Salmon is not traditionally considered a Mediterranean food as it was not part of the Mediterranean diet. However, with changing times, diets evolve as well. Salmon is now widely available in the Mediterranean, and it blends perfectly with Mediterranean flavors. The combination of dill, lemon, and olive oil gives salmon a delicious taste that doesn’t overpower it. This sheet pan salmon recipe has been a go-to dish since childhood.
The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. You can fill the sides of the sheet pan with any fast-cooking vegetable in season. Asparagus is a favorite vegetable around this time of year in Western Massachusetts. Signs and festivals are everywhere dedicated to the famous local asparagus. It takes the same amount of time to cook as the salmon, and the tips of the asparagus become crispy and crunchy from roasting in the extra virgin olive oil.
Using a sheet pan for this recipe offers many benefits. The presentation of the dish, with lemon slices on top of the salmon and asparagus filling the rest of the pan, is impressive. It’s best served on the sheet pan itself, which makes for an easy clean-up process. You don’t need to dirty any additional dishes. This dish can be served with rice, a Greek salad, and a bottle of white wine.
Salmon has many health benefits. It is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease. Vitamin D helps maintain strong bones and teeth, supports immune function, and reduces the risk of certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and cancer.
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diets in the world. It emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The diet also includes fish and seafood, like salmon, at least twice a week. A Mediterranean diet has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
This sheet pan salmon recipe with asparagus is an excellent way to incorporate fish and vegetables into a Mediterranean-style meal. Asparagus is a great source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and K, and minerals like potassium and folate. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can aid digestion.
Use extra virgin olive oil in this recipe as it’s an essential component of the Mediterranean diet. It’s a healthy fat that has anti-inflammatory properties, lowers cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk of heart disease. It’s important to note that not all olive oils are created equal. Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality and the least processed. It’s made by cold-pressing the olives, which preserves the natural antioxidants and nutrients.
In conclusion, while salmon may not be traditionally considered a Mediterranean food, it can be a delicious and healthy addition to a Mediterranean-style meal. This sheet pan salmon recipe with asparagus is an excellent way to incorporate fish and vegetables into your diet. The simplicity of the recipe and the ease of clean-up make it an ideal weeknight meal. Choose high-quality ingredients, like fresh salmon fillets and extra virgin olive oil, and enjoy the health benefits of this tasty dish.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Drizzle a sheet pan with a light coating of extra virgin olive oil. Lay the salmon filet skin side down on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Snap woody ends off of each asparagus and keep the tops. This is the most tender part of the asparagus. Discard the woody ends.
Arrange asparagus around the salmon and sprinkle with salt.
Rip the fresh dill in your hands and cover the top of the salmon with a nice layer. Slice a lemon into rounds and cover the salmon with it.
Take a second lemon and squeeze the juice of it over the salmon and asparagus. Drizzle the sheet pan with 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil.
Bake at 400 F for 20 - 25 minutes or until salmon is flaky. After 20 minutes you can check the salmon by flaking away a little of the flesh with a fork. If it looks a little undercooked, cook for 5 more minutes. Serve with a lemon cut in 1/4s for each person to squeeze on their serving as they please!
George studied International Business in Greece in 2015 for three semesters. His family is from the island of Crete, and he lived with them for a whole summer. During that time, he started working for Mediterranean Living and contributing his firsthand experiences of the traditional Cretan diet. He learned fluent Greek along the way, being fully immersed in a traditional Cretan village. He is since graduated with a business degree from Worcester State University. George loves language and traveling, so he completed a TEFL certificate program at the Boston Language Institute in order to teach English abroad and travel the world. He currently works full-time blogging, recipe formulating, and social media marketing for Mediterranean Living. His passions include language, gardening, hiking, skateboarding, and watching sports. He dreams of living in Crete one day, after he travels the world learning as many languages and cultures as possible.