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  • Writer's pictureAmy Slater

Salmon Cakes with Butternut Squash (grain and nut free)

Are you looking for ways to boost your kids’ intake of fatty acids?

A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that fish and seafood contain nutrients that are vital to proper brain development in children, including the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, selenium, zinc, and highly absorbable protein, Omega-3

Fish oil or whole fish?

Fish or cod liver oil supplementation is another way to ensure your children receive adequate EPA and DHA. However, feeding your children whole fish instead of fish oil offers all of the other beneficial nutrients including zinc, copper, and selenium. My suggestion is to start them young and keep encouraging them to develop a palate for seafood.

According to Chris Kresser, it is best to give your children seafood at least twice a week, but restricted to species that are low in mercury. These include anchovies, sardines, clams, North Atlantic mackerel, herring, and salmon. Conveniently, many of these species are also highest in the beneficial omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.

Wild-caught or farmed?

Make sure you are selecting a high-quality, wild-caught salmon. I spoke about the importance of choosing wild-caught fish in this recipe post. According to a study posted in Environmental Health Perspectives, farm-raised Atlantic salmon had higher levels of PCBs and several other organic contaminants.

The anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA come from the food wild salmon eat, like algae and krill. Farmed salmon do not eat these foods so they don’t contain the same healthy fats.


3 6-ounce cans of wild caught salmon

1 cup baked butternut squash (mashed)

1 egg

1/2 pumpkin seeds

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp fresh parsley

2 Tbsp fresh chives

2 Tbsp fresh lemon balm

1 tsp salt

Putting it together:

Preheat the oven to 425F and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using your high-speed blender or food processor, grind 1/2 cup of raw pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, and salt into a fine meal. Add the pumpkin seed grind to a large bowl.

Next, add your butternut squash, egg, and salmon to the blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add this mixture to the large bowl.

Stir well to combine the pumpkin seed meal into the salmon mixture.

Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop the cakes and drop them on the parchment paper. Use your hand to flatten the patties.

Bake for 20 minutes, flip each patty, then flip each patty with a spatula. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.


If you don’t have access to fresh herbs, use dried. The ratio generally is 1 tsp dried herbs = 1 Tbsp fresh herbs.

Fresh chives can be swapped for dried dill if you prefer.

You can swap out the lemon balm for lemon zest.

Don’t be afraid to swap out the herbs or even the pumpkin seeds!

Make it your own! 🙂

How I served the salmon cakes:

This was William’s (one of my 7 1/2-year-olds) plate:

salmon cake

sautéed onion and zucchini with garlic in coconut oil

baked white and orange sweet potato (leftover from lunch)

tri-colored quinoa cooked in homemade bone broth

raw salad with some farmer’s market finds and fresh herbs from our growing garden: purple and green okra, avocado, tomato, cucumber with rue, basil, Mexican oregano, chives

steamed green beans (from frozen)

He definitely did not eat it all… especially the sautéed onion and zucchini, but it was on his plate and it will also be there tonight. He still won’t eat it, but one day I know he will. And, he knows to expect it to be there.

Don’t underestimate your efforts and the power of real food. You are fueling their growth!! And your own! 🙂


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