Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall Flavored Omega-3s

The main course of the birthday dinner was Maple-Balsamic Salmon served over Pumpkin Risotto. I've really started to love risottos and the pumpkin really adds to the creamy texture I adore. I used the traditional fall pumpkin spice complement to tie this dish together-- maple, cloves, and ginger in the fish and cinnamon and pumpkin in the risotto. The result was a perfectly matched fall dish!

If you choose not to eat fish, the pumpkin risotto is lovely on it's own. I choose to eat fish for several key nutrients, including its heme-based iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. Heme-based iron and vitamin B12 can only be found in animal-based foods and a deficiency of these can lead to anemia, which I know from experience is not pleasant! We'll discuss those more in depth later. Today, we'll focus on the omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in supporting brain function, cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, and even easing depression. EPH and DHA, two potent omega-3s only found in animal sources have been most strongly linked to cardiovascular benefits.

So now that you know why this dish is amazing for you, dig in!

Pumpkin Risotto
(If you don't eat fish, this makes a great main course by itself)

1 cup risotto/ arborio rice
1 can pumpkin puree (15.8oz)
3 to 4 cups water
1/4c Parmesan cheese or 1/4c nutritional yeast (to make the recipe vegan or for an additional protein boost)
red pepper flakes
2-3 scallions, diced (or a few slices of diced onion)
1 bullion cube (broken up)

1. Saute the scallions with a dash of garlic, cinnamon, the broken up bullion cube and a splash of water tom avoid greasing the pan.
2. Add in the risotto rice. Saute the rice for 1 minute.
3. Add 1 cup of water/ broth to the risotto. Stir until absorbed. (You don't need to stir quite constantly, but it's much more stirring than regular rice).
4. Repeat step 6 with the 2nd and 3rd cups of water.
5. After 3 cups, your risotto may be done, check the texture to see if it's to your taste. If it's still too firm, add the last 1/4 to 1 cup of water slowly in 1/4 cup increments. Stop when the risotto is firm enough for your liking.
6. Add the can of pumpkin puree and Parmesan cheese. Garnish with additional cinnamon and chili pepper.

Maple-Balsamic Glazed Salmon

1/4c maple syrup
2T balsamic vinegar
3T water
1/2t cloves
dash ginger (adding too much ginger will make this teriyaki-like)
wild caught Atlantic salmon fillets

Combine the maple, vinegar, cloves and ginger in a small bowl. As much as I love ginger, use a light hand, as adding too much will give this a teriyaki flavor rather than the fall medley we're going for. If it's too sweet or too tart for your tastes, add more vinegar or syrup (respectively) to your tastes. Once the glaze has been perfected, transfer it to a ziplock bag containing the salmon fillets. Close (removing as much air from the bag as possible) and let marinate in the fridge for a few hours. When you start the risotto, pre-heat the over to 375F. Transfer salmon to pan covered with excess aluminum foil. Curl up the edges of the aluminum foil and pour the extra marinade over the salmon. Form a "tent" over the salmon with the long edges of the aluminum foil to keep the moisture in. Cook 25 to 30 minutes until tender. Serve over the pumpkin risotto.


  1. sounds good! i'll try it. Z loves fish too!

  2. This looks amazing, Stef! I love the idea of this risotto - will be making it on Monday:)

  3. Thanks, guys! Let me know how it turns out for you :)