Simplicity, Minimalism and Cashew Dijon Salmon

Simplicity. Albert Einstein is credited with once saying that “everything should be made as simple as possible, but no more simpler.” Or perhaps a more direct, and certainly a more commonly known, principle is – “KISS: keep it simple, stupid,” as articulated by the U.S. Navy. The concept highlights the fact that most procedures and systems are best executed if they are simple as opposed to unnecessarily complex. Although the immediate thought is usually DUH, this can be a bit more elusive that it seems that it should be.

It does appear that some people are very good at keeping things simple in terms of the clarity in their thoughts and speech. I really admire those people who can explain something so succinctly and clearly, that no matter how seemingly esoteric the topic, nearly anyone can grasp the gist of what they are saying. They know the best words and analogies to convey and distill their message into one crisp concise idea which can impact and stay with the listener or reader. Another, perhaps more accessible, way that the concept of simplicity has been that has become popular in recent years is with the transition from a full list of idealistic New Year’s resolutions to a one word or one phrase theme for the year. Although picking a single word seems daunting, its potential power is obvious in terms of setting direction and goals that will support that theme throughout the year.

Especially in recent years, there has been an interesting call to and shift towards minimalism – ranging from a more extreme ascetic lifestyle as evidenced by the voluntary simplicity practiced by movements such as the Simplicity Collective to a lighter pop culture version of reducing and eliminating clutter under the adage, “outer order contributes to inner calm.” A wide variety of research and anecdotal evidence shows that many people can boost their positive affect by eliminating things from their lives which they do not actually use or love.

I am not really all that good at keeping things simple. And if I am honest, I am not sure that is necessarily a conscious goal of mine. I appreciate when things have a few layers of complexity and I like to have options. For whatever reason, I seem to be more inclined to add rather than reduce -whether that means adding new activities, habits, hobbies, commitments or clothing, I like to stay busy and to collect things which provide me with choices and variety. And yet… I can also recognize the value of streamlining and scaling back to avoid being overwhelmed and better able to stay focused on the few top priorities or best alternatives. For example, although new clothes are always exciting (understatement), I find I often go back to one of those few “fall back outfits,” which always fit right and are appropriate for any occasion. They never you down.

This Cashew Dijon Salmon is another such example. It seems fancy enough to impress a crowd, but it is so embarrassingly easy and simple, that I hesitate to even call it a recipe.  BUT it is also so ridiculously tasty every.single.time that it has made its way into a elite status in my home – a tried and true option to fall back on. I usually have all the ingredients on hand or can pick them up easily with a 5 minute trip to just about any grocery store. It’s Whole30, paleo and can go with a variety of different side options (here with coconut creamed spinach).  Plus there are no exotic cooking techniques or fancy tools required to achieve this absolutely perfect combination of flavors – fresh salmon, crunchy cashews and the sharpness of Dijon mustard. Although the preparation is shockingly simple, the flavor profile is satisfyingly complex. The best of both worlds.

Whole30 Cashew Dijon Salmon and Coconut Creamed Spinach

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Serves: 4

Satisfyingly complex flavor combination with super simple preparation required!
Whole30 Cashew Dijon Salmon
  • Salmon Filets 4 each
  • Dijon Mustard (sulfite free!) 4 TBSP
  • Raw Cashews .5 cup (60 g)
  • Melted Coconut Oil 1 TBSP
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Whole30 Coconut Creamed Spinach
  • Fresh Baby Spinach 1 LB (450 g)
  • Ghee 2 TBSP
  • Medium Yellow Onion - Diced 1 Each
  • Garlic Cloves - Minced 3 Each
  • Full Fat Coconut Milk .66 cup (150 ml)
  • Arrowroot Powder .25 cup (30 g)
Cashew Dijon Salmon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/190 C and line a baking sheet with foil
  2. Roughly chop the cashews in a food processor, a mini chopper, or in a plastic bag with a meat pounder to desired size/texture
  3. Brush the melted coconut oil on the foil to avoid the salmon sticking
  4. Place the salmon on the pan and brush with Dijon Mustard, adding salt and pepper to taste as desired and then top with the crushed cashews
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through
Coconut Creamed Spinach
  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1 TBSP of ghee and then add the spinach just to wilt. Avoid cooking too long or it may become mushy. Once wilted, set aside.
  2. Add the other TBSP of ghee to the same pan to melt
  3. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent
  4. Add coconut milk and allow to come to a simmer
  5. Whisk in arrowroot powder to thicken and then reduce the heat, stirring the spinach to combine
  6. Enjoy!


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