You Heart What You Eat: Salmon Cakes |

You Heart What You Eat: Salmon Cakes

Tera Johnson-Swartz shares one of her favorite summer dishes

— Before we had kiddos and moved to Steamboat Springs, we lived in Los Angeles, California, home of the best grocery store of all time: Trader Joe’s. TJ’s was our safe haven for sampling foods we probably otherwise wouldn’t have known existed.

It was our date night to splurge on yummy wedges of cheese and wine when we were fresh out of college and too poor to go out, and it just so happened to be the place where we discovered one of our favorite summer dishes, salmon patties (a.k.a. Salmon cakes).

When we moved to Steamboat and far from our favorite store, it was hard to adjust in finding creative ways to satisfy our cravings of our favorite TJ products, but we’ve been fortunate to make a replica of the salmon patties pretty close to the ones we used to buy.

Salmon is probably the filet mignon of the fish world when it comes to health benefits. I mean, where else can you find something with 236 percent daily value of vitamin B12 and 128 percent of vitamin D from a little 4.0 ounce piece? Not to mention the high doses of selenium (78 percent), vitamin B3 (56 percent), omega-3 fats (55 percent), protein (53 percent) and phosphorus (52 percent).

The list could go on and on, but another unusual ingredient that I’ve begun to incorporate in my patties has been almond meal. It is loaded with manganese, copper and riboflavin, giving you more help with energy production and lowering the risk of weight gain by keeping your blood sugars more stable and your tummy fuller for longer — what’s not to love?

So without further adieu, here’s the scoop on how to make our favorite salmon cakes. They’re great to make ahead of time and freeze for easier prepped meals to store too.

Salmon Cakes 

  • 12 oz. salmon pre-cooked, cooled and shredded (wild preferable)
1⁄2 med. red onion diced finely

  • 1/8 cup chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1/8 cup chopped chives (optional)

  • 1 clove finely diced garlic
  • 2 eggs beaten

  • 1⁄4 cup almond meal

  • 1⁄4 cup panko crumbs (Italian blend optional)
  • 2 tbs. butter

  • 3 tbs. olive oil

Combining your shredded salmon, dry ingredients and herbs, add eggs and mix with your hands until just blended. If the mixture appears too dry, add another egg, and if too wet, a bit more crumbs or almond meal. Form mixture into patties. For those you do not wish to grill and eat right away, you may refrigerate or freeze in a sealed container until further use.

For those you wish to eat right away, melt butter and oil in a pan browning patties on both sides (about 4 to 5 minutes per side until golden in color). Place cooked patties on a paper towel to drain excess oil and serve over salad or on a bun. They’re delicious served with a small dollop of hot and sweet mustard. Enjoy!

You Heart What You Eat is a weekly blog offering a twist of healthy alternative tips and recipes for some of our most coveted comfort foods. From decadent desserts to main dish favorites, you’ll surely look forward to our next edition. Questions or suggestions you’d like included in one of our future blogs should be directed to Tera Johnson-Swartz via email at

Tera Johnson-Swartz is a mommy first, but also enjoys working one of her many, many side gigs whether it be freelance writing, music, massage therapy, independent childbirth, lactation or health educating. She is eternally grateful she is able to follow her passion each and every day and loves her supporting husband and their two young children  and couldn’t imagine living a better life outside the city limits of Steamboat Springs.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.