Cooking tips for people with chronic illness.

Chronic diseases often involve inflammation so it is important to include foods that are anti-inflammatory.  Pesto salmon is one of our favorite recipes because it is easy to cook, tasty and anti-inflammatory.  Today’s featured blog is about making pesto salmon to decrease the inflammation associated with sarcoidosis.

Have you ever heard of Sarcoidosis?

While it may not be one of the more commonly discussed conditions, it is very important to talk about! Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that affects individuals all over the world. With this disease, granulomas can accumulate within different organs and cause dysfunction and scarring. This scarring can have severe impacts, depending on the organs involved. The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown and treatment varies between individuals. While medications, like corticosteroids, can be effective, nutrition is also an important line of defense. Because of the inflammatory nature of the condition, it is important to make dietary changes to reduce inflammation.

What changes can be made to reduce inflammation?

According to Harvard Health Publications, foods that inflame are refined carbohydrates, fried foods, soda and other sweetened beverages, red meat, processed meats, and fats like margarine and shortening. The foods that fight inflammation include tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fatty fish, and fruit.

In honor of Sarcoidosis Awareness Month, I wanted to make an anti-inflammatory recipe, that includes several of these foods. I decided to make a fillet of salmon topped with walnut pesto. The salmon, walnuts, and olive oil are good sources of heart healthy fats. Pair with a side salad with tomatoes and an olive oil vinaigrette, and this meal is chock full of inflammation-fighting foods!

How to make Pesto Salmon

Make the Pesto

homemade pesto salmon

The first step is to make the pesto. In a food processor, add basil, walnuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese. Pulse until coarsely ground.

homemade pesto salmon

Next, leaving food processor on, pour in olive oil in a steady stream until smooth.

homemade pesto salmon

Cook the Salmon

homemade pesto salmon

Next, heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper, and sear both sides until golden and crisp. Transfer salmon fillets to a baking pan and finish in the oven.

Plate It Up and Serve!

homemade pesto salmon

Once salmon flakes and has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, remove from oven and top with a tablespoon of walnut pesto. Serve with a salad and any other desired sides, and enjoy!

homemade pesto salmon

So what else can be done to improve one’s nutrition while living with a chronic condition? Dietitians Klara and Kaitlin recently appeared on an episode of Let’s Talk Sarcoidosis with Dorothea McGuire to discuss nutrition and meal prep.

Would you like help managing sarcoidosis or any other chronic diseases? Make an appointment with one of our dietitians today by clicking here or calling 301-474-2499. 


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An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.