Navigating through my fifties, there’s nothing I cherish more than a meal that is as delectable as it is nutritionally robust. The Mediterranean landscape, with its sun-kissed shores and vibrant culture, inspired this dish. Marrying the richness of salmon with the hearty texture of chickpeas, this recipe is a symphony of flavors, perfectly balanced for a low-carb, high-protein meal that caters specifically to our unique nutritional needs at my age — and at any age!
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a nutritional powerhouse, especially beneficial for women over 40 transitioning through perimenopause and menopause. As women navigate this natural life stage, they often grapple with bone density loss, fluctuating hormones, and an increased risk of heart disease. Chickpeas not only offer vital nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K to bolster bone health, but they are also a rich source of phytoestrogens. These plant compounds can mimic the body’s own estrogen, potentially helping to alleviate some menopausal symptoms. Moreover, with their high content of plant-based protein and fiber, chickpeas can stabilize blood sugar levels, satiate hunger, and promote digestive wellness. While they do contain carbohydrates, their low glycemic index ensures a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream, reducing the potential for sugar spikes. For those on a low-carb journey, integrating chickpeas judiciously, balanced with proteins and healthy fats, can avail their myriad benefits without derailing carb-conscious objectives.
Salmon, often hailed as a superfood, boasts a wealth of nutritional benefits, with its protein content being particularly noteworthy. A single serving provides a substantial dose of high-quality protein, which plays an essential role in muscle maintenance, bone health, and the overall function of our bodies. Beyond protein, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, known for supporting heart health, reducing inflammation, and aiding brain function. Additionally, salmon is a great source of B vitamins, which are pivotal for energy production, DNA repair, and maintaining optimal nerve function. The presence of antioxidants, primarily astaxanthin, further enhances its profile, aiding in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. Whether you’re seeking a protein punch or a medley of essential nutrients, salmon stands out as a formidable choice.
Mediterranean Salmon with Chickpea and Tomato Sauce
- 8 oz salmon
- Olive oil for coating and sautéing
- 1 can chickpeas I recommend the pre-seasoned chickpeas with parsley and cumin from Trader Joe’s
- 2 cups Fresh cherry or grape tomatoes quantity based on preference
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley for garnishing
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp Za’atar
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prep the Salmon: Begin by coating the salmon generously with olive oil. Mix the spice ingredients in a bowl and rub it over the salmon ensuring an even coat. Allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, though up to four hours is ideal.
- Air Fry the Salmon: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Once marinated, place the salmon in the air fryer and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Roast the Tomatoes: While the salmon is cooking, you can roast the tomatoes to elevate their flavor. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper. Broil them for about 8 to 12 minutes.
- Sauté the Chickpeas: In a pan, warm some olive oil over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and the same spice mixture used for the salmon. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes ensuring the chickpeas are well-coated with the spices.
- Make the Chickpea and Tomato Sauce: Introduce the roasted tomatoes to the pan with the chickpeas. Allow them to simmer together for 10 to 12 minutes until the tomatoes break down, resulting in a delightful saucy consistency.
- Plate & Enjoy: In a bowl, layer the chickpea and tomato sauce at the base, gently place the cooked salmon on top, and garnish with fresh parsley.
The harmony of flavors in this dish – the richness of salmon and the earthy foundation of chickpeas – is something you wouldn’t want to miss. It’s a journey to the Mediterranean, from the comfort of your home. Enjoy!
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