Homeskillet Real Food Feels Good

Wild Salmon & Quinoa Skillet Dinner for Healthy Joints

Jul 31 2013

Salmon! Fresh off the boat! Wild-caught Alaskan salmon! We’ve all heard that salmon is an excellent health food, but most of what’s sold is farmed, pale and flavorless. Scientists are even genetically-modifying salmon and that’s some Frankenfish you don’t want to touch… and we definitely don’t want them to breed with real salmon. Seemingly these interventions are to keep a steady supply of such a high-demand commodity protein. As much as I’d like to eat salmon several times a week, I just don’t. I pay the premium price for fresh Alaskan salmon a few times in the summer and then have frozen salmon later in the year. I also supplement with high-quality fish oils. Pacific salmon has been overfished and even disappeared in Pacific Northwest rivers. Slowly salmon is making a comeback, thanks to the efforts of sustainable fisheries, and there’s great sources of Alaskan salmon with  low risk for mercury-contamination. This is the time of year to savor flavorful, meaty salmon from Alaskan rivers and celebrate its incredible health benefits.

Salmon is the just about the finest source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are hugely beneficial to cellular function, mood and cognition, cardiovascular health, and immune system regulation. Omega-3s have also been shown to help protect against multiple cancers and prevent unwanted inflammation in the body. Salmon has incredible potential to support joint health and recovery from stress and strain. In addition to the anti-inflammatory properties from omega-3s, along with its high joint-supportive selenium content, new research indicates that a special protein molecule called calicitonin in salmon plays a role in maintaining collagen and minerals in our bones and connective tissues.

Fresh Wild Alaskan Salmon | Homeskillet

On top of all that, many of the ingredients in this primarily seasonal recipe also contribute to joint health. To name a few, spinach (available year-round) contains a variety of nutrients that are good for our bones and joints, including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and folic acid. Lemon provides extra vitamin C (which is vital for collagen production) and scents the dish with its fragrant flavor, while turmeric, one of my favorite and most potent healing foods, adds powerful anti-inflammatory properties and little more complexity to the grains. Even, quinoa, which is high in protein, healthy fats, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can be healthy for the joints among people who tolerate grains (quinoa is not technically a grain, but we call it one anyway). I do want to note, that since this gluten-free superfood has triggered some controversy in recent years as another commodity food, we can look for information about sourcing and eat it in moderation.

So whether you are an athlete, dealing with a joint-related illness, or looking to strengthen your body with real food nutrition, this dinner should hit the spot.

Wild Salmon with Quinoa and Chive Oil | Homeskillet

* This recipe was updated in July of 2015

by Adrienne Lee Farmer
Skill Level Medium
Cook Time Medium < 1 hr
Serves 4
Wild Salmon with Quinoa and Lemon Chive Oil

Wild Salmon with Quinoa and Lemon Chive Oil

Rich, flavorful salmon from the Pacific coast is fresh in these summer months. Salmon is one of the healthiest foods we can eat, with anti-inflammatory and brain-boosting omega-3 fats, along with a high selenium content which can reduce joint inflammation and protect against cancers. Spinach, lemon and turmeric offer vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, along with a depth of flavor that makes quinoa shine. Fast and filling quinoa is high in protein, healthy fats, and anti-inflammatory compounds. This nourishing dinner will hit the spot after a long day or a good workout!


  • 4 wild salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick and 5 ounces each, skin on and pin bones removed
  • 2 tablespoons pasture-raised ghee
  • 1 ½ cup quinoa, soaked overnight in 2 cups water with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, then rinsed thoroughly and strained (or use sprouted quinoa)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 ¼ cups homemade chicken broth, vegetable stock or filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups spinach, finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • lemon wedges, for finishing


Preheat the oven to 200°F, adjust the rack to the middle position, and place a baking dish on the rack to warm it.

Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee on medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or stainless steel sauté pan. Place the fillets in the skillet, flesh-side down. Do your best not to crowd the pan. Cook until the salmon is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

Gently remove the fillets from the skillet and transfer to the warmed baking dish, skin-side down. Place in the oven and bake until the fish turns from translucent to opaque, about 10 minutes, or cook more or less depending on level of doneness you prefer. Remove from oven and tent lightly with foil until the rest of the dish is ready.              

While the fish is baking, prepare the quinoa. Wipe out the skillet, add one tablespoon ghee and turn the heat on medium-high. Add the quinoa and toast, stirring continuously for a minute or two, until the quinoa turns gives off a nutty aroma. Stir in the garlic, shallot, turmeric, and lemon zest and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Pour in the stock or water with a pinch of salt, stir well and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender, but not mushy.

Meanwhile, make the lemon chive oil by whisking together the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of minced chives, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and tiny pinch of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Once the quinoa has finished cooking, remove the pan from heat. Quickly take off the lid and sprinkle the peas and spinach over the quinoa and cover. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, gently stir in the remaining two tablespoons of minced chives and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with grated Parmesan.                

To serve, drizzle a little chive oil over the salmon and quinoa, and serve with lemon wedges, for extra lemon juice to squeeze over the fish just before eating.


Homeskillet Notes

  • For a dairy-free dish, replace the ghee with avocado oil and the Parmesan cheese with toasted pinenuts.
  • If you'd like more veggie action, serve with sliced tomatoes, roasted asparagus, a side salad or any fresh vegetable that complements the dish.
  • You can use garlic chives in place of regular chives.


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Categorized: Main Dish, Skillet Meals

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