What to Do with Canned Salmon: 7 Easy Recipes

Canned salmon is a great pantry staple, being a shelf stable source of lean protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and very cost effective compared to its fresh counterpart. Here we discuss its nutrition facts and 7 recipes to use it in fresh and unexpectedly versatile ways. You may also be interested in this previous post about canned salmon.

Nutrition Information About Canned Salmon

Calories

With around 90 calories or so in 3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) of canned salmon, it is a little higher in calories than many lean protein options such as tuna, chicken breast, or very lean beef. However, this is because salmon is an oily fish containing the good fat, omega 3! This fat helps reduce inflammation, support a good mood via helping brain health, and create healthy cell membranes that are sensitive to insulin. Things that in the long run will help you be healthier and more likely to maintain a healthy body weight.

Sodium

The sodium content in canned salmon can vary depending on the brand and the specific product. However, compared to many other canned or processed foods, canned salmon is generally relatively low in sodium. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Unsalted vs. Salted: Canned salmon is available in both unsalted and salted varieties. Unsalted canned salmon contains very little sodium, making it an excellent option for those who are watching their sodium intake. On the other hand, salted canned salmon has added salt or brine, which significantly increases its sodium content.
  • Check the Label: It’s essential to read the label on the can to determine the exact sodium content of the canned salmon you’re considering. The nutrition label will provide information on the amount of sodium per serving.
  • Comparison to Other Canned Foods: When compared to many other canned foods, such as soups, processed meats, or canned vegetables, even salted canned salmon tends to be relatively lower in sodium. However, it’s still a good idea to be mindful of your overall sodium intake, especially if you have dietary restrictions or health concerns related to sodium consumption.

If you are concerned about sodium, choosing unsalted or low-sodium canned salmon or draining and rinsing salted canned salmon before use can help reduce your sodium intake while still enjoying the nutritional benefits of this protein-rich fish.

Nutrients Canned Salmon Has to Offer

Canned salmon is a nutrient-rich food that provides a variety of essential vitamins and minerals along with other valuable nutrients. Other than being a good source of protein and healthy fats, here are some of the key nutrients you can find in canned salmon:

  1. Vitamin D: Salmon is one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D, which is crucial for bone health, immune function, and overall well-being.
  2. B Vitamins: Canned salmon contains several B vitamins, including B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin), niacin (B3), and riboflavin (B2). These vitamins play essential roles in energy metabolism, nervous system function, and red blood cell production.
  3. Minerals: Canned salmon is a good source of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and selenium. Calcium is important for bone health, while phosphorus is vital for energy production and cell function. Selenium acts as an antioxidant and supports the immune system.
  4. Potassium: Salmon provides potassium, an electrolyte that helps regulate blood pressure, maintain proper muscle and nerve function, and support heart health.
  5. Astaxanthin: This natural pigment found in salmon gives it its pink color. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with potential health benefits, including reducing inflammation and protecting cells from oxidative damage.

It’s worth noting that the nutritional content of canned salmon may vary depending on factors such as the type of salmon (e.g., pink, sockeye, coho), whether it’s wild-caught or farm-raised, and whether it’s packed with or without the skin and bones (impacting calcium and vitamin D content). Opting for wild-caught salmon and varieties packed with skin and bones can offer higher nutrient levels. Nonetheless, canned salmon is a convenient and nutritious option that can be included in a variety of recipes to enhance your overall diet. For more information, check out this other blog post about canned salmon.


7 Easy Canned Salmon Recipes

Let’s get excited about canned salmon with these 7 recipes shared with me by fellow dietitians.

Canned Salmon Recipes With Pasta

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Pesto salmon pasta
Pesto Salmon Pasta
This delicious and nutritious pasta dish with pesto and canned salmon is a fusion you don’t think of every day. With the nutrition of salmon, spinach, and the depth of flavor from pesto, it satisfies your pasta craving while getting in your greens and protein.
Check out this recipe

Salad With Canned Salmon

This lettuceless salad recipe packs in the non-starchy vegetables and works well with low carb, paleo,keto, Whole30, gluten-free, and pestcatarian style diets.

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salmon salad with sesame dressing
Canned Salmon Salad No Mayo (Keto, Low Carb, Paleo)
Looking for a keto lunch that is packed with omega-3s and fresh veggies? This low-calorie and low-carb keto salmon salad fits the bill! Try this canned salmon salad (no mayo) for a healthy main dish that is under 400 calories. Packed with “real food” ingredients, it’s Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, dairy-free, LCHF, and pescatarian-friendly. You’ll love how beautiful the rainbow of crisp vegetables looks on your plate, and how good these health-promoting foods make you feel!
Check out this recipe

Chopped Salmon Salad

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Chopped Salmon Salad
This salmon salad recipe makes a main dish salad with chopped vegetables, flaky fish, and tangy citrus dressing. It has plenty of protein and healthy fats, so it’s nutritious and delicious! Make this for dinner tonight for as a lunch meal prep for the week!
Check out this recipe

Salmon Salad (Tuna or Chicken Salad Alternative)

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canned salmon salad
Canned Salmon Salad
Ready in less than 10 minutes, this canned salmon salad is a go-to for a nutrition-packed lunch. Made with fresh dill, capers, celery and onion, it’s packed with delicious flavor.
Check out this recipe

Salmon Patties and Cakes

I have childhood memories of loving it when my mom made salmon patties. As a kid, I’d devore them. So don’t be surprised if your kids do, too. I hear patients passionately rant about their air fryers on a regular basis, which this recipe utilizes. The addition of Old Bay seasoning also brings back smell memories of growing up on the Gulf coast. Lastly, this recipe uses almond flour and is gluten-free.

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salmon patties lemon dill tartar sauce
Old Fashioned Salmon Patties Air Fryer (Old Bay Salmon Cakes)
This salmon patty recipe uses an air fryer, is easy, and inexpensive to make. Homemade tartar sauce is part of the recipe. You can dip them or serving them as sliders. These have just 1 gram net carb per fish cake, making them great options for low carb and keto diets. Plus, they’re gluten-free. 
Check out this recipe

Dips

Next time you are thinking chips and dip, take the nutrition to the next level with some crudite/fresh vegetable slices and this salmon dip!

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canned salmon dip
Easy Canned Salmon Dip
This canned salmon dip is a great easy, quick snack!  Better for you than most dips, it is a different way to utilize canned salmon in your pantry.
Check out this recipe

Chowder

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salmon corn chowder
Salmon Corn Chowder
This one bowl meal can be made from items you may already have in your pantry, making it a good option for a quick, week night meal.
Check out this recipe

Did you try any of these recipes? If so, leave a note in the comments below!

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Anne Marie Berggren RDN, MS, CDN, CNSC is a Registered Dietitian with a Master's Degree in Nutrition, training in integrative and functional nutrition, nutrition for mental health, obesity and weight management, is a board certified nutrition support clinician, and an adjunct professor for the Stony Brook Graduate Nutrition Program teaching advanced clinical nutrition.

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