Food

5 Keto Recipes for Seafood Lovers

Published on: March 04, 2019

5 Keto Recipes for Seafood Lovers

According to a recent science advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA), eating seafood twice per week will significantly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, no matter what diet you're on [1]. That's not surprising given that seafood is much higher in heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids than most other foods.

For those on a keto diet, eating seafood should be easy-peasy because most seafood is low in carbs. There are also hundreds of keto seafood recipes to choose from and that can help you include seafood into your weekly keto diet plan. We've found 5 easy and delicious keto seafood recipes to help you get started. Disclaimer: all include fish and we'll explain why.


Why Seafood Is Good for Keto

Seafood commonly refers to both freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish. But edible algae are also considered seafood.

Eating seafood on keto will help boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. These are a type of essential fatty acids, meaning your body can't make them on its own but needs to obtain them from food. Omega-3s found in seafood are called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are essential component of the brain, skin, retina, and sperm.

Furthermore, seafood is a health-promoting low-carb food. It's also a source of quality protein, fat-soluble vitamins, B vitamins, important minerals, and even antioxidants. It's also low in saturated fats, which many people want to limit.


5 Keto Recipes for Seafood Lovers_graphic_benefits of eating seafood

Benefits of Eating Seafood on A Keto Diet

If you need more convincing to start eating more fish, mussels, shrimp, algae, and other seafood, consider these benefits.


1. Better brain health

Fatty fish and other omega-3-rich seafood are the best sources of DHA, for which research shows have unique and indispensable roles in brain neuron membranes [2]. Studies also show that DHAs are essential for normal brain development and that they protect against brain aging, neurodegenerative diseases [3].

Some plant foods also provide omega-3s in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Your body can convert ALA to DHA for your brain to use, but only to a small extent since studies show that less than 5% of ALA gets converted to DHA [4]. That means that seafood remains the most reliable source of brain-benefiting DHAs.


2. Higher vitamin D intake

Fish, especially wild and oily fish, is a great source of vitamin D3, which is the most bioavailable form of this nutrient essential for bone, immune, and metabolic health. Wild fish is exposed to sunlight, thus synthesizing greater levels of the sunshine vitamin [5]. And because D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin, you'll get more from fatty fish than leaner fish.

An ounce of wild salmon, for example, contains around 450- 1.500 IU of vitamin D3 compared to the same serving of cod (a lean fish) that contains 80-127 IU, which is below the daily recommended intake for this nutrient [5]. Furthermore, farmed salmon contains only 25% of the vitamin D3 found in wild salmon.


3. A source of quality protein

The most important determinant of protein quality is the amount of essential amino acids in it. Fish and shellfish contain all 9 essential amino acids, which makes it a quality protein source. But that's not the whole story. How well your body can use those proteins to, say, build muscle is another determinant. One study found that fish protein causes fast muscle growth, in addition to lowering blood glucose and fat in the liver [6].

Besides that, researchers found that fish contain bioactive peptides, which are protein fragments that exert a positive impact on health [7]. Health benefits linked to these compounds include improved blood pressure, antibacterial action, reduced blood clotting, reduced inflammation, and antioxidant protection.


4. Disease prevention

Diseases like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer can be prevented with diet and lifestyle changes. Eating more fish, for example, definitely helps reduce your risk of these and other problems. Researchers believe most protective benefits of fish come from its omega-3 fatty acids [8].

Seaweed and algae can also offer unique benefits. These are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. Some sea plants are also rich in iodine, which is a nutrient essential for thyroid health. Seaweed is also a source of omega-3s but in small amounts.


Things to Consider Before Eating Seafoods

As is always the case with making changes to your diet, you need to be familiar with the risks to make safe choices. Below are some known risks associated with eating seafood.


Allergies

The prevalence rate of seafood allergies in the US is 2.3 percent [9]. Most people with seafood allergies are allergic to shellfish, while only a smaller number are allergic to fish or both fish and shellfish. Symptoms of seafood allergies include vomiting, diarrhea, hives, wheezing, swelling of the tongue, dizziness, and a weak pulse.


