Earth Day: Sustainable Oceans and Miso Salmon Pasta

Be the change you wish to see in the world.  Gandhi

Last week was spring break for one of my kids so we spent some time at Chicago museums.  It may seem funny to think that a museum trip leads to a new recipe for Creamy Miso Salmon Pasta but inspiration arrives in surprising ways!shedd-fish-2

The bulk of our “museum day” was spent at the Shedd Aquarium.  Here we saw marvelous sights from colorful tropical fish to exotic sea horses to the endlessly entertaining beluga whales.  But there were sobering  undertones as well–especially on the cusp of Earth Day.Shedd-Coral-Reef-Sign

One of the risks presented was the threat to our coral reefs.  Coral reefs are composed of many small organisms called coral polyps and “are essential spawning, nursery, breeding, and feeding grounds for numerous organisms.  In terms of biodiversity, the variety of species livingon a coral reef is greater than in any other shallow-water marine ecosystems and is one of the most diverse on the planet (NOAA).”   shedd-jellyfish-2


Coral reefs are a critical part of the ocean food chain. “Nearly half the fish the world eats make their homes around them (Christian Science Monitor).“  Per the WWF, “roughly one-quarter of coral reefs worldwide are already considered damaged beyond repair, with another two-thirds under serious threat.”  These  include: unsustainable fishing practices, pollution, sedimentation from human development, coral mining and climate change.shedd-fish-4

And seeing the marvels of these beautiful systems in a place like the Shedd Aquarium makes it feel personal without even getting into the total ecosystem impact.

Another somber reminder from the Field Museum

Another somber reminder, this time from the Field Museum

You can impact overfishing

While the vast complexity of the problems facing our reefs may seem overwhelming, overfishing is an ocean threat that individuals can readily influence through buying practices.   There are a number of guides on what to eat, what to avoid–here is a guide to guide that provides links specific to different geographical areas all over the world. 

Miso Salmon Pasta, served

Miso Salmon Pasta, served

One of the oceans’ sustainable fish is wild Alaskan Salmon.  Besides supporting sustainable practices, salmon is easy to work with if you stock a few cans.  Here is a dish based on a recipe from Lena of Frozen Wings.  Warm and creamy, it was a slightly sophisticated comfort food that was a hit with everyone from kids to Grandma over Easter weekend.

Miso Salmon Pasta

Miso Salmon Pasta

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 12 oz whole wheat fettuccine or pasta of your choice
  • 13.5 oz canned salmon, skin and larger bones removed
  • 1 T butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro, optional
  • 3 T miso paste
  • 1 1/2 c half and half
  • 1 t salt or to taste
  • 1/4 t pepper or to taste
  • Sliced green onion for garnish, optional


  1. Cook pasta until al dente.
  2. While pasta is cooking, chop mushrooms & saute until slightly golden. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the miso paste, then the half and half and let it simmer for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add chunks of salmon, cilantro and cooked pasta to the miso sauce. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 459Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 1003mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 9gSugar: 4gProtein: 29g

Nutrition data accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.

10 thoughts on “Earth Day: Sustainable Oceans and Miso Salmon Pasta

  1. Pingback: Miso Winter Vegetable Soup - Art of Natural Living

  2. lena

    i am not good in figures but looking at the reefs extinction rate, it is pretty alarming! your post reminded me of those gigantic leatherback turtles in my country which is also sort of extinct now..same..due to fishing and consumption of turtle eggs.

    thanks for the mentioned on the miso pasta, glad to know you like it. It is beautiful, inger!

    1. Inger Post author

      Sometime you should get the Chicago Pass (or whatever it is called) and do the whole round. With a bit of time, that seemed like it would be a great deal. Though I think I strained a hip flexor doing soooo many stairs.

  3. Louise

    I use to love museum days with the kids, Inger. It sounds like you had a wonderful time and learned a whole lot while visiting.

    I have heard many times about how coral reefs are so very important. Your post has enlightened me a wee bit more, thanks for that and thank you for reminding me of Lena’s recipe. I seem to remember it but I had forgotten how good it really does look and yum, I’m in need of some good salmon! Thanks for sharing, Inger…Happy Earth Day!

    1. Inger Post author

      Lena’s salmon wasn’t canned, but I was trying to do as easy a version as possible. Perhaps Marion will consider collecting cans of salmon? We had fun and I kept wondering why we never did this before, since I did tons of Chicago conferences when I was working.

  4. Freeda Baker Nichols

    Lovely pictures, and the recipe sounds good. The photo of you at the right of your page is a good one! Happy spring when it arrives at your place! Or is it there now? Temperature here today was 80 degrees.

    1. Inger Post author

      We are getting there Freeda–but nothing like 80! The grass is now more green than brown and the bulbs are springing up–I’ll be cutting daffodils any day now. Sure have emjoyed the vicarious spring through your pictures 😉

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