Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lunchbox Salmon Pasta with Steamed Spinach


This is one of my favorite lunches. Not only is it a tasty way to incorporate omega-3-rich salmon into your diet, it's so easy too! I call this a "lunchbox" meal, but the method would be equally effective for a quickly pulled together dinner. The recipe contains simple, on-hand ingredients and leftover pasta.

Omega-3 foods, the best sources being certain types of fish, help to keep your cholesterol in the healthy range and your heart healthy. The American Heart Association recommends eating two 4-ounce servings of omega-3-rich fish per week to meet the requirements for DHA and EPA, the two most effective fatty acids for lowering cholesterol. Read more about omega-3s and where to find them in this post.

To easily prepare simple, healthy meals (like this one), there are certain ingredients you should always keep on hand in your kitchen. {You can purchase my Well Stocked Kitchen list here.} Another tip: Whenever you cook, think about making leftovers! When I make pasta or rice, I always make leftovers. If you don't eat them within 5 days, just stick them in the freezer in portion-controlled containers or a zipper-top freezer bag for later. They will always come in handy for a healthy lunch or quick dinner.

If you love salmon and get addicted, like me, there's no need to worry. This meal is just about as balanced and healthy as it can get! It's perfect for a clean-eating meal plan.


Lunchbox Salmon Pasta with Steamed Spinach
Serves 2.

Ingredients
  • 1 can (4 ounces drained) salmon, deboned and without skin
  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta (I used penne in this recipe)
  • 2 cups raw baby spinach (or more if you like)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • A sprinkle of each (to taste): Kosher salt, fresh black pepper, garlic powder, parsley and dill
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions

Use two containers (glass or BPA-free plastic) that are at least 3 cups each and divide ingredients between the two per the following:
  1. Place 1 cup spinach in the bottom of each container.
  2. Top spinach with 1 cup pasta.
  3. Place half the can of salmon on top.
  4. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  5. Add seasonings and cheese.
  6. At meal time, crack the lid on the container and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Gently stir to combine and distribute toppings.