Methylmercury

Environmental pollution has let to many fish species being contaminated with mercury, a known neurotoxin. Fish that's highest in mercury are larger predatory fish like tuna and grouper. Smaller and short-living fish like sardines are lower in mercury. Because mercury exposure during pregnancy and infancy can be bad for a child's development, pregnant women are advised to limit their intake of high-mercury fish [10].  


5 Keto Seafood Recipes for Seafood Lovers

All 5 recipes below call for fatty fish because those are the most ketogenic. Including foods that are high both in fat and protein helps maintaining ketosis. That isn't to say you can't eat other seafood like shrimp or scallops.


salmon-balls-with-mayonnaise-sauce-on-white-plate-close-up

1. Salmon balls

This is a healthy snack to serve at parties or eat during lunchtime. One serving provides a bit over 400 calories, which definitely makes these balls a whole meal. The recipe is best with fresh salmon, but you can also use frozen salmon if that's more convenient.

Prep time:

Cook time:

Serves: 4 (12 balls, 3 per serving)


Ingredients:

  • 1lb. can salmon, drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon dill weed, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Sauce:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine salmon, eggs, almond meal, dill, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic powder, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Form walnut-sized salmon balls, roll them into coconut flour, arrange onto a baking sheet, and drizzle with melted butter.
  4. Bake the balls for 12-14 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, prepare the dipping sauce by combining mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar, and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate.
  6. Remove salmon balls from the oven.
  7. Serve at room temperature with the dipping sauce.

Nutrition info per serving

Calories 466; Total fat 35.8g; Total carbohydrate 3.5g; Dietary fiber 0.6g; Total sugars 1.7g;
Protein 30.8g


2. Bacon-wrapped trout

A simple recipe that brings out the best in trout. Trout is a freshwater fish that has a mild flavor that pairs well with herbs, spices, and bacon like in this recipe.  If you need a side dish to go with it, go for cauliflower mash with broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

Prep time:

Cook time:

Serves: 4


Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 12oz. trout, bones removed
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 8 sprigs coriander
  • 4 tablespoons chopped sage leaves
  • 0.5 lb. bacon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat or set your oven to 400F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine kosher salt, black pepper, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Season fish with prepared spices.
  4. Stuff trout cavities with the lemon slices and herbs.
  5. Wrap trout in bacon slices and transfer to the grill or baking sheet.
  6. Grill the trout for 15-20 minutes or bake for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Serve warm.

Nutrition info per serving

Calories 745; Total fat 42g; Total carbohydrate 3.9g; Dietary fiber 2.2g; Total sugars 0.8g;
Protein 74.4g


grilled-mackerel-filet-with-butter-on-top-served-on-white-plate-with-knife-and-fork

3. Grilled mackerel with herbed butter

Mackerel is an oily fish with a particularly strong flavor. That's why it's best to keep things simple when preparing mackerel. This recipe uses only a handful of ingredients for the fish but adds just a bit more zest with the herbed butter you add once the fish is done. Make sure to get fresh mackerel since it tends to spoil quickly.

Prep time:

Cook time:

Serves: 4


Ingredients:

  • 8 3.5oz. mackerel fillets
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Herbed butter:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. To make the herbed butter, beat the butter, add the garlic, thyme, basil, and chives in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Transfer the herbed butter onto a piece of cling foil and roll it into a log shape. Twist the edges and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. Start preparing the mackerel by placing the fillets in a bowl, drizzle with the lemon juice, and season to taste with black pepper. Let sit in marinade for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat grill or grill pan. If using a grill, brush the fillets with some olive oil. If using a grill pan, heat olive oil in the pan.
  5. Grill mackerel skin side down for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and remove from the grill.
  6. Place the grilled fillets on a place.
  7. Slice the herbed butter and top the fish with it.
  8. Serve warm.

