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Fuel for Running: Salmon Cakes with Quinoa & Asparagus

March 23, 2011

The Gentleman Marathoner is training for the “Avenue of the Giants” Marathon through California’s redwood forests in May.  Then, in June, he’ll push his limits at his first 50k race, the Northface Endurance Challenge in Washington, D.C.   In an effort to support his training with healthful (and tasty) fuel, I have been turning to Runner’s World magazine for some nutritional recommendations.

Unless you live under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard salmon touted as an excellent source of those all-important omega-3 fatty acids; it’s also a great source of lean protein and lots of other vitamins. This salmon cake recipe uses tinned salmon,which makes it accessible even though we are far (so terribly far) away from the coast.  If you have cooked, fresh salmon on hand, this would be a great way to use up leftovers.  I packed the mixture with flavorful, nutrient-rich vegetables that add texture as well.

Quinoa makes a great side for these salmon cakes.  Lightly toasted before cooking, quinoa offers up a nutty, complex flavor, and significant levels of magnesium, riboflavin, and protein — a delicious way to build up those running muscles! We enjoyed our salmon cakes with quinoa, roasted asparagus, and a simple yogurt sauce the Gentleman Marathoner mixed up with plain yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and fresh thyme to taste.

You can substitute any spice mix you like; Old Bay Seasoning is a classic flavoring for crab cakes.  Nutrition aside, the Gentleman Marathoner claims these salmon cakes help him run faster and harder by motivating him to get home for a delicious dinner.

Salmon Cakes

1/3 cup breadcrumbs (seasoned or unseasoned)

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 baby zucchini, grated

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (or other spice blend, to your taste)

several dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 (8-oz.) can of salmon

1 large egg, slightly beaten

panko breadcrumbs for coating

olive oil

Pour the panko breadcrumbs into a small bowl and set aside.  Combine the 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, sliced scallions, diced red bell pepper, grated zucchini, Old Bay Seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce in a medium-sized both, and stir well.  Drain the canned salmon, then flake with a fork and toss with mixture in bowl.  Taste the mixture and adjust the seasonings as desired before adding the egg.

Add the slightly beaten egg, and stir well to combine.

Scoop up a few tablespoons of the mixture and press firmly into a ball, then flatten into a small, 2-inch patty.

Press both sides of the patty into the small bowl of panko breadcrumbs to coat.  The patty will be loose, so just keep smooshing it gently back together if it starts to fall apart.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a skillet.  Cook the salmon cakes for 3 minutes per side, until coating turns golden brown.  Makes 9 to 10 salmon cakes (about 3 servings).

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