Simple Roasted Salmon with Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Roasted Cabbage
This recipe is one of my favorite fall-back dinners, for when I’m drawing a blank but want something reliably tasty and healthy without reinventing the wheel.
Usually my weekly menu plan looks something like this: one fancy-pants bloggable meal, one salad-plus-protein, one oops-I-forgot-I-needed-to-start-dinner-so-what-can-I-make-fast-’cause-I’m-getting-hangry, and a mix of leftover compilations to fill in the gaps (and in the interest of realness, usually one night of our favorite neighborhood Indian food buffet). We probably eat this dish at least once every couple of weeks, and I’d like to say it’s because of the heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids or wholesome ingredients, but its mostly because of the ease of prep and how quickly everything comes together.
Cabbage is another one of my fridge staples – it is healthy, filling, neutral (can flesh out most dishes without drawing focus) and can be cooked quickly and in several different ways. I’ve only recently started to have a love affair with bok choy (I know, tardy to the party). It’s a pretty perfect vegetable, giving you both leafy greens on top and crunchy stalk below. I love to just chop up the whole head and add it to stir-fried vegetables – the leaves turn pleasantly wilty while the milky, opaque stalks retain their structural integrity, crunchy and juicy with just the barest whisper of wasabi or horseradish.
MAKE RED CABBAGE A FRIDGE STAPLE – IT LASTS FOREVER AND CAN BE ROASTED, STIR-FRIED, GRILLED OR EVEN SERVED RAW. IT’S A GREAT WAY TO BULK UP YOUR PLATE AND FILL YOU UP WITHOUT TOO MANY CALORIES!
For this dish, I like to roast the cabbage to give me that perfect combination of crispy browned edges and mellow sweetness, but if you slice the cabbage thinly, you could easily add it to the bok choy in the stir-fry. The combo of red cabbage, bok choy and broccoli slaw is one of my favorites, but stir-frying makes it easy to improvise with other vegetables that tickle your fancy. Great options to add or substitute include thinly sliced carrots, sliced red or green bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, edamame or napa cabbage.
Just make sure to have all your ingredients and flavorings prepped before you get started, because the high heat of stir-frying means your vegetables will cook in a flash. Get the pan wicked hot, add a swirl of grapeseed or canola oil – don’t use olive oil here, the smoke point is too low – and let ‘er rip. Consider the vegetables you want to add to your mix; if you have denser vegetables that take longer to cook (like cabbage, broccoli or carrots) add those first. Give them a head start, then add quicker cooking veggies like napa cabbage or snow peas a minute or two later so they finish cooking at the same time.
BE SURE TO USE A HIGH SMOKE-POINT OIL LIKE PEANUT, GRAPESEED OR CANOLA WHEN STIR-FRYING – MORE DELICATE FATS, LIKE OLIVE OIL OR BUTTER, WILL BEGIN TO BREAK DOWN AND TURN ACRID AND BITTER AT VERY HIGH HEAT.
Roasting salmon until just barely cooked through gives you silken, coral-hued flakes of fish with minimal effort. The texture is so pleasant, I often don’t even drizzle it with olive oil to save a few calories (Lord knows I’ll use them elsewhere…). If you don’t mind sacrificing the crispy salmon skin (surprisingly tasty if you’ve never tried it!), just line the pan with foil, place the fish on top, season with salt, pepper, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes and cook until barely opaque. The skin will stick to the foil, and you can just gently grasp the salmon portions while sliding a fork underneath to separate the flesh from the skin.
To play off the deep roasted flavors of the cabbage and browned bok choy, bright, citrusy, sweet-but-bitter pink grapefruit is irresistible this time of year and adds the perfect amount of pep and sparkle to the meal. Served with a small portion of brown rice, this dinner is healthy, filling and flavorful – add it to your dinner rotation right away!
- 2 portions salmon, appx 6 oz each
- 2 cups roughly chopped red cabbage
- 1/2 cup broccoli slaw
- 1 head bok choy, roughly chopped
- 1 clove microplaned garlic
- 1-2 tsp microplaned fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- Grapeseed oil, canola oil, or other high smoke point oil
- Olive oil
- 1/4 cup brown rice*
- 1/2 grapefruit, supremed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook rice according to package.
- Prep your stir-fry ingredients - stir frying goes really quickly, so you want to make sure you have your ingredients ready to go!
- Line a sheet pan with foil, then scatter chopped cabbage evenly across surface. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Place in oven to roast for appx 15 minutes or until edges are browned and crispy.
- As cabbage cooks, line a sheet pan with foil, then place salmon portions on pan. Salt and pepper generously, then drizzle a splash of soy sauce across each piece. Drizzle a thin line of honey down each piece as well. (If you like heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes on top, too!)
- When cabbage is finished, pull out and set aside. Open the oven to let out some of heat, then drop the temperature to 350. Put salmon in oven for 6-10 minutes or until the pieces barely flake when you press them on top with a fork. I like mine a touch underdone in the middle, So I always start checking at 6 mins!
- Preheat your wok or heavy duty skillet on medium high to high heat until it is screaming hot.
- When hot, pour a teaspoon or small drizzle of grapeseed oil into the pan and let heat until rippling, swirling in your pan to coat.
- Place your bok choy and broccoli slaw in the pan, then don't stir for a minute or so to encourage some browning/char. Toss your garlic and ginger on top, but dont mix in until youve let the greens sit for a minute as described. After a minute or two undisturbed, toss everything well, mixing in the ginger and garlic thorougly. Let it all sit for a minute without stirring, then drizzle in your soy and rice wine vinegar, stirring to coat. Toss in your pre-roasted cabbage, stir to mix, then take off heat and put immediately onto plates (or serving dish) to halt cooking.
- If you made brown rice, divide evenly on plates, then divide veggies and top with grapefruit and salmon.
- *Double this to have leftover rice to use throughout the week!
- **Approximately 500 calories, according to MyFitnessPal.