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Canned Salmon, Pasta Create Cooling Flavors

By Charlotte Balcomb Lane Knight-Ridder/Tribune

With its cool, pastel colors and bold, refreshing flavors, Light Salmon Pasta Salad is a delightful way to wake up appetites made sluggish from summer heat.

Whether you serve it as a picnic lunch or a dinner under the stars, this salad pops with flavor from the combination of canned red salmon, purple onion, cucumber and dill.

The salad is low in fat and calories because it is dressed with lime juice and the flavorful juices from the can of salmon, instead of a high-fat dressing. Only one tablespoon of olive oil is used to keep the pasta moist and tender.

Any kind of small pasta works in this salad, but more whimsical shapes add to the dining pleasure. Orechiette, or little ears, seems especially suited because the curls and folds in the pasta catch the dressing, so the flavors can be readily absorbed.

Light Salmon Pasta Salad

1 (7-1/2-ounce) can red sockeye salmon, drained, juice reserved

6 cups cooked, chilled small pasta, such as orechiette (little ears), shells, bowties or wagon wheels

1 cucumber, peeled and diced green bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup)

1 small purple onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil or parsley

1 teaspoon dried dill

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Dressing:

Reserved salmon juice

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil, preferably extra-virgin

1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

1/4 teaspoon sugar

Pick through the salmon to remove bones and skin. Crumble the salmon into small pieces. In a large bowl, combine the salmon, pasta, green and red pepper, purple onion, dill and black pepper.

To make the dressing, stir together the salmon juice, lime juice, olive oil, mustard and sugar in small container. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat evenly. Serve chilled.

Yield: 7 (1-cup) servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 211 calories, 5.7 grams fat (24 percent fat calories), 10 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrate, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 147 milligrams sodium.

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, RECIPE - On the Light Side

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