Maple-Glazed Salmon Salad with Walnut Oil Vinaegrette – my contribution to a Gluten-Free, Heart Healthy Event!
Heart health. I will be honest and say it’s not a part of my health I give all that much thought to. But perhaps I should. Here I am, rapidly approaching 40 and like every family, a few distant members have had heart disease. And uncontrolled diabetes is strongly correlated to heart disease and stroke. So I suppose it’s fair to say that it’s on my radar, although not, perhaps, right in the center of it. Thankfully, for me the risks are low. I am healthy, active, with low cholesterol, and I keep my blood sugars carefully in check. And it just so happens that I adore many heart-healthy foods. Have I ever mentioned how much I love salmon? No? How about walnuts? Spinach? Red peppers? Red wine? Dark chocolate? The list of heart healthy options is surprisingly extensive. There’s almost no excuse for not eating some on a daily basis.
Of course, it’s not enough just to eat right. If you’re not moving around, you’re not doing that heart any favours. I have seen the power of exercise with my own eyes and it’s pretty amazing. In my case, it was as a factor for controlling my blood sugars while in the midst of gestational diabetes (have I mentioned that diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease?). After a meal, a 30 minute walk could lower my blood sugar by 60 points or more. If you don’t know much about blood sugar, let me assure you that this is a significant number. Seeing that kind of proof on my glucometer spurred me to become a semi-competitive runner.
Movement and good food. It’s really not all that much to ask of ourselves to stay healthy, is it?
For this particular recipe, I loaded up on some of my favourites. Salmon topped the list, because I love it. Keep in mind, wild caught salmon is best. It contains far more Omega 3s than farmed salmon, and is easier on the environment too. I glazed the salmon with Dijon mustard and some sugar-free maple syrup, and a touch of maple extract to boost the flavour. You could use real maple syrup if you like, but I am a diabetic so I have to be cautious there. Then I placed the salmon on a bed of greens (may I suggest spinach in your salad mix?), with chopped red pepper and some walnuts for crunch. All topped of with my homemade walnut oil vinaigrette. Let me assure you, this is no side salad…this is your full, heart-healthy, satisfying entree. Bon Appetit!
Maple-Glazed Salmon Salad – Low Carb, Gluten-Free and Heart Healthy!
Walnut Oil Vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup walnut oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp sugar-free maple syrup (I used Nature's Hollow), or 2 tbsp real maple syrup
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp maple extract (omit if using maple syrup)
- 1 lb salmon filet
- Salt and pepper
- 6 cups salad greens spinach or a combination
- 2 red peppers chopped
- 1 cup walnuts lightly toasted
For Walnut Oil Vinaigrette:
- Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.
For the salad:
- Preheat oven to 425F and brush a large glass or ceramic baking dish with olive oil.
- In a small bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, maple syrup and maple extract.
- Cut filet into 4 even portions and arrange in baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and brush with glaze.
- Bake 9 to 11 minutes, until fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. Remove and let cool 10 minutes.
- Divide salad greens between 4 large plates.
- Sprinkle each with chopped red peppers and walnuts.
- Top each with a salmon portion.
- Serve with dressing at table.