Spicy Orange Salmon Vegetable Meatballs

Um hello. When was the last time you cracked open a can of salmon and made a recipe with it? I’m going to admit something to you … I can’t remember.

Wait, wait. I have used canned salmon for the standard salmon salad filling but that was a LONG time ago. Hang on again. I do recall Steve making salmon patties but that doesn’t count.

So why did I come up with this recipe? Well, it’s like this. I made about a hundred meatballs last week for Rosh Hashanah and froze them. That was dumb because now of course I was craving meatballs. Instead of using my standard ground chicken, I thought……..hmmmmm why not sub in some canned salmon??


Here’s a quick question for you before I go on. Should a salmon meatball really be called a “MEATBALL” if there is not MEAT in it? Who cares. Just thought I’d ask.

Moving right along. Let’s talk about canned salmon for a sec.

If you’re like me, who is one of those people who feel that “canned salmon” is  just SHMEH, think again. When I went to pick up some from the market, I decided that I would buy the BEST CANNED SALMON on the shelf.

Here’s where my husband and I differ. I research, he buys what’s on SALE. This is why you need to spend a little extra if you’re planning on just popping open a can of fish for dinner.

You want to be sure that you are buying high-quality salmon and I ALWAYS check the label. There are a few things you need to look for so I’m giving you a lesson in CANNED SALMON 101 today:

  1.  You want your salmon to be wild, not farmed. If the label says “Atlantic“, then your fish is farmed. Alaskan pink and sockeye salmon are usually wild-caught so you’re good to go.
  2. You also want your cans to be a product of CANADA or the USA. Some companies will send their catch to countries such as Thailand for processing. Now think about this for a minute. That’s a heckuva s a long way for salmon to travel. And also think about what is the quality going to be like with all that back and forth regarding the transport. Sketchy to say the least.
  3. Lastly, you want your salmon to be rich with Omega-3s. Did you know that you should be having at least 250-500 milligrams of these fats per day if you’re a healthy person and up to 1000 milligrams for if you suffer from heart disease? Oh and try to buy skin-on and bone-in salmon because skinless and boneless salmon have three times less the Omega-3’s.  The same goes for calcium. Bones and skin will  punch you up with more calcium and there’s nothing wrong with that.

This recipe is a perfect go-to for weeknights when you want something nutritious, quick and easy, but don’t necessarily want to use meat in your recipe.

And by easy, I mean SUPER EASY. You mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in one bowl, and I used my cookie scoop to make sure each one was uniform in size before placing them on a baking sheet.

Here’s another thing I love about these. They are packed with veggies! I threw in a carrot and a zucchini that was hanging around in my fridge. Let me just say, it was a perfect addition to these salmon meatballs.

Spicy Orange Salmon Vegetable Meatballs
  • 2 (213g or 7.50 oz) cans of Wild Alaskan salmon
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely grated - squeeze out the moisture with your hands
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (if you like your meatballs spicy, add more)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped (optional garnish)
  • Sprinkle of chopped peanuts (optional garnish)
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • a big pinch of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a medium bowl. Using clean hands, stir until well combined. Using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop, pack meatball mixture tightly and roll into balls with your hands. Place the meatballs onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 22-25 minutes.
  3. While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small pot and bring to a slow boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often. The sauce will thicken up nicely.
  4. When meatballs are finished baking, coat with sauce, garnish with green onions and chopped peanuts if desired. I served mine with veggies and brown rice.


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