A Fresh Look At Canned Fish

Canned tuna fish in bowl

January 31, 2021

By Amy Sherman

Canned fish is like a long relationship: It’s always there, so much a part of the routine that we forget just how awesome it is.

Now’s a perfect time to fall in love with this old friend all over again. It’s nutrient-rich, shelf stable and convenient. It’s versatile, just as good in a quick lunchtime salad as it is whipped into pates or transformed into seafood croquettes. It’s considered a delicacy in Mediterranean countries like Portugal, Greece and Italy (and you know how healthy those folks are). Read on for more details about the abundant health benefits of some common types, tips for buying the most sustainable varieties, and a fast, easy recipe with canned salmon.



Wild Planet products




Canned tuna is tied with salmon as the second most frequently consumed seafood product in the U.S. (shrimp is number one). Water-packed tuna actually has more omega-3’s than oil packed, unless you eat the oil. Stuff tuna into piquillo peppers as an easy, elegant starter or make a nutrient-packed tuna salad with chopped carrots and celery and avocado mayo.

Nutrition: Rich in protein, omega-3s, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, phosphorus and selenium.

Sustainability: Look for skipjack tuna, sometimes labeled “light tuna,” which are smaller fish that contain less mercury and are considered the most “dolphin-safe.” Line- or pole-caught tuna (look for this on the label) also helps save other ocean dwellers. Avoid albacore or white tuna, which can be high in toxins and may not be dolphin-safe.

Brands: Bela or WildPlanet



Canned salmon is milder and far less expensive than fresh. Some varieties come with nutrient-rich skin and bones, which are soft and edible. Serve it flaked on toast with lemon, capers and dill or blend it with Greek yogurt and horseradish or hot sauce to make a luscious dip.

Nutrition: Rich in protein, vitamin D, niacin, vitamin B12 and phosphorous. It’s also a good source of calcium if you eat the bones.

Sustainability: Choose wild caught. Alaskan salmon is especially low in mercury and other toxins.

Brands: Wild Planet or BumbleBee Red



Sardines are small, oily fish, related to herring, and are smoked before canning. Now considered trendy, sardines are tasty mashed on toast with avocado or in a salad with shaved celery, chickpeas and lemon.

Nutrition: Rich in protein, calcium, vitamin D, niacin, phosphorous, selenium and omega-3s.

Sustainability: Sardines are lower in mercury than larger fish like salmon and tuna.

Brands: Matiz or Bela



Mackerel is related to bonito and tuna, but milder in flavor. The best brands are packed fresh, rather than frozen. Try it with hot or cold boiled potatoes or added to a spinach salad with cherry tomatoes.

Nutrition: Rich in protein, omega-3s, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and selenium.

Sustainability: Choose wild caught, ideally line-caught, which helps protect other fish.

Brands: Bela or Cole’s

salmon fishcakes in a cast iron skillet, tomatoes and lemon

Salmon Patties With Turmeric And Dill

  • Serves: 4
  • Total Time:10 Minutes
  • Active Time:2 Minutes
  • PRINT Print This Recipe


  • 2 (5 to 6 ounce) cans wild salmon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh dill


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the salmon, eggs, breadcrumbs, turmeric, and salt and pepper. Mix and combine thoroughly and form into 4 equal patties.
  2. In a large sauté pan, melt the coconut oil over medium heat, about 1 minute. Add the salmon patties and cook on each side, for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown on each side.
  3. Top each with a tablespoon of yogurt and fresh dill.