If losing weight -or, more in general, eating a more wholesome diet- is on your card this year, I’ve got you! One of the biggest challenges when starting to regain control of our health is often sustainability. How many times have you embarked on a strict no-carb, no-fat diet, and then ended up bingeing all you can find in the cupboard after a few days? Trust me, I was there too! Luckily, mistakes are our biggest teachers, and I’ve learned a couple of lessons along the way. Perhaps the most important one is that following a diet should not be about restricting all of your favorite foods. On the contrary, it is learning how to make them more nutritious without having to compromise on taste. This is exactly what I did with this creamy Tuscan salmon over zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles)!
The recipe I came up with is completely gluten-free and low in calories and carbohydrates, thanks to the use of zucchini noodles in place of regular pasta. All you need is one pot and less than 30 minutes! Ready to learn how to lose weight, while still indulging in your comfort foods?
Creamy Garlic Tuscan Salmon: How to Make it Weight-Loss-Friendly 🧘🏽♀️
Did you know that salmon is an incredible weight-loss-friendly food? Not only it is packed with healthy omega-3 and 6 fats and other precious antioxidants but is also rich in proteins, which are key to promoting feelings of fullness and satisfaction, especially on a low-calorie diet. Having said that, choosing the right cooking methods and ingredients is extremely important when trying to prep a weight-loss-friendly salmon recipe.
Here are a couple of tips and easy swaps that can turn a decadent creamy Tuscan salmon into a wholesome meal.
- Choose Wild-Caught Salmon:
- Opt for wild-caught salmon over farm-raised for lower fats and heavy metals, and more omega-3 fatty acids.
- Greek Yogurt Magic:
- Swap heavy cream for Greek yogurt. Its creamy texture not only adds a delightful richness but also brings in protein and probiotics, which are key for a healthy gut and a more diverse microbiome.
- Low-Fat Milk Alternative:
- Choose low-fat or plant-based milk, like unsweetened soy or oat milk, instead of full-fat milk. This maintains the creaminess while reducing saturated fats, making your Tuscan salmon lighter on the calorie scale.
- Arrowroot for Thickening:
- Use arrowroot instead of traditional flour to thicken the sauce. Arrowroot is a gluten-free option that provides a silky texture without compromising the dish’s nutritional profile.
- Zucchini Noodles Instead of Regular Pasta:
- Embrace the trend of zucchini noodles (zoodles) in place of regular pasta. This not only reduces the calorie count but also introduces an extra serving of vegetables, adding vitamins and minerals to your meal.
- Healthy Extra-Virgin Olive Oil:
- Instead of using butter for searing the salmon, opt for extra-virgin olive oil -or EVOO. This not only enhances the taste of the dish but is also rich in heart-healthy fats and precious vitamin E.
- Capers for Saltiness:
- Capers are a fantastic substitute for excessive salt. They bring a briny, salty kick to the dish without overloading it with sodium.
- Fresh Herbs Galore:
- Use fresh herbs generously. Whether it’s basil, oregano, or rosemary, fresh herbs not only enhance the aroma and taste but also provide an extra boost of antioxidants and nutrients.
- Grated Parmesan Moderation:
- While Parmesan adds a savory kick, use it in moderation. Its strong flavor means you can get away with less, reducing overall calorie and fat intake while still enjoying its cheesy goodness.
- Roasted Red Peppers for Sweetness:
- If sundried tomatoes are too intense, swap them with roasted red peppers. They bring a subtle sweetness to the dish while keeping the fats to a minimum.
Why Zoodles Can Help You Lose Weight? 💯
Zoodles, or zucchini noodles (this is the spiralizer I use to make them), can be a helpful addition to a weight loss or fitness-focused diet for several reasons. Here are the main ones.
- Low in Calories and Carbs: With less than 35 calories per cup, zoodles are significantly lower in calories and carbohydrates and higher in volume compared to traditional wheat-based pasta. This makes them a great option for those looking to reduce overall calorie and carbohydrate intake, while still being able to eat bigger portions!
- High in Fiber: Zucchini is rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction. All of this is for just a bunch of calories.
- Nutrient-Dense: Zucchini is a nutrient-dense vegetable, providing essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, potassium, and B vitamins. In turn, choosing nutrient-dense foods is crucial for maintaining overall health while on a calorie-restricted diet.
- Hydration: Zucchini has a high water content, which contributes to hydration. This is especially important when trying to lose weight as dehydration can sometimes be mistaken for hunger, leading to unnecessary calorie consumption.
- Versatility: Zoodles can be easily incorporated into a variety of dishes, offering a low-calorie, low-carb alternative to regular pasta. They work well with various sauces, proteins, and vegetables, providing flexibility in meal planning.
- Gluten-Free: For individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, zoodles offer a gluten-free alternative to traditional wheat-based pasta.
- Reduced Processed Carbohydrates: Zoodles replace refined and processed carbohydrates found in regular pasta with whole, natural vegetables. This switch can contribute to more stable blood sugar levels and, especially when paired with a lean protein source, they may help prevent energy crashes.
Having said this, my intent is not to demonize regular pasta which, if eaten in moderation, can have a place in any weight loss diet aimed at being sustainable in the long run.
If you liked this creamy garlic Tuscan-style salmon, here are other salmon-based recipes you might like: Salmon Kale Salad with Lemon Black Pepper Dressing, and Chili Lime Salmon (oven-baked and easy recipe).
Before you go…
I hope you will love this recipe as much as I do! If you have tried it, please let me know how you liked it in the comments. And don’t forget to tag my socials (all the links are down below). 💗
Creamy Tuscan Salmon over Zucchini Noodles (zoodles)
This creamy Tuscan salmon is completely gluten-free and low in calories and carbohydrates, thanks to the use of zucchini noodles in place of regular pasta. All you need is one pot and less than 30 minutes! Ready to learn how to lose weight, while still indulging in your comfort foods?
Prevent your screen from going dark
Season the salmon fillets with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Combine the other herbs and spices in a bag, and then rub the fish into them.
Spiralize the zucchini into noodle-like shapes. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, and arrowroot until smooth. This will be our creamy base.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped shallot. Sauté until fragrant and translucent.
Place salmon fillets in the pan, skin side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Remove the salmon from the skillet and set aside.
Deglaze the skillet with white wine, scraping up any browned bits. Pour in the arrowroot powder and yogurt mixture, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Add chicken stock gradually, stirring constantly.
Stir in grated Parmesan and sundried tomatoes (or roasted red pepper). Season with salt and black pepper. Allow the sauce to simmer until it thickens.
Gently place the cooked salmon fillets back into the skillet, allowing them to soak up the creamy goodness. Add capers for a zesty kick and, optionally, some lemon juice.
Toss in the spiralized zucchini noodles, ensuring they are coated in the creamy sauce.
Serve the Creamy Tuscan Salmon over a bed of zucchini noodles. Garnish with additional Parmesan, fresh herbs, and a pinch of black pepper. Bon appétit!