Healthy Recipe, Salmon Patties

There are many great reasons for always keeping a can of salmon in your pantry: It’s inexpensive, has a long shelf life, and is an excellent source of protein and good-for-the-heart omega 3s. And with a few other staples it can transform into a delicious dinner in minutes. This is a case in point. Both the patties and the sauce are infinitely adaptable to other tasty tidbits you have on hand. Serves 4-6. – Susan Puckett Sauce

  • ½ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salmon Patties

  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can salmon
  • ½ cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more, as needed


  • In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, capers, lemon juice, and zest. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Drain the salmon, reserving the liquid. Place the salmon in a medium bowl. Add breadcrumbs, onion, egg, and mustard; mix well to combine.
  • Shape the mixture into 8 to 12 patties and set them on a tray, adding reserved liquid from the salmon if the mixture is too dry. Line a plate with paper towels and set near the stove.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and add patties, leaving several inches of space in between. Cook until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Add a little more oil and repeat with the remaining patties.
  • Serve patties with the sauce.

Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at

Healthy Recipe, Broiled Sea Bass 

Fresh fish doesn’t need a lot. Just a little TLC. This recipe, adapted from Eric Ripert’s “Seafood Simple,” calls for running the fillets under an oven broiler set on low (400 degrees), which also keeps it from falling apart upon flipping. The fish is seasoned only with salt and pepper, and then dressed with a vinaigrette in which lemon halves are charred before squeezing, giving it a deep, slightly smoky dimension. Serves 4. Ingredients

  • 1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and halved
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced chives, plus more for garnish
  • Canola or other neutral oil for the skillet and for brushing
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sauteing
  • 1 bunch broccolini, thick stems removed, or broccoli or asparagus
  • Big pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 sea bass fillets
  • Pepper


  • Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water by an inch. Add a couple of teaspoons of sea salt, bring to a boil, and cook 8 to 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife. Drain, stir in chives, cover and keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the skillet with a little neutral oil and place the lemon halves cut side down on the hot skillet. Cook until charred, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl, then strain out the seeds into another small bowl. Stir in the vinegar and a pinch of sea salt, to taste. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified; set aside.
  • Place broccolini in a large skillet, cover with about 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, and cook until bright green, 1 or 2 minutes. Drain. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil, or enough to cover the bottom. Add the blanched broccolini to the pan and cook until crisp-tender and tips of florets are slightly charred, for 2 or 3 minutes. Season with red pepper flakes and salt and set aside.
  • Set an oven rack 4 inches under the heat source and preheat the broiler to low. Set the fish fillets on a plate and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place on a sheet pan (lined with foil for easy clean-up), and brush fillets lightly with neutral oil. Place under the broiler and broil for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Check for doneness by inserting a metal skewer in the thickest part of the fish for 5 seconds; it should be warm to the touch on your wrist when done.
  • Transfer the fish to a platter or individual plates, surround with potatoes and broccolini, and pour enough vinaigrette over all to cover (leftover dressing will keep covered in the refrigerator for at least a week). Serve immediately.

Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at

Healthy Recipe, Sweet Pea Pesto Crostinis

Healthy Recipe, Broiled Gochujang-Glazed Salmon

Gochujang is a Korean fermented pepper paste with a spicy-sweet, pungent flavor that can take the bland out of practically anything. Here it’s the key ingredient in a simple glaze that’s brushed on omega-rich salmon fillets. Pair it with your favorite green vegetable or any grain for a simple but elegant meal. Leftovers are great flaked into a rice bowl with veggies. Adapted from Serves 4. – Susan Puckett Ingredients

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 2 teaspoons mirin
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 4 (4- to 6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 or 2 thinly sliced scallions
  • Black or white toasted sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Position a rack 4 to 5 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler to high.
  2. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking oil spray. Set aside.
  3. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, stir together the gochujang, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger until blended.
  4. Place the salmon on the prepared pan (skin-side down if skin on) and sprinkle lightly with salt. Run under the broiler for 2 minutes.
  5. Brush the salmon with the glaze and broil 3 to 5 minutes longer, depending on thickness, just when the flesh begins to flake when pressed with a fork.
  6. Transfer to a platter or serving plate and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, if desired.

Healthy Recipe, Charred Broccoli

“Scrumptious” isn’t a word you often hear to describe broccoli, but it applies to this recipe, lightly adapted from Michal Korkosz’s “Polish’d: Modern Vegetarian Cooking from Global Poland.” Charring the florets lends a smoky flavor enhanced by a drizzle of tangy soy-based dressing that gives a boost of umami, or “fifth flavor.” A dollop of lemony mayo provides a richness and creamy contrast. Poppy seeds add a flavor and crunch. Serves 4. — Susan Puckett


  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (or other sweetener, to taste)
  • 1/3 cup regular or vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1 pound broccoli (1 large or 2 medium heads)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Make the fifth flavor sauce: In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 3 tablespoons of water.
  • Make the lemony mayo: In another small bowl, mix mayo and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt.
  • Prepare the broccoli: Cut off the stem, separate the florets, and cut each floret in half lengthwise.
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, add the broccoli florets cut-side down and char them until dark spots appear, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully pour ½ cup water into the skillet and cook until the water evaporates, and the broccoli is cooked through but still retains some crunch.
  • Place the broccoli on serving plates and drizzle with the fifth flavor sauce. Add a dollop of the lemony mayo alongside. Sprinkle with the poppy seeds and season with pepper before serving.

