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Healthy Recipes

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Pasta Salad with Smoked SalmonPasta Salad with Smoked Salmon

Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 15
(Total time will vary with appliance and setting.)
Level of Difficulty: Easy


4 ounces dry pasta* (bowties, shells, wagon wheels, penne, etc.)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 or 2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped, plus 1 or 2 sprigs for garnish
8 ounces smoked salmon,** flaked into bite-sized pieces
1 green bell pepper, julienned, for garnish
8 to 12 cherry tomatoes, halved, for garnish
½ cup low-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise or yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon capers (optional)


  1. Boil water in a large pot. Add pasta and cook until “al dente” (Italian for “to the tooth,” or cooked until still slightly firm), approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Transfer to a serving bowl and toss with the olive oil until pasta is coated. Cover and chill.
  3. Make the dressing by combining the sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice and mixing until blended. Add the capers and stir.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cucumber, green onions, dill and smoked salmon, reserving a few flakes of salmon to use as a garnish.
  5. Mix the cooled pasta with the salmon and vegetables. Add the dressing and toss lightly.
  6. Garnish the salad with the bell peppers, tomatoes, reserved flaked salmon and dill sprigs.

This recipe contains salmon, which is higher in healthy omega-3s and lower in mercury than tuna, although tuna, sardines or other fish can be substituted.

When shopping for salmon, look for fish that is wild instead of farm-raised, because the wild fish are eating their natural diet, which yields the most nutritional value.Farm-raised fish eat fortified food to make them grow faster and bigger; coloring is added to their feed to produce a brighter pink color. The farmed fish often need antibiotics to protect them from disease since they are living in an overcrowded and closed environment.

Canned salmon, a convenient food with surprisingly good flavor, is often wild salmon; check the label and look for “wild” or “line caught.” As an added benefit, some brands of canned salmon contain the bones, which are a great source of calcium. The bones are very soft, safe and easy to eat.

*The amount of pasta (1 ounce) is half of a typical serving. One ounce of pasta provides approximately 20 grams of carbohydrate. You can substitute a lower-carbohydrate pasta and increase the portion size; or, add more vegetables and leafy greens to the dish for more bulk. Another suggestion is to substitute canned white beans for the pasta. Always drain and rinse canned beans before using them.

** Purchase smoked salmon that is made with natural wood smoke. Natural wood-smoked salmon is preferred because it contains no added sodium and has none of the chemicals used to create the artificial smoke flavor.

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