Happy new year, friends! Just a reminder before we get too deep in the article, you don’t have to be a new you in the new year, that you’re worthy of love and all great things just as you are. With that said, we can always strive to polish ourselves and gift ourselves an easier, better life whenever possible. 

One way I like to polish myself is by striving to eat healthier instead of falling back into the comfort meals I already have in rotation. I’m a big advocate of comfort meals and comfort food in general, but too much of anything is not a good thing. That’s why it’s incredibly important to have a few healthy recipes in your arsenal that you can pull out in a pinch. Cooking healthier has to be a deliberate thing, which is why it is hard for people to continue on the healthy eating path. 

There are several reasons people start off strong with healthy eating habits and then trail off. One main reason is coming up with ideas that are both healthy and taste good. Another reason is the cost. My biggest advice to anyone who wants to forge a strong relationship with healthy eating habits is to prepare in advance. Whether it’s recipes or cost, preparation takes the bulk of the stress off your plate. 

I like to start off with a list of healthy meal ideas and pick a couple to make in a week and shop accordingly. Another way to minimize some of the cost is to find recipes that might use similar ingredients so you’re reducing the amount of new ingredients you purchase for each meal. 

I also like to buy certain things in bulk when possible where the quality of the item won’t be diminished. One thing I buy in bulk is salmon. I buy full filets and portion them myself, then I wrap each piece really well to freezer-proof them and store them in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. That way I can grab a piece or two anytime I need a quick, healthy meal without running to the store. This keeps me on track to eating healthy and reduces my overall costs. 

I make salmon more than other proteins, meaning I need to keep several recipe ideas on hand so we don’t get bored too quickly. I love a simple pan roasted or baked salmon most days, but this teriyaki salmon is worth the little extra effort. I try to make enough so we can save some for lunch the next day, too, because the flavors only get better. 

If you’re trying to eat healthier this year, I hope these tips and recipe help you pursue that goal successfully!

 

Teriyaki Salmon Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 salmon fillets 
  • 4 cups cooked Jasmine or brown rice
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 3-4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pinch of chili flakes, optional 

For the teriyaki sauce:

  • 6 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp. mirin or Sherry; or 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar mixed with 2 tsp. sugar and 2 tbsp. water
  • 6 tbsp. sake; or 4 tbsp. rice vinegar mixed with 2 tbsp. water 
  • 2 tbsp. honey, brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. water

To garnish:

  • 1 large ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • black sesame seeds
  • green onions, thinly sliced 
  • pickled onions or pickled ginger
  • edamame 
  • carrots, thinly sliced 

 

Directions:

1. For the sauce, whisk soy sauce, mirin, sake and honey. In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch and water and mix until smooth. Set aside. Remove 3 tbsp. of soy sauce mixture for marinating salmon. Place remaining soy mixture in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and continuously whisk until sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes.

2. Place salmon fillets in a Ziploc bag and add 3 tbsp. of soy mixture set aside earlier. Gently massage marinade into salmon, squeeze out extra air from bag and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Remove salmon from marinade and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and brush the top of each salmon fillet with a generous amount of teriyaki sauce. Return to oven and bake 3-5 minutes more until cooked through. This may depend on the thickness of your fish and heating of your oven. Remove from oven.

4. While the fish cooks, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in garlic, spinach, salt and pepper and chili flakes if using, toss to coat with olive oil. Cover and cook until just wilted and water has evaporated. 

5. To assemble bowls, place cooked rice in the bottom of each bowl. Divide sautéed spinach between the bowls and lay salmon over spinach. Garnish each bowl with a few slices of avocado, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, green onions, pickled onions or ginger, edamame and carrots. Drizzle remaining teriyaki sauce over finished bowls.

 

From Z to A with Zara Abbasi

Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit