The Best Omega-3 Foods (and How to Cook Them)

The "good fat" in foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease and even improve your mental health. It's also great for your skin, bones and joints! Here's a look at some of the top omega-3 foods, along with recipes you can try at home.

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Fresh salmon with spices; Shutterstock ID 91610936hlphoto/Shutterstock

Salmon

The USDA recommends eating fish at least 2x a week, including some that are higher in omega-3s. Because salmon is one of the most omega-3-rich foods available, it’s a great choice! Both wild-caught and farm-raised are good options. Here are some tips for finding the best filet.

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Garlic & Herb Artichoke Salmon

If you’re new to cooking fish (or even if you’re a pro), this no-fail salmon recipe is one you have to try. It’s easy enough for everyday, but also wows at dinner parties. —Margee Berry, White Salmon, Washington
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Ginger-Glazed Grilled Salmon

Our family loves salmon prepared this way, and it's a real treat to make on a warm summer evening. These fillets may be baked in the oven at 450 degrees for 18 minutes, basting occasionally. —Wanda Toews, Cromer, Manitoba
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Citrus Salmon en Papillote

Citrus Salmon en Papillote

This salmon dish is so easy to make yet so delicious, elegant and impressive. —Dahlia Abrams, Detroit, Michigan
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Grilled Salmon Wraps

We eat fish on Fridays, so I like to experiment with different types. I pulled salmon, spinach and avocado from the fridge for these wraps. My kids loved them, and I did, too! They're delicious, and they contain all five food groups right in one hand-held meal. —Jennifer Krey, Clarence, New York
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Salmon & Spinach Salad with Avocado

We eat a power salad packed with salmon and spinach at least once a week. It’s a cinch to make, even after a hard day’s work. —Jenny Dawson, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Find more healthy salmon recipes for dinner.

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Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the best vegetarian sources of omega-3s. Perfect for topping salads, oatmeal, desserts, and even smoothies, walnuts are also an incredible source of copper, which helps your body absorb iron.

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Rosemary Walnuts

My Aunt Mary started making this recipe years ago. Each time we visited, she would have a batch ready for us. The use of cayenne adds an unexpected zing to the savory combo of rosemary and walnuts. When you need a good housewarming or hostess gift, double the batch and save half for yourself. —Renee Ciancio, New Bern, North Carolina
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Pumpkin with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Don't hold off on serving pumpkin, thinking it can be only the finale to dinner. Bring it to the forefront with this unique and lovely side dish that will garner you lots of recipe requests. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington
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Baked Acorn Squash with Blueberry-Walnut Filling

I absolutely love squash—and I've filled it with so many variations of savory stuffing over the years. But my favorite way to stuff it is with an unexpected fruit filling, like this sweet apple-blueberry one. —Bruce Newcomer, Fredericksburg, Virginia
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Harvest Squash Medley

To me, cooking is an art, and I love trying new recipes. For this one, I dressed up baked butternut squash, sweet potatoes and apples with citrus and spices. —Ruth Cowley, Pipe Creek, Texas

See why we’re nuts about walnuts!

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Roasted Green Beans with Lemon & Walnuts

I first tasted roasted green beans in a Chinese restaurant and fell in love with the texture and flavor. This is my Americanized version and it's always a big hit at our holiday table. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Flaxseeds

Another vegan/vegetarian source of omega-3s, flaxseeds are a superfood full of nutrition. Packed with magnesium and vitamin E, flax is a great addition to baked goods, smoothies and yogurt.

Note: Flaxseeds will pass through your GI tract intact, so make sure to buy flax meal or crush them yourself before eating to receive all the nutritional benefits.

