What To Do With Leftover Salmon

Salmon is not only delicious, but it's also a very healthy food to eat. Medical News Today highlights its nutritional value, which includes being rich in protein and vitamins B3 and B12, as well as the minerals selenium and phosphorus. Most valuable, though, is the high level of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, which studies have linked to improved cardiovascular health and regulation of good cholesterol levels. Needless to say, this is the kind of food that certainly shouldn't be allowed to go to waste!

Thankfully, there are plenty of interesting things to do with a leftover fillet or two of salmon. The easiest, and perhaps most obvious, choice is simply to shred the leftovers and throw them into a pasta salad, particularly if your leftovers are already cooked. But why stop there? There are a variety of things to try cooking with salmon, ranging from quick and easy breakfasts to more involved dishes, all of which can yield delicious results. And after all, the satisfaction of a good homemade meal is part of the joy of eating it. So, the next time you find yourself unsure of what to do with leftover salmon, here are some awesome ideas.

Fry up a salmon and broccoli frittata

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, and the easiest way to make sure your body has enough is to get plenty of sunshine. Unfortunately, during the darkest months of the year, sunlight isn't exactly abundant, and this is a good reason to eat plenty of salmon. According to Harvard School of Public Health, fatty fish like salmon are some of the best sources of dietary vitamin D, with another fair source being egg yolks. This means that a salmon frittata can be a great breakfast on an overcast winter morning when vitamin D is in otherwise short supply.

A frittata is a kind of Italian omelet that's wholesome and easy to cook. Fairly similar to a Spanish tortilla, it's fried over medium heat in a heavy pan or skillet until the base is a rich golden color, giving a fuller flavor than a regular omelet. A great source of the energy to get through a busy morning, frittatas are flexible enough to incorporate whatever ingredients may be available, and salmon works very nicely. Even better, the combination of salmon and sautéed broccoli is particularly flavorful. As The Sentinel notes, this is an excellent pairing of flavors which also works well with olive oil and parmesan cheese.

Try making lohikeitto (Finnish salmon soup)

Soups are always a great way to use leftovers, and salmon can certainly work well in a rich and creamy fish chowder. Instead of using just any recipe though, you might want to consider some classic home cooking from Scandinavia. Lohikeitto, as Delighted Cooking explains, is a popular dish from Finland, where salmon is always readily available. The main ingredients of this wholesome soup are potatoes and chunks of salmon. Onion is added for extra flavor, and it's usually seasoned with fresh dill, a commonly used herb when cooking fish. The trick to cooking lohikeitto is timing. It isn't a difficult dish to make, but ingredients like cream and salmon should be added at the right time for the best results to avoid the cream from curdling and the salmon from falling apart completely.

A comforting dish, Food and Journeys mentions that lohikeitto works well as a winter soup, though, with the cold weather of Scandinavia, it's enjoyed year-round. Other ingredients which can be used in cooking include diced carrots and the white part from leeks, and it's recommended that fresh dill will give the best flavor to the finished soup. Most importantly though, is to use fish stock as a base. This is what gives the dish its deep and wholesome flavor, balancing the brighter notes of fresh herbs and black pepper.

Put some into quesadillas

Quesadillas should need no introduction. Enjoyed across Mexico and a favorite part of Tex-Mex cuisine, a quesadilla can be as filling as it is simple to make, and there are all kinds of variations out there. They can be made from either flour or corn tortillas, depending on whether you prefer Tex-Mex or classic Mexican style, and the only other essential ingredient is to stuff it with cheese. For a truly Mexican flavor, it's best to use queso Oaxaca, but The Plaza Restaurant & Bar notes that mozzarella can work just as well. Any other ingredients are entirely up to the cook, and salmon is a great choice.

Conveniently enough, salmon goes very nicely with many of the ingredients used in Mexican cooking, as it's distinctive not only for its spicy warmth but also for containing many sharp and sour flavors. Fragrant earthy aromas like cumin, oregano, and poblano peppers abound in Mexican cuisine, with the zesty fragrances of things like cilantro and lime. These tastes all combine well with fish, particularly salmon.

Make thot man pla (Thai fishcakes)

Thai cuisine is famous for its bright, complex flavors. It uses a variety of aromatic spices and, per The Guardian, uses a few distinctive ingredients like lemongrass stalks, galangal root, and makrut lime leaves. These give the characteristic fragrance of Thai cooking, and the key to capturing the authentic taste is to balance the four key flavors of salt, sweet, sour, and spice.

One important dietary staple in Thailand is fish. As Thailand Discovery explains, this has been true for centuries, with historical records dating back to the 13th century mentioning "plentiful fish" as being synonymous with a prosperous and peaceful nation. While salmon is not part of the usual diet in Southeast Asia, there's certainly no reason why it can't be included in homemade Thai cuisine.

