In case you haven’t noticed, quick and nutritious one pot meals are my thing. I love cooking but with a full-time job, contract work, a busy social life, an interview or two to prepare for (like this recent one), and trying to stay active — not to mention working on my blog — I have no time lately for elaborate meals. But that doesn’t mean I don’t eat delicious ones!
I love a nice bowl of pasta, but making a vegetable or a salad to go with it just seems like extra work sometimes. So I like to load my pasta with vegetables instead. I love zoodles — “noodles” made from zucchini — for this purpose. They are fun to eat and delicious. I like a 60/40 or so mix of regular whole wheat pasta to zoodles. This is a great way to add more vegetables to your usual pasta meal.
However, I do not think that we all need to go around “health-ifying” every recipe by hiding vegetables in them. That is not the point of the zoodles (for me). I add zoodles because I enjoy zucchini this way and I would add the zucchini to my pasta anyway.
If you enjoy cauliflower in your mashed potatoes or butternut squash in your mac and cheese, by all means, add it! But if you enjoy the real deal more, don’t deprive yourself (and stick to a smaller portion). Keep in mind, adding squash to your mac and cheese doesn’t mean you should eat 5 servings. Beware of the “health halo” effect. More on this topic in my upcoming article for the HuffPost.
To make the zoodles, I have an inexpensive spiralizer (something like this one), but if you’re cooking for more than one or two people you might want to invest in one that is a little faster and easier to clean.
This recipe is great for a quick weeknight meal. I always have canned salmon in my cupboard. Keep it on hand for an easy, protein packed addition to many meals. This recipe for Salmon Cakes, by my friend Carolyn Berry, is one of my other favourite recipes to use canned salmon in.
Cooking fish can be a bit intimidating for some people (it is so easy to overcook). As such, canned salmon is an easy alternative that you don’t have to worry about over or under cooking. With our typically high omega-6 fat westernized diets, we can all use the omega-3 boost! You can use canned pink or sockeye salmon in this recipe. Pink is usually cheaper, but sockeye will provide you with a bit more omega-3 fats. Both are a good choice.
If you’d rather stick to a more traditional pasta, skip the zoodles and add a little more whole grain pasta to this recipe. And don’t forget to top it with cheese — it really makes this dish. Enjoy!
Quick Canned Salmon Pasta with Zoodles
- 80-100 g dry whole grain pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced/crushed
- 1 small-medium zucchini
- 2/3 213 gram can canned salmon
- Juice of half a large lemon
- 2 tbsp capers (with some of the brine)
- 3 handfuls of spinach
- Feta or Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook your pasta according to package directions (salt the water!), drain and set aside
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat
- Add the shallots, tomatoes, thyme, a few cranks of fresh ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes
- Cook for about 7-9 min, until the shallots are nicely browned and the tomatoes are soft
- Meanwhile, using a vegetable spiralizer, make your zucchini into zoodles
- Add the garlic, lemon juice, and zoodles to the tomato mixture and cook a few minutes more, stirring fairly frequently
- Add the capers (with a tbsp or so of the brine), spinach, pasta, and salmon with ~1 tbsp of the canning liquid (break the salmon apart)
- Stir everything together and heat the pasta through until the spinach is wilted and everything is hot
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve topped with Parmesan or feta cheese