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Flaxseed Oatmeal Pancakes

I came up with this healthy and really tasty recipe because my husband loves pancakes. They have a great texture and cinnamon taste. —Sharon Hansen, Pontiac, Illinois
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Flaxseed Bread

“This hearty, whole grain bread is among my all-time favorites,” says Jennifer Niemi of Kingston, Nova Scotia. “The flaxseed adds a nutty texture. Every slice is so satisfying.”
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Cinnamon Granola Bars

I make these at least once a week for my husband, David. He takes one in his lunch every week and never gets tired of them. I love providing him with something so healthy to snack on that doesn't taste low-fat. —Jessica VanLaningham, Cockeysville, Maryland
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Bananas Foster Bread

This moist, tender bread has all the flavors of New Orleans’ famous dessert. And the rum-flavored glaze on top’s amazing! —Christen Chalmers, Houston, Texas
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Get-Up-and-Go Granola

My family loves to have this soul-warming granola before hiking, biking or even when camping. It smells delicious while baking up and you can easily make in large batches for special occasions or to send in gift packages to family and friends. —Sabrina Olson, Otsego, Minnesota
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Anchovies

The anchovy is often overlooked as a flavoring agent for sauces and dressings, but it’s actually a nutritional powerhouse. Not only are they a great source of omega-3’s but because anchovies are eaten whole (bones included) they are a great source of calcium. Here are 10 new ideas for how to use them.

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Shrimp Puttanesca

I throw together these bold ingredients for a feisty seafood pasta. —Lynda Balslev, Sausalito, California
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Linguine with Broccoli Rabe & Peppers

Broccoli rabe is one of my favorite veggies. Since it cooks right with the pasta, you can multitask. Before you know it, dinner is served. —Gilda Lester, Millsboro, Delaware
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Calamari Salad

This is one of the seven fish dishes we serve at Christmas time. It is easy to make and quite delicious! I enjoy it served both warm and cold. Either way, it has become one of our traditional dishes each year. The recipe has been passed down to me through my grandparents, who were excellent cooks. —Paul Rinaldi, Easton, Pennsylvania
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Green Olive Tapenade

“This recipe offers an excellent way to create elegant and full-flavored appetizers,” writes Teresa Spencer from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. “It’s perfect with wine and other drinks."
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Caesar Coleslaw

If you're in the mood to bring something a little different to the cookout, here's a reliable slaw I make whenever we're grilling or roasting for a crowd. It lasts in the fridge for days and leftovers make terrific burger or sandwich toppers. —Sarah De Ruiter, East Lansing, Michigan
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Healthy Chia seeds in a wooden spoon on the table close-up. horizontalAS Food studio/Shutterstock

Chia Seeds

Trendy chia seeds are another great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These seeds are an incredible source of protein, calcium and manganese, a mineral that boosts your immune system. See what chia seeds taste like.

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Lemon Chia Seed Parfaits

These bright and tangy parfaits start the day on a healthy note, but they're also sweet enough to double as dessert. —Crystal Schlueter, Babbitt, Minnesota
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Chia Seed Protein Bites

I keep these little bites on hand in my refrigerator and grab them for breakfast or a snack when I'm in a hurry. We have a lot of food allergies in our family and I like to keep healthy snacks around that everyone can eat. This recipe has no gluten, eggs, dairy or corn, so it's the perfect go-to treat in our house. —Tanja Miller, Peoria, Arizona
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Chia Orange Yogurt

I love the sweet combination of vanilla and yogurt in the morning; it makes me feel as if I'm eating dessert for breakfast. —Marion McNeill, Mayfield Heights, Ohio
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Soybeans

More commonly known as edamame, soybeans are a snappy source of omega-3 fatty acids. Edamame are also great sources of fiber and B vitamins like riboflavin and folate, which help boost your energy level. These little beans are great additions to salads, pasta dishes or just as an afternoon snack.

