Baked Salmon with Spicy Lentil Salad

On Tuesdays, Julia and I meet up after work and cook dinner together. We both work in offices during the summer, so after sitting at our desks all day, we’re eager for good food and human interaction. 

When we were younger, Dad always used to tell us that if we were stranded in the wilderness, we should hope that somebody brought along a bag of dry lentils. “You can survive for days if you have enough lentils and water,” he used to say.

Now, neither of us has ever tested out that particular piece of Dad wisdom, but our love of lentils has remained constant for our whole lives. These nutritional powerhouses are packed with protein and iron, and contain 90 percent of your daily recommendation for folate.  [1]

I had some lentils soaking in my fridge, so we decided to throw together a lentil salad and top it with salmon. Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins, especially B12. B12 is only found in animal products, so vegans and vegetarians can sometimes be at risk for developing a deficiency. A B12 deficiency can lead to abnormal psychiatric and neurological symptoms, including muscle weakness, low blood pressure, and vision problems. [2]

The salmon was flaky and perfectly garlicky. The lentils and vegetables were tender and spicy. We gobbled up our food and went straight back to the kitchen for some leftover spoonfuls. There were no leftovers for work on Wednesday.

Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

1 cup dry lentils (or 2 15-oz cans)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
½ cup swiss chard, chopped
½ tbsp. paprika
½ tspn. Cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil

2 half-pound pieces of salmon
1 lemon, sliced in round
2 cloves garlic, minced


Heat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil.

Soak one cup of dry lentils for 8 hours prior to cooking. After soaking, add lentils to 3 cups of boiling water and cook until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-low, heat the oil. Add the garlic and onions and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the zucchini, carrot, paprika, swiss chard, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until carrots are tender and swiss chard is wilted, about 8 minutes. Stir in lentils and reduce heat to low.

Place the salmon pieces on the baking sheet. Top each piece with garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon slices. Bake until salmon is easily flaked with a fork, about 10 minutes.

Serve immediately. 

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