Nutrition info per serving

Calories 399; Total fat 32.6g; Total carbohydrate 0.9g; Dietary fiber 0.2g; Total sugars 0.2g;
Protein 26.5g


4. Salmon with caper sauce

The earthy flavor of salmon goes beautifully with refreshing and zesty caper sauce. Since this recipe calls for white wine, you might as well go for some quality wine like Sauvignon Blanc and have a glass with this fantastic dinner recipe. If you feel like this one needs a side dish, then go for roasted asparagus.  

Prep time:

Cook time:

Serves: 2


Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 0.75lb. salmon fillets, skinless
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ tablespoon water
  • ½ tablespoon capers, drained, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  3. Arrange salmon fillets onto the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with remaining oil.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until the fillets start to flake easily.
  5. In the meantime, make the sauce. Simmer white wine, white wine vinegar, and finely chopped shallots in a saucepan for 6-7 minutes or until half of it has evaporated.
  6. Add butter and water. Whisk until the butter is completely incorporated.
  7. Stir in the capers, parsley, and lemon zest.
  8. Season to taste and remove from heat.
  9. Serve salmon fillets warm and drizzled with the caper sauce.

Nutrition info per serving

Calories 421; Total fat 31.8g; Total carbohydrate 1.9g; Dietary fiber 0.2g; Total sugars 0.3g;
Protein 29.8g


tuna-tartare-sprinkled-with-sesame-seeds-with-lemon-slice-and-lettuce-leaf-on-white-plate

5. Tuna tartare with harissa

If you're having guests over and want to make a gourmet meal, then try this tuna tartare with spicy harissa. Not only does it taste incredible, but it's also healthy. Do go for sushi-grade tuna to avoid parasites and food poisoning.

Prep time:

Serves: 2


Ingredients:

  • 1lb. fresh tuna steak
  • ½ teaspoon harissa paste
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • ½ lime, juice
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, chopped
  • ½ avocado, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Dice the tuna into small pieces and put in a bowl.
  2. Stir in the Harissa paste, avocado oil, coconut aminos, and lime juice.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the marinated tune onto a cutting board and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Using a sharp knife, chop the tuna into very small pieces. Make it almost minced.
  6. Return tuna into a bowl and stir in the mayonnaise and coriander.
  7. Refrigerate for one hour.
  8. Add finely chopped avocado to the tuna bowl.
  9. Divide the tuna tartare between two plates.
  10. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with fresh lemon slices.

Nutrition info per serving

Calories 507; Total fat 33.7g; Total carbohydrate 4.6g; Dietary fiber 3.1g; Total sugars 0.1g;
Protein 46.1g


References

  1. Rimm EB, et al. Seafood Long-Chain n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. 2018 July - https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000574
  2. Dyall SC. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: a review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and DHA. 2015 April - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404917/
  3. Echeverría F, et al. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fundamental fatty acid for the brain: New dietary sources. 2017 September - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28870371
  4. Brenna JT. Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man. 2002 March - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11844977
  5. Z. Lu, et al. An Evaluation of the Vitamin D3 Content in Fish: Is the Vitamin D Content Adequate to Satisfy the Dietary Requirement for Vitamin D? 2007 March - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2698592/
  6. Kawabata F, et al. Fish protein intake induces fast-muscle hypertrophy and reduces liver lipids and serum glucose levels in rats. 2015 - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09168451.2014.951025
  7. Senevirathne M, Kim SK. Development of bioactive peptides from fish proteins and their health promoting ability. 2012 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22361191
  8. Hosomi R, Yoshida M, Fukunaga K. Seafood Consumption and Components for Health. 2012 May - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4776937/
  9. Sicherer SH, MD, Muñoz-Furlong A, BA, Sampson HA, MD. Prevalence of seafood allergy in the United States determined by a random telephone survey. 2004 July - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674904013296
  10. Wooltorton E. Facts on mercury and fish consumption. 2002 October - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC128404/

 

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