March 12, 2024/Recipes

Recipe: Blackened Salmon With Rice and Cucumber Yogurt

This delicious and nutritious entree is like eating out at home

Blackened salmon on brown rice white plate, with a cucumber sauce in separate bowl

Blackening seasoning gives salmon fillets a restaurant-like quality that’s easy to achieve with the broiler. A simple, delicious brown-rice pilaf forms the base, and a savory yogurt sauce with onion and cucumber adds tang. Besides containing heart-healthy omega-3s, this dish is rich in protein, fiber and phytonutrients.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 3/4 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 4 4-ounce pieces salmon fillet (about 1-inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon blackening seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the brown rice and 1 3/4 cups water.
  2. Let come to a boil, cover tightly, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Fluff with a fork, remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 more minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, cucumber, and scallion.
  4. Heat the broiler to high with the oven rack about 4 inches from the top. Line a small sheet pan with foil.
  5. Rub each piece of salmon with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil (1/4 teaspoon each). Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the blackening seasoning over each piece of salmon. Broil to desired doneness, 5 to 7 minutes for medium.
  6. Divide the rice among plates. Top with the salmon and a spoonful of the yogurt mixture. Sprinkle the dill over the top.

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Ingredient health benefits

  • Extra virgin olive oil: Cooking with olive oil is more than just a popular health trend. In fact, the use of olive oil dates back thousands of years, and there are a lot of perks packed into every drop, making it an excellent addition to a well-balanced diet. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is full of heart-healthy fats and antioxidants like polyphenols. Polyphenols also contribute to a happy heart by fighting inflammation and reducing your cholesterol and blood pressure. And certain compounds found in EVOO may lower your risk of getting cancer.
  • Onions: Chopping onions isn’t the most pleasant activity in the world — they’re smelly, they’re sticky and they make your eyes water. But there are some reasons that make the effort worth your while. For example, onions are rich in flavonoids that protect your head (brain) and heart, and vitamin C to power your immune cells. They’re also a good source of fiber and prebiotics to help your gut stay on track. And if you needed another reason to add onions to your daily dishes, these ancient alliums have quercetin, a flavonoid that becomes more concentrated in your bloodstream the more onions you eat. Did someone say long-term benefits?
  • Brown rice: Why not white? Because brown rice is a whole grain. This means that the shell of the rice grain has fiber, along with vitamins and minerals like magnesium, manganese, vitamin B1 and vitamin B6. These nutrients, which support vital organs and functions from your heart to your nervous system, are lost when the outer kernel is removed from the grain to make the final product soft and white. That doesn’t mean that white rice is “bad” — both brown and white rice are fine in moderation. But if you’re looking for maximum nutrition (and, potentially, lower cholesterol), brown rice has it. Just add water!
  • Greek yogurt: A delicious ingredient all on its own, Greek yogurt has a lot to offer. It’s a complete protein, so it has all the amino acids your body could wish for that it can’t make by itself. It’s also a great source of bone-building calcium and stomach-supportive probiotics. And that’s not all: Greek yogurt has two times more protein than traditional yogurt, and because salmon is also high in protein, this meal should keep you full for quite a while.
  • Cucumbers: Hydration in a gourd! You read that right. Cucumbers are made of 96% water, which your body needs for many necessary functions you can probably think of without clicking this link. They’re also a surprising source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for strong bones and healthy blood. And there’s fiber, too, which lowers your cholesterol, keeps your gut moving and helps prevent constipation.
  • Salmon: The star of the show, salmon is rich in omega-3s, fatty acids that work behind the scenes to keep all your cells in top shape. Eating salmon is also a great way to get some pescatarian protein and an all-around nutritious choice for any meal.

Nutrition information (per serving)

Makes 4 servings

Calories: 329
Total fat: 14.3 g
Saturated fat: 2.2 g
Protein: 32.6 g
Carbohydrate: 15.6 g
Dietary fiber: 1.0 g
Sugar: 4 g
Added sugar: 0 g
Cholesterol: 81.4 mg
Sodium: 100.2 mg

Recipe provided by Sara Quessenberry for Cleveland Clinic Wellness.

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