Thursday, February 24, 2011

Toddler Salmon Sticks

I have to admit that I have no idea how so many mommy-bloggers are able to put up posts on a daily basis. I am not the most organized person I have have ever met, but you would think I would get them up at least a tad more frequently. Well, enough of that little lament. I have a few things I am pretty excited to share and so I will start with a recipe I have worked quite hard to perfect and it has turned out quite lovely - Toddler Salmon Sticks! Baby girl can hardly get enough of these, and I must say that one or two may have snuck onto my plate as well.
My inspiration came from the Happy Baby Salmon Stix with Hidden Veggies originally. They seemed great, but after reading the ingredients, salmon was SIXTH on the list and they were mostly filled with Pollack, potato and chickpea - all relatively healthy things, but misleading when you name your product Salmon Stix. In addition, they also contained both tofu and soy lecithin, as well as dairy. Baby girl hasn't yet outgrown her cow milk intolerance and I do my best to keep soy out of my home entirely for health reasons. Oh, and by the way, they are ridiculously expensive.
So here we start with a healthier and less expensive alternative...
First, gather up your ingredients.
1/4 cup (30g) peas
1/4 cup (30g) corn
1/4 cup (20g) chopped frozen spinach (thaws out to 1.5 Tbsp. of spinach)
1.5 Tbsp. (30g) pumpkin or sweet potato puree (I keep this frozen in cubes on hand at all times to pop in to random recipes, super convenient!)

1 egg white

1 6 oz. can wild Alaskan salmon. Here I want to pause to mention a few things. You are surely allowed to use a fresh filet if you would prefer to - just steam it up first. But, please just make sure that you do purchase WILD Alaskan salmon and not "Atlantic" salmon or any other farmed salmon. The whole point in using salmon in this recipe is to provide a healthy source of Omega-3s for kids and farmed salmon is notorious for dirty pesticides and other things we don't want in our kids. Along that line, also make sure the salmon you purchase is packed in a can that does not use BPA in the can lining. While most brands DO contain BPA, there are several brands that do not use BPA including Vital Choice, Henry & Lisa by Eco Fish, and all brands from Trident Seafoods (Bear & Wolf, Royal, Sea Alaska, Lily Rubenstein, Prelate, Tulip, Sno Tip, Faust). Also, there is more Omega-3 in Red Salmon, but pink salmon is significantly less expensive. And lastly, canned salmon comes either with or without bones and skin. You are welcome to purchase the kind without, but the bones are an amazing source of absorbable calcium and the skin is chock full of extra Omega-3 fatty acids. In the canning process the bones become almost gelatinous and they blend away seamlessly when everything is pureed in this recipe, so don't worry about your little one getting a bone in their mouth. This time I used the kind without bones however because they didn't have to kind with the skin/bones at the store tonight for some reason.

Next, you are going to puree your ingredients together in a food processor or blender. I usually use a mason jar with a blender base so it acts like a Magic Bullet, but without the BPA. A little tip here is to blend the veggies and egg together first and then add the salmon. I was hurried this time, and some of the veggies stuck to the side and didn't blend well. The important part is just to blend up all the bones.
Dump this all in a bowl...
And then add 1/3 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs. You can just make this yourself by blending up about 2 slices of bread that you toasted.
The consistency is going to be similar to what you are looking for in a meatball before it is cooked. It will not be stiff at all, which may seem strange but you will see why in just a bit. Take about a tablespoon of the mixture at a time and gently shape it into a "stick" shape. They are about as thick as my thumb and as long as my pinky. You will end up with about 18-20 sticks.
Pop these into the freezer to harden for about an hour, and when they are solid you will take them them out to batter them.
Dip each stick individually in a dish with 1/3 cup of a "milk" of your choice (we used almond milk) and quickly roll it in 1/2 cup more whole wheat bread crumbs. An optional addition here is to add 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, onion powder and paprika to the bread crumbs. You can also use whole wheat Panko for extra crispiness. It is important here to do these one at a time so they do not thaw out and get squishy or clump together. Return to the freezer as they are coated.
Alright, now you have a nice freezer stash of salmon sticks for your hungry toddler to eat whenever you need a quick snack or as part of a full meal. To cook, place the sticks in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 22-25 minutes, turning over halfway through the cooking time. If you have a toaster oven with a fan, you can place these directly on the rack and not worry about turning at all. They really crisp up amazingly with no oil frying.
I hope you enjoy these and share them as well. They are especially fun with a dipping sauce, as I have found that little ones love to dip everything. Baby girl is happy with ketchup, but some cocktail sauce or a nice aioli would be good with these too! (If you do share these, all I ask is that you make sure to give proper credit as I worked really hard on these and internet idea thievery would really make me sad) I hope to hear back from any of you that try this recipe out, especially if your little one likes them as much as mine.


  1. I think I might just try these! (Saw your post on the gdiaper group.) BUT we have an egg allergy...I usually use a flaxseed/water mixture for egg replacements. Not sure if that would work for this. Any thoughts about that?

  2. When we were trying elimination diets to pinpoint Baby girl's allergy I subbed flax-goo for egg whites in numerous recipes with lots of success. I think that would be a great substitute for this recipe. And likewise, I imagine gluten free bread crumbs would work nicely for those with wheat allergies. Please report back and let me know how they turn out once you have made them!

  3. One suggestion for consistancy also would be to pipe them out. is the texture "wet" enough to attempt this?(Either thru a LARGE tip or just using a plastic bag with the corner cut off to size.
    We are gluten free and I successfully use Udi's bread for bread crumbs in y meatball recipes. I don't think there would be an issue using it at all.
    I didn't know about the flax/water mix!! great tip thanks!