• Kimberly Crites

Dietitian’s Choice: Simple Baked Salmon (in the oven or Instant Pot!)

Salmon is a quality source of protein and healthy fat. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and known to be heart-healthy and generally important for preventing chronic disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with improving mental health, including decreasing depression. Salmon is also high in vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, and ginger is anti-inflammatory and known to soothe stomach ailments.

It’s true that salmon (along with other seafood) can contain mercury, which has toxic effects on the body. Consuming only wild-caught Alaskan or Pacific coast salmon may reduce the risk of mercury exposure as compared to eating farmed or Atlantic salmon. If you don’t live in Alaska or on the west coast, it may be difficult to find fresh wild-caught salmon. Luckily, frozen Alaskan and Pacific wild-caught salmon are increasingly available in grocery stores and markets nationwide, and you’ll get largely the same benefit from frozen as you would fresh. All of that said, farmed or Atlantic salmon have all of the same nutrients, so it’s still worth eating if it’s all that’s accessible. Learn more about the difference if wild vs. farmed HERE.

This recipe for salmon is both quick and easy, and it’s very satisfying due to the healthy fat it contains. It includes directions for the both the oven (or toaster oven) and instant pot but could easily be adapted for the grill. Make sure to read through for the Notes and Variations on how to adapt. Enjoy!

Simple Baked Salmon

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari or soy sauce

  2. 1 tablespoon water

  3. 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

  4. 1/2 teaspoon real maple syrup

  5. 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger OR 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  6. 1 clove garlic, minced OR 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  7. 2 wild-caught Alaskan or Pacific salmon filets, fresh or thawed from frozen, 4-6 oz. each

OVEN Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

  2. Coat a small baking dish or pan with oil. Place salmon, skin side down, on oiled surface.

  3. In a small bowl, stir together tamari, water, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, and garlic. Pour mixture evenly over salmon filets.

  4. Bake for about 10 minutes, until salmon reaches internal temperature of 145 degrees F.*

* These directions are for salmon filets of about 1-inch thickness; thicker filets may need longer, while thinner pieces may need less time. Internal temperature will continue to rise once salmon is removed from the oven, so you may want to remove it at 140 degrees F.

INSTANT POT Directions:

  1. Pour 1 cup water into instant pot, and place metal trivet or steamer basket inside.

  2. Place salmon filets, skin side down, onto trivet/basket.

  3. In a small bowl, stir together tamari, water, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, and garlic. Pour mixture evenly over salmon filets.

  4. Seal instant pot lid, and set to pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. Manually release steam when done.

Notes and Variations:

  1. Tamari has a richer flavor than soy sauce, though either will work fine in this recipe. If it matters to you, know that tamari is wheat-free and therefore gluten-free (make sure to check the label), whereas soy sauce does contain wheat/gluten.

  2. This recipe contains just a touch of sweetness from real maple syrup, which also adds a bit of depth to the flavor. For a sugar-free version, substitute one (1) drop liquid stevia, or omit altogether.

  3. For a spicy hot version, sprinkle some crushed red pepper into the tamari mixture prior to pouring over salmon. Alternatively, add a squirt of Sriracha to the mixture or atop the fish once cooked.

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