A well-known Thai dish is thot man pla, better known to the Western world as Thai fishcakes. The word "pla" means fish, which may be more familiar from the name nam pla, the fish sauce often added to Thai cooking. South China Morning Post mentions that these fish cakes are a popular street food in Bangkok, where they're made to have the lightly springy texture, often enjoyed in East and Southeast Asian cuisine. The base for thot man pla is fish paste, which is often combined with leftover fish scraps, seasoned, and then fried. Best eaten hot and freshly cooked, Thai fish cakes can either be a tasty snack, or part of a filling meal.

Add it to a pâté au saumon (Quebecois salmon pie)

Despite how the name may sound, this is not salmon pâté! A widely eaten dish in Canadian cuisine is tourtière, which is essentially a meat pie. Hailing from Quebec, this meat pie is often spiced with cinnamon and cloves. Also known as a pâté à viande, per Britannica, this dish can contain a variety of different meats, including game meats like pheasant or even moose, and is an essential part of a classic Quebecois Christmas. Catholics have a traditional meal called réveillon, held on Christmas Eve after midnight mass, in which tourtière takes pride of place. Pâté au saumon is essentially a seafood version of the same dish.

Pâté au saumon, as Grow a Good Life explains, is well known among French Canadians. The dish was first created because salmon was easy to catch in the coastal Canadian rivers, and its popularity continued as canning factories made tinned salmon easy to find across Canada. A deep-filled pie with a golden flaky crust, it typically has a wholesome filling of potato, onion, and, of course, chunks of salmon. As an old dish, many recipes for this delicious savory pie were passed down among family members, so there's no one exact way to cook it. The pie filling isn't difficult to make, being essentially just mashed starchy potatoes with chunks of cooked salmon mixed into it.

Make some fresh salmon ravioli

A famous Italian dish, ravioli are small pasta dumplings now eaten across the world. Per Cucina Venti, ravioli have a long history, dating back to the 14th century when they were traditionally eaten on Fridays. Ravioli can be enjoyed as either a side dish or an appetizer (or possibly even a light lunch), and while they can often be found pre-made, it can be nice to try preparing them at home too. 

The traditional filling is a mixture of meat, chopped vegetables, and ricotta cheese, but, as with other types of dumpling, ravioli fillings can be as varied as the imagination of whoever's creating them. Salmon can make for a delicious option. The easiest way to make ravioli at home is to use store-bought pre-made pasta dough, though it's certainly possible to make this dish entirely from scratch. Leftover salmon can make for an excellent ingredient, and it can combine well with other Italian ingredients like ricotta or mozzarella di bufala, perhaps seasoned with some dill and black pepper.

Add it to fried rice

Famous as a Chinese comfort food, fried rice is a dish eaten in various forms across Asia. Per TripZilla, the different types of fried rice are as varied as the cultures they come from, ranging from Japanese chahan (though it has Chinese origins) to Indonesian nasi goreng. However, it wasn't always the celebrated Asian staple known today. The origin of fried rice was more humble, as it was an easy and delicious way to use up leftovers. The result is a flexible dish which can incorporate practically any ingredients at all, and leftover salmon can be a flavorful addition to any variety of fried rice dish.

The flavor of salmon can go very nicely with typical East Asian cooking ingredients, like ginger, garlic, and soy sauce, making it a fine addition to any fried rice recipe. The trick to making a fried dish with fish is not to add it too soon. Most fish will easily fall apart when overcooked and salmon is no exception, so it's best to add it late and after the meal has mostly finished cooking. Easy to prepare, fried rice can make for a wholesome lunch, and is also a great way to use up a bowl of leftover rice.

Deep fry some accras de saumon

A popular dish in the Antilles, accras are have their origins in Africa, per France-Voyage.com. They're a type of small fritter that are light and fluffy in the center, and crispy on the outside. Usually made with cod, they can just as easily include other types of fish or vegetables, and the latter version is traditionally served on Good Friday. In Martinique, accras were a common breakfast food in the 20th century, but they can be enjoyed as a snack at any time of day.

Accras of various kinds are enjoyed across the Caribbean, per Culture Trip, and each island has its own local variations and specialties. A common type, accras de morue, have salt fish as the main ingredient. A signature dish in Martiniquan cuisine, these are also a popular bite-sized food in France. A batch of accras can be just as easily made with any kind of fish though, and salmon can be a delicious choice. It's fast and easy to use some leftover salmon to whip up a batch of accras de saumon, whether for breakfast or as an evening snack.

