Did you know it’s recommended that adults eat at least two serves of fish each week? Yet most adults don’t eat fish anywhere near that often, with some people never eating fish if they can help it. But not only do we need to eat more fish, we also need to eat more ‘oily fish’. That’s because oily fish provide us with omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for controlling inflammation in the body.
Why you need to be eating salmon more often (especially canned salmon)
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fats, but if you eat it fresh, you need to be buying it from the store on the day you’ll be cooking it. But that’s not very convenient. Instead, it’s good to keep canned salmon in your pantry so that you can eat salmon on a regular basis, even on days that you haven’t been shopping.
Canned salmon is truly underrated and something I consider to be a pantry essential. Firstly, it’s an excellent source of omega-3s. It’s also an excellent source of protein, just like other fish and meats. But aside from the convenience of canned salmon, the thing the truly makes it stand out is its calcium content.
Regular salmon is very low in calcium, but canned salmon is high in calcium because of the edible bones. During the canning process, the bones in the salmon soften so that you can eat them and absorb the calcium they contain. Some people don’t like eating the bones – I certainly didn’t like them when I was a kid – but if you crush up the bones and turn the salmon into patties, you won’t even know they are there.
I started eating canned salmon regularly after I needed to convert to a dairy-free diet and had to find additional sources of calcium. Now that I’m eating low FODMAP and dairy-free, getting enough calcium is even more challenging since my high-calcium dairy-free milk alternatives were further limited due to their FODMAP content.
Extra reading: How to choose calcium rich foods on a low FODMAP diet.
To deal with this challenge, I needed to find a new way to eat canned salmon that helped to cover up the fishy smell, since that still bothers me a bit, but which didn’t add FODMAPs. This meant choosing low FODMAP herbs to add flavour. I also needed a recipe that required the salmon to be mashed up so that I could crush the edible bones. Lastly, I wanted a recipe that could be frozen so I could keep a stash in the freezer for quick meals.
My solution was these Dill and Chive Salmon Patties, which are easy to make and can be frozen to add to salads or lunches. Sometimes I chop up the patties and toss them through a salad, but when I want to eat them whole with a meal, I like to serve them with a simple Dill and Caper Sauce that I make from low FODMAP mayonnaise (i.e. no garlic).
Extra reading: How I get my calcium on a dairy-free and low FODMAP diet.
Some handy tricks
The Dill and Chive Salmon Patties can be eaten warm or cold. My favourite way to eat them is with a leafy green salad, plus some steamed potatoes or rice. They are also very good as a cold protein source for a take-to-work salad. You could also add the patties to a sandwich (sort of like a burger) and they are also quite nice wrapped in lettuce leaves with some of the sauce.
These patties also freeze exceptionally well. I normally make a double batch of the patties and freeze the leftovers. You can remove them from the freezer in the morning and pack them in your lunchbox so they’ll be defrosted ready for lunch. Or you can microwave them directly from the freezer for about 1 minute and they will be ready for a warm meal.
Make a double batch:
I normally make a double batch of this recipe since it adds less than 10 minutes to the whole process (i.e. the time needed to cook the second batch). Then I have a ready-to-eat protein source that’s high in calcium, low in FODMAPs, and full of flavour, that I can grab from the freezer whenever I like. I grab out two patties, microwave them on high for one minute, and add them to my meal. Simple.
This healthy recipe for dill and chive salmon patties is low FODMAP, gluten-free and dairy-free. It’s a great way to add omega-3s and calcium to your day.
Dill and Chive Salmon Patties
- 415g can of pink salmon, with edible bones
- 2 tbsp fresh dill
- 2 tbsp fresh chives
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 XL egg, lightly beaten
- Olive oil to lightly coat the frying pan
Dill and Caper Sauce
- 1/4 cup low FODMAP mayonnaise (see notes)
- 2 tsp (10g) of capers in vinegar, drained and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Dill and Chive Salmon Patties
- Drain the salmon really well. I use the ‘lid’ that I’ve removed from the can and press it down firmly on the salmon, while holding the can upside down over the sink, to get as much of the liquid out as possible. Put the drained salmon in a large bowl, keeping the bones in the bowl. I also keep the skin, but you can remove that if you want to. Use a fork to the flake the salmon and crush the bones well.
- Add the dill, chives, and pepper to the salmon and mix well. Then add the egg and mix until well combined.
- Using your hands, shape the mixture into 8 evenly-sized patties and place each one onto a large plate. I do this by first weighing the mixture and then splitting it up into 8 portions (each one will weigh about 44g). Note that the patties will be quite soft so you need to be careful how you handle them.
- Heat a large frying pan (mine is a 28cm pan) to a medium heat and lightly coat with olive oil. I like to wipe a small amount of oil across the pan using a paper towel. Carefully place each patty into the frying pan and cook for about 4 minutes or until browned. Then turn each patty over, press down lightly with an egg-flip and cook for another 4 minutes.
- Remove from pan and serve with the Dill and Caper Sauce.
Dill and Caper Sauce
- Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix with a small spoon until well combined.
- This recipe is suitable for a low FODMAP diet, provided that the recommended serving size for this recipe is not exceeded.
- This recipe is naturally dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free. However, if you have an allergy to any of these items, or have coeliac disease, please check the labels on any purchased ingredients to ensure they are safe for your requirements.
- This recipe is designed to be a high-calcium protein source, but it will only be high in calcium if you eat the edible bones in the canned salmon (you also need to check that your canned salmon does have edible bones because not all do). If you remove the bones, you will still get lots of protein, but the patties won’t be a significant calcium source.
- You can switch the pink salmon for red salmon, but pink salmon is more budget friendly and I find that you can’t really taste the difference in these patties.
- Not all mayonnaises are low FODMAP so you need to find one that doesn’t contain garlic or other high FODMAP ingredients (watch out for any that use ‘spices’ or ‘natural flavours’ too, because that’s normally garlic). I buy the Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise, which doesn’t contain garlic.
Low FODMAP Portion
- Serving Size: 2 patties + 1/4 of the sauce