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Get your protein and omega-3 fatty acids in Lentil and Salmon Salad

By Melissa d'Arabian, Associated Press
Associated Press
Lentil and Salmon Salad With Smoky Mustard Dressing comes together quickly, and it’s hearty enough for a summertime supper.

Sometimes, it's just too hot to turn on the stove. The key is to stock up your kitchen with "healthy convenience food" that doesn't require any heat, such as fresh produce, canned beans, canned fish and small boxes of precooked legumes found in the prepared produce section.

You can throw together a hearty meal in minutes without breaking a sweat. Sure, you will pay an extra dollar or two for steamed lentils, for instance, but if having a well-stocked fridge keeps you from hitting the drive-through even once, then you'll come ahead financially (and nutritionally).

Canned salmon is one of my favorite healthy fast foods. When it goes on sale, you can stock up the pantry with a few cans of it, making wild salmon downright inexpensive.

Not only is canned salmon full of protein (12 grams of protein per 2 ounces of fish) and omega-3 fatty acids, but it actually has more calcium than its fresh counterpart, since the small bones stay in the meat (and go unnoticed; remove any large bones, however).

Pair the salmon with beans or legumes plus some chopped fresh vegetables and vinaigrette, and you've got a dish hearty enough for a summertime supper. And it will keep nicely in the fridge, so you can graze on this fiber- and protein-filled salad for a day or two no problem.

Today's recipe, Lentil and Salmon Salad With Smoky Mustard Dressing, was inspired by my favorite bagel toppings: red onion, tomato, capers, salmon and a hint of smokiness in the vinaigrette, which elevates the canned salmon into a little wink at lox. The flavors marry into a surprisingly complex dish, never hinting at the fact that this recipe is of the 5-minute-dump-stir-and-serve variety.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."