my go-to 15 min meal: one pan seared salmon & kale
You know that feeling at the end of a long day when you just want some simple, hearty, nourishing food but don't want to spend a whole lot of time making it? Yeah, same.
I used to come back from work exhausted out of my mind and get sweetgreen or hit up the Whole Foods prepared food section. While neither of those were unhealthy options, it was taking a toll on my wallet. And honestly, I do think the food I make tastes better because I control what ingredients go in it.
Somewhere along the way, I figured out my magic formula for a quick, easy, and filling dinner. If you follow me on Insta, then you know that salmon, avocado, and kale are my staples. Sometimes I throw in an egg or add some other veggies, but those three are my base. Basically, it's what my roommates, real-life friends, and Insta friends call a classic "Nancy meal."
On another note, I'm a huge fan of a glass of wine to unwind at the end of the day. I think that's one of the best tests of moderation — sipping and enjoying a glass instead of slamming back as many as you can.
But more on great wines later. First, let's hop into these basics: I'll let you know how I prepare this simple plate and variations that you can use.
one pan seared salmon and kale
serves: 1 | gluten free, grain free, dairy free, paleo | time: 15 minutes
- 1 fillet wild salmon (you can use frozen if you want — I love the Costco packs of frozen wild Alaskan sockeye; I just keep them in my freezer and it's a lifesaver — or you can use fresh)
- 1/4 bunch organic kale, washed and chopped
- 1 tsp ghee, coconut oil, tallow, avocado oil, olive oil, or any other oil of choice
- Seasonings of choice (I like salt, pepper, cayenne, and a squeeze of lemon)
- Heat oil up in a medium pan. Take the salmon and salt both sides. If frozen, let defrost slightly (you don't have to let it defrost all the way). When the oil is hot, place on the pan skin side up.
- Cook on that side on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon. Flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes. If the salmon is frozen, it'll take longer — cook it covered for an additional 2 minutes/side.
- Remove from heat and set aside. In the same pan, cook your kale on high heat. You may have to add a bit of water to let it cook faster. Tt should take about 2-3 minutes.
- Season both kale and salmon to taste, and enjoy with 1/2 an avocado.
Variations to try:
- Add a fried egg
- Use salmon belly, salmon collar, or swordfish (these cook faster) and omit the avocado (since they're also fattier pieces)
- Add defrosted broccoli, cauliflower rice, and butternut squash
- Add sauerkraut or hot sauce
But no meal is complete without wine.
One of the perks of being over 21? Enjoying a glass of wine with your meal.
I didn't grow up with my parents drinking wine, but when I traveled in Europe, I was enamored by the idea of relaxing with a glass of wine during dinner. I think it forces you to be more mindful of what you're eating, which is always a great thing.
Even as a college student, I don't think that life should be spent subpar food or drinking subpar wine. I try to eat organic most of the time, and when I found that organic wine existed, I was happily surprised.
I also assumed all wine was vegan. Sorry, vegan friends, for my ignorance — I was wrong. I'm clearly not vegan, but one of my roommates is and I'm glad that I've found a vegan wine that I can share with her. Wine is meant to be enjoyed together, after all.
The wine that I tried is Natura Wines. They have organic, natural, Chilean wines — I'm a huge fan of reds, so I picked out a Pinot Noir for this dinner. Yes, I know seafood typically pairs with white, but let me explain myself:
This Pinot was light, refreshing, and similar to a white, except a little more full-bodied. It'd be a great summer wine and would be good both cold and room temperature. It tastes better with seafood or pasta dishes — something lighter — rather than steak or heavier dishes.
What's your favorite go-to meal? Let me know in the comments below!