Stewed Chickpeas with Spinach and Goat Cheese

This warm and fortifying vegetarian stew is adapted from one shared by Nadia Ghulam, an Afghan cook now based in Madrid, to serve to refugees for a project featured in “The World Central Kitchen Cookbook” by the humanitarian organization’s founder, chef Jose Andres. It’s quick and easy and loaded with flavor and goodness. The creamy, tangy goat cheese sauce adds an extra boost of protein and richness. Serves 4-6. – Susan Puckett

Goat Cheese Sauce:

• ½ cup whole milk or cream

• 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

• ½ teaspoon ground cumin

• ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste


• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

• 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped

• 1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped

• 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice

• 1 cup tomato puree

• 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

• 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

• ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

• ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

• ½ teaspoon salt

• 8 ounces spinach leaves, roughly chopped

• 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, undrained

• 1 ½ cups vegetable stock or water

• Freshly ground black pepper • ½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish

  1. Make the goat cheese sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the milk, goat cheese, and cumin. Bring to a simmer over low heat (do not let it boil) and cook, stirring regularly, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature while you make the stew.
  2. Make the stew: In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the red and green bell peppers and continue cooking until they soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the tomato puree, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and salt and mix well.
  4. Add the spinach in batches, stirring so that the leaves wilt into the mixture. Add the chickpeas and their liquid and the stock and increase the heat to medium-high. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the stew is thickened to desired consistency. Taste and season with pepper and more salt, if desired.
  5. Ladle the stew into bowls. Stir the goat cheese sauce well — it should be thick and creamy. Add a dollop of the sauce to each serving and sprinkle with parsley or cilantro. Serve warm!

Healthy Recipe, Creamy Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic

For many, a holiday feast isn’t complete without a side of mashed potatoes. Make it healthier by using, cauliflower- it can make a wonderfully satisfying stand-in. You may never crave mashed potatoes again. Serves 4.


1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (cut stem into bite-size pieces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons goat cheese or cream cheese
½ teaspoon salt
A few grindings of black pepper (plus more, to taste)
Chopped parsley or chives for garnish (optional)


1. Place a steamer basket insert into a large saucepan; fill the pan with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Add the cauliflower, cover the pot, and steam for 10 to 15 minutes, or until very tender.
3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic; cook and stir until softened, taking care not to burn, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. Transfer half the cauliflower to a food processor; cover and process on high until finely chopped. Add the rest of the florets, one at a time, and process until creamy. Blend in the cooked garlic with the oil, the cheeses, salt, and pepper.
5. Remove to a bowl and taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley or chives and serve hot.


Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at


Healthy Recipe, Skinny Chocolate Brownies

Here’s an idea for a healthier way to get your holiday chocolate fix. From Yummy Healthy Easy.
· 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
· 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
· 1/2 tsp. salt
· 1/4 tsp. baking soda
· 1 cup packed brown sugar
· 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
· 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
· 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate melted
· 2 large eggs
· 2 Tbsp. olive oil
· 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8×8 square pan with cooking spray then line with a strip of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Spray paper with cooking spray, too.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In another medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, applesauce, Greek yogurt, melted chocolate, eggs and oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until just moistened.
  4. Spread batter in prepare pan. Sprinkle the top with the chopped chocolate pieces.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 30-35 minutes.

139 calories, 23g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 5g fat, 17g sugar

Healthy Recipe, Winter Crisp

Need something to do with cranberries and apples? Try this tart and tangy fruit dessert that’s just perfect on a cold winter night. 


For filling: 

½ C sugar or sugar substitute
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
1 tsp grated lemon peel 
¾ tsp lemon juice 
5 C apples, unpeeled, sliced 
1 C cranberries 

For topping: 

⅔ C rolled oats 
⅓ C brown sugar, packed 
¼ C whole-wheat flour 
2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 Tbsp soft margarine, melted 


1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
2. To prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and lemon peel. Mix well. Add the lemon juice, apples, and cranberries; stir to mix. Spoon into a 6-cup baking dish.
3. To prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, whole-wheat flour, and cinnamon. Add the melted margarine; stir to mix.
4. Sprinkle the topping over the filling. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the top is brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
From the National Institutes of Health.

Healthy Recipe, Scattered Sushi

Few of us have the time or inclination to roll sushi at home. But here’s an easy way to enjoy those flavors and textures at home when fussy presentation isn’t a priority. In her new cookbook, “The Secret of Cooking: Recipes for an Easier Life in the Kitchen” (Norton, $40), Bee Wilson suggests cooking up a batch of the sticky short grain rice used for sushi and then serving it communal style, as is often done in Japanese households, with various tidbits scattered over the top. Serves 4.


  • 1 ½ cups short-grain (sushi) rice
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 to 7 ounces smoked trout, salmon, or other smoked fish
  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons white or black sesame seeds
  • Pickled ginger and wasabi for serving


  1. Place rinsed rice in medium pot with 1¾ cups water over medium heat and simmer. Cover, reduce heat to lowest setting, cook 12 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest, covered, 10 minutes. 
  2. In small bowl, mix vinegar, sugar, and salt until sugar and salt dissolve. Transfer warm rice to large bowl and gradually drizzle vinegar mixture over rice, mixing until grains are all coated. 
  3. Cover bowl until ready to eat. (It’s best served warm or at room temperature, but if not eaten within 2 hours it should be refrigerated.)
  4. Place rice in wide serving bowl or on platter. Tear fish into bite-size pieces. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise and slice in thin half-moons. Peel, seed, and slice avocado and squeeze lemon juice over slices.
  5. Scatter fish, avocado, cucumber evenly over rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with pickled ginger and wasabi on side.

Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at