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Edamame Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

This bright baby kale salad is packed with a little bit of everything: hearty greens, a nutty crunch, a zip of citrusy goodness and a big protein punch. It's pure bliss in a bowl. —Darla Andrews, Schertz, Texas
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Edamame and Soba Noodle Bowl

Toothsome soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour. —Matthew Hass, Franklin, Wisconsin
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Spicy Edamame

Edamame (pronounced eh-duh-MAH-may) are young soybeans in their pods. In our Test Kitchen, we boiled and seasoned them with salt, ginger, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Edamame Corn Carrot Salad

I came up with this easy salad while brainstorming light, protein-filled recipes. My vegetarian and vegan friends are especially big fans. —Maiah Miller, Monterey, California
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Linguine with Edamame and Tomatoes

Featuring garden-fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, and edamame, this bright and hearty dish is a marvelous meatless meal any weeknight. —Diana Rios, Lytle, Texas
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Cooked fresh shrimps on a white plate over old white wooden tableNatali Zakharova/Shutterstock

Shrimp

A party-time favorite, shrimp is not only delicious but packed with omega-3’s, protein and potassium. Shrimp is a great food to purchase frozen as they thaw easily and quickly, and tend to have the freshest taste. Learn how to pick the best shrimp for your recipes.

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Sheet-Pan Chipotle-Lime Shrimp Bake

I like to make this seafood dinner for company because it tastes amazing, but takes very little effort to throw together. Use asparagus, Broccolini or a mix of the two. It’s all about what's available for a decent price. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Shrimp Fried Rice

This delectable shrimp fried rice is filled with color and taste that makes it vanish fast. Our family of four can't get enough of it. Bacon adds crispness and a hint of heartiness. Consider it when you need a different main dish or brunch item. —Sandra Thompson, White Hall, Arkansas
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Cajun Boil on the Grill

I came up with these everything-in-one seafood packets for a family reunion, since the recipe can be increased to feed a bunch. The foil steams up inside, so open carefully. —Allison Brooks, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Garlic Lemon Shrimp

You'll be amazed that you can make this simple, elegant pasta in mere minutes. Serve with crusty bread to soak up all of the garlic lemon sauce. —Athena Russell, Greenville, South Carolina
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Marinated Shrimp

My husband's aunt shared this recipe with me ages ago. Not only is it a Christmas Eve tradition in my home, but in the homes of our grown children as well. —Delores Hill, Helena, Montana

Find more easy shrimp recipes for dinner.

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Spinach

Popeye didn’t tout the benefits of spinach for nothing! Not only is spinach high in iron, but it’s a great source of omega-3’s. You can toss fresh spinach into most savory dishes. It’s also a great purchase from the frozen section, just make sure to wring out the water after thawing. Psst! Are you making this mistake with baby spinach?

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Chicken & Spinach Tortellini Soup

Shredded rotisserie chicken is complemented by fresh green spinach and cheese tortellini in this quick-to-fix soup. It makes a great starter or a light meal with a salad and crusty bread. —Charlene Chambers, Ormond Beach, Florida
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Spinach-Artichoke Rigatoni

I love pasta and so does my family, but they are not so keen on their veggies. This a one-pot meal that gets us all eating our spinach. —Yvonne Starlin, Hermitage, Tennessee
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Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

This salad has been a family favorite for a while! I love to bring this to parties or simply eat as a wonderful lunch or side dish. —Nikki Barton, Providence, Utah
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Spinach Turkey Meatballs

Our children call these "Gramby Meatballs" because the recipe came from my dear mother-in-law. It's a great way to make spinach palatable. I usually make a triple batch, bake them all and freeze the extras for a quick meal later. —Mimi Blanco, Bronxville, New York
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Spanakopita Casserole

This traditional Spanakopita Casserole features spinach and feta cheese. You can serve it as a side dish or meatless main dish. My dad and I used to fight over the last piece. —Sharon Olney, Galt, California

Christina Manian, RDN
Christina Manian is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist based out of Boulder, Colorado. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, she has been involved with the nutrition departments of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Mass General Hospital. She completed her nutrition education at the Mayo Clinic with a focus on medical nutrition therapy and most recently practiced clinical nutrition at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. While her background has largely been in the clinical setting, Christina embraces and is shifting her focus towards wellness nutrition as the backbone to optimum health.