Bake a salmon casserole

Casserole is best known as a wholesome working-class meal in various parts of the world, and it has a surprisingly long history. As MasterClass explains, the name itself has Greek origins, and casserole dishes have been enjoyed in Europe since at least Medieval times. A slow-cooked oven-baked dish, the simplicity of the casserole is key to its long-standing success as an easy dinner during the working week. Understandably for such an old dish, there are a host of variations, from the corn chip casserole eaten in the American Southwest to the Ashkenazi Jewish dish kugel. Tuna casserole, made with canned tuna, is a widely eaten type; however, almost any recipe which includes tuna can just as easily include salmon instead.

A casserole is a great way to use all sorts of leftover foods, and salmon is definitely no exception. It's also a good way to enjoy vegetables (including broccoli) and, while a casserole can make a hearty dinner, it can work just as well for breakfast. A salmon and potato breakfast casserole is easy to make with last night's leftovers, and is filling enough to help get through a busy morning.

Whip up salmon carbonara

Italy is the birthplace of a variety of colorful and delicious foods, from light daytime meals to filling evening meals. A firm favorite is carbonara, which is particularly popular in Italy's Lazio region, home to the ancient city of Rome (via La Cucina Italiana). Modern variations of carbonara are often deliciously creamy, with flavors of garlic and butter, but, perhaps surprisingly, these aren't actually part of the original recipe. Spaghetti, however, has always been the classic base for a good carbonara, though other Italian noodles like fettuccine or linguine can fit just as well.

Recipes for carbonara very often contain bacon or, more properly, pancetta, to give the flavor that the dish is known for. As an interesting alternative, salmon can taste very good as a substitute, making a salmon carbonara a convenient way to use up a leftover salmon fillet. Hearty and wholesome, a good carbonara can be a good choice for either a light lunch or a soothing dinner.

Make a salade Niçoise au saumon

Probably among the most famous types of salad is the Niçoise, hailing from the French city of Nice. An artfully arranged dish, this salad is a full meal in itself and, per Munchery, the exact ingredients change with the seasons. Depending on what vegetables are freshly harvested, a salade Niçoise may include things like haricot beans, artichoke hearts, or red bell peppers. Boiled eggs and new potatoes are also common ingredients for a more substantial meal. A proudly French dish, the people of Nice are quite protective of their salad. Erudus notes that Jacques Médecin, a former mayor of the city, was so disgruntled by some ideas of how to make a salade Niçoise that he wrote his own cookbook to showcase local cuisine. So, he may not be too pleased with the idea of including leftover salmon in this classic dish from the French Riviera.

Among the traditional ingredients of this filling salad are anchovies, though variations of this salad from around the world often include tuna chunks. Substituting tuna for salmon in a salade Niçoise is most likely not the way it's served in Nice, but salmon can make a delicious addition all the same. For a salade Niçoise au saumon, be sure to choose the freshest seasonal vegetables for this hearty and refreshing dish.

Grill some salmon burgers

In Alaska, where salmon is readily available, salmon burgers are a popular and tasty dish, and pre-made salmon burgers aren't difficult to come by. Quicker and easier to prepare than might be expected, a batch of delicious salmon burger patties are, at their essence, a mixture of cooked, mashed salmon combined with breadcrumbs and beaten egg for binding. The mixture also benefits from the addition of some lightly fried vegetables, like finely chopped bell peppers and onions, making the burgers both more flavorsome and moist. Home recipes for salmon burgers often use canned salmon as their main ingredient, but leftover salmon fillets are likely an even better-tasting alternative.

Once the salmon burger patties are made, they can be either grilled or pan-fried much like any other kind of burger, per ChefsTemp. Gourmets have plenty of additional tips on how to prepare the best salmon burgers, right down to what type of salmon is used to cook them. Expert advice is also to be mindful of what temperature the burgers are cooked at. Lower heat is better with salmon burgers, both to be certain they're cooked through before serving, and also to ensure the finished burgers don't become too dry, as salmon can quickly lose moisture at higher temperatures.

Add it to a fisherman's pie

Many people from the UK will likely have fond memories of shepherd's pie, baked to perfection in the oven for a cozy evening meal. A classic and comforting home-cooked dish, it's a type of pot pie filled with ground meat and vegetables like chopped onion, diced carrots, and green peas. Most importantly though, a shepherd's pie is topped not with crisp pastry, but with mashed potatoes. Deliciously warming in cold weather, there are a few variations of shepherd's pie, and a popular alternative is a fisherman's pie, which replaces the ground meat with fish.

A hearty dish, fisherman's pie is essentially a rich chowder topped with buttery mashed potatoes, golden and crispy on top, often with cheese mixed in for added flavor. As Cook's Illustrated explains, various types of fish can be baked into a fisherman's pie, and popular choices are cod, shellfish, and salmon. Smoked fish can also be used to impart some extra flavor into the dish, but it's best not to worry too much about what to include. This is pure comfort food to relax with, and some diced leftover salmon will fit the bill perfectly. Britain may not exactly be known for its cuisine, but this is one dish that's certainly worth trying.