy lemon garlic mayonnaise sauce. They take less than 5 minutes to put together and about the same to cook.

In a medium size bowl, mix together:

10 ounces (2 small cans) salmon (I use the Safe Catch brand of canned fishes)

1/2 cup quinoa flakes (Don’t have these? Find them in the cereal aisle or Amazon. Or you could try using any other cereal flakes such as quick oats or gluten free bread crumbs.)

1 tablespoon gluten-free all purpose flour

2 green onions chopped (green and white parts)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

Stir in 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise.

In a 10″ skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Saute over medium heat 2-3 minutes until brown. Flip and repeat. TIP: You might want to cover the skillet since these will spit at you from the moisture in the cakes. If you want to reduce this and get a browner cake, coat with seasoned flour before frying.

I serve mine with lemon garlic mayonnaise which I make simply by mixing Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing and vegan mayonnaise (about 2 tablespoons dressing to 1/4 cup mayonnaise).

Salmon with Bok Choy (dairy-free)

Want a quick meal that is very tasty?  This one can be prepared and cooked in less than a half hour.  Bok choy is one of my favorite vegetables and it pairs very well with a salmon filet.  Here I’ve sautéed the bok choy with some red onion and garlic in a little olive oil and topped the salmon with an easy mustard sauce.  The recipe serves two, or if you’re like me and love bok choy, this serves just me!

You’ll need:

  • 4 small to medium bok choy, washed and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 salmon filets
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon stevia (or 2 tablespoons agave or honey, 1/8 teaspoon monk fruit powder,  etc.)

Prepare 4 small to medium baby bok choy by cutting of the lower portion and rinsing thoroughly under cold water.  The bok choy may still have some spots and that’s okay.  Be sure to rinse the green portion as well as the white.  Then slice from bottom to the leaves, you can use all of this vegetable.

Chop one small red onion (I like to half it, then slice it into medium slices, and finally cut each slice in half).  Chop one clove of garlic.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a hot 10-12 inch skillet.  Add the prepared vegetables (bok choy, onion and garlic).  Stir to mix thoroughly and then cover and cook over medium heat for approximately 7-10 minutes depending on how al dente you like them.

Meanwhile, heat a large grill pan or skillet; add a small amount of olive oil.  Wash your salmon filets and dry them with a paper towel.  You will notice that I prefer the thinner slices of the salmon, they cook faster and I find I don’t dry the fish out as much.  Make some slices across the skin side and add, skin side down, to the hot pan.  Reduce heat to medium.  I like to cover the fish and cook for 5 minutes.  I then remove the cover and turn over the fish to cook for another 2-3 minutes until pink inside.

While your salmon and bok choy are cooking, in a small container with a lid put 1 tablespoon of your favorite mustard and 1 tablespoon of your favorite vinegar.  Add a very small amount of stevia (I used about 1/8 of a teaspoon).  Put on the lid and shake until mixed.  Sauce is ready.

Seafood Pasta Salad (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

This is a recipe passed down from my mother and grandmother.  They traditionally made it for our July 4th celebration along with blueberry muffins since usually by early  in July, we’d have fresh peas as well blueberries in central New Hampshire.  They made it with canned salmon, crab and shrimp but these days fresh or frozen seafood is also widely available.  My mother also always made it with the pasta shells for esthetic reasons but you can use whatever type of pasta your family likes.

You can also make it two ways, like the potato salad and the cole slaw, with either a vinaigrette or mayonnaise.  I prefer the vinaigrette since it has a lighter taste, especially in the July heat.

Mix in a medium sized bowl:

  • 6-8 ounces of cooked salmon
  • 4 ounces of cooked tiny shrimp
  • 6-8 ounces of cooked lump crabmeat
  • 6-8 ounces of cooked peas
  • 3 stalks of celery diced, don’t forget to add the leaves as well — they have a wonderful celery taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion, chives, or scallions
  • 2 cups cooked gluten-free pasta [here I’ve found that the quinoa pasta works the best because it doesn’t get all mushy if it sits for a day; I’ve also gotten into the chickpea pasta to add more protein]
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite vinaigrette [I make mine with 1/2 olive oil, 1 tablespoon spicy mustard, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or 1 teaspoon stevia), and 1/4 cup of water.]; if you need to, you can add more vinaigrette especially if you let the salad sit awhile in the refrigerator since the pasta will absorb the moisture.
  • OR 1/2 cup of your favorite mayonnaise mixed with several tablespoons of cold water [the water will loosen up the mayo and make for a lighter dressing without affecting the taste].
  • Salt and pepper to taste along with some fresh parsley to taste

I like to serve it on a bed of lettuce with some cherry or grape tomatoes as a garnish.  This recipe serves 4.  Delicious!