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Types of salmon you should be eating

Karen Miner is the Food Associate Editor for SheKnows, ChefMom and FabulousFoods. She is a freelance writer, recipe developer and is also the cook, author and photographer behind the food blog, Tasty Trials, a collection of original reci...

Get to know your fish

Salmon season is upon us, and you'll find many varieties to choose from at the fish market. Find out the differences between these types of salmon, including the best choices for your health and the environment.
Marinated Salmon

We all know that salmon is a healthy meal choice full of protein and high in vitamins and nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.

But does the type of salmon you're eating matter? Some varieties are better than others; make these choices when choosing salmon.

What to eat

Wild-caught Alaskan salmon (also called Chinook, King, Keta, Coho, Sockeye or Sake) is named a "best choice" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch due to Alaska's best practices in fishery management. Similarly, salmon from Oregon, Washington and California are named as "good alternatives" for their lack of environmental impact, although a warning has recently been issued that salmon caught off the Washington coast could contain high levels of PCBs.

See which fish makes the best seafood choices >>

What to avoid

It is recommended that Atlantic salmon or farmed salmon be avoided as it can contain elevated levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), a highly toxic industrial compound. PCBs can accumulate in the sediment at the bottom of waters where fish are farmed and build up in the salmon, posing a health risk if eaten frequently. In addition, there are also negative environmental impacts to raising farmed salmon.

Lean more about why you should eat sustainable seafood >>

A quick dinner

Salmon can be a quick and easy meal with tons of flavor, since it doesn't require long marinating times and cooks in minutes. Try these simple recipe ideas the next time a salmon craving hits.

  • Drizzle salmon fillets with a mixture of soy sauce, honey and fresh ginger. Broil until cooked through, about 6-10 minutes. Serve with rice.
  • Fire up the grill and coat salmon fillets with a mixture of hot chili sauce and brown sugar. Grill on a piece of foil for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Lightly oil salmon fillets and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan and pan-sear salmon until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve over your favorite salad.
  • Using the same pan-seared method, add cooked salmon to a plate of Alfredo pasta.

Check out Cooking 101: Basic tips for grilling fish >>

More salmon recipes to try

Walnut crusted salmon recipe
Grilled salmon with orange-miso glaze and black sticky rice
Simple salmon recipes

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