Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout, a protein-rich food that provides heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, is a great alternative to salmon. Its tender pink flesh cooks quickly and needs little more than a squeeze of lemon juice to add flavour.

Rainbow Trout

Nutrition Notes

Rainbow trout is an excellent source of protein that's low in cholesterol-raising saturated fat and rich in omega-3 fatty acids. One food guide 2.5-ounce (75 g) serving of rainbow trout provides 128 calories, 20 grams of protein, only 1.3 grams of saturated fat, and a total of 8400 milligrams of DHA and EPA, the two heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The amount of DHA and EPA in one 3 ounce serving of rainbow trout provides almost double the intake of omega-3 fatty acids thought to prevent heart disease (500 milligrams per day).

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) also plays a key role in memory and cognitive function. DHA makes up 60 percent of the membranes in the brain, keeping them fluid so that memory messages can pass easily between brain cells. An adequate intake of DHA - from fish like rainbow trout - is particularly important for pregnant and lactating women as they nourish their developing infants. Older adults at risk for Alzheimer's disease can also benefit from increasing their intake of DHA by eating fatty fish like rainbow trout.

A serving of rainbow trout also provides two day's worth of vitamin B12 - eseential for healthy nerves, blood cells and DNA - and also serves up calcium, potassium and selenium.

Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating recommends eating at least two servings of fish each week. One serving (3 oz/85 g) of rainbow trout provides the following nutrients:

Calories 128 kcal
Protein 20 g
Total Fat  5 g
Saturated Fat  1.3 g
Omega-3's 8500 mg
Vitamin B12 5.3 mcg  
Niacin 5 mg
Calcium 73 mg
Potassium 381 mg
Selenium 11.2 mcg

Source: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27


Rainbow trout, which belongs to the Salmo family of fish, is closely related to salmon and Artic char - two other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Steelhead salmon refers to rainbow trout that's found in the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean while rainbow trout is the fish that's harvested or cultured in lakes, rivers and other inland bodies of water.

In addition to being farmed, wild rainbow trout can be fished from the rivers and lakes of British Columbia where they'll grow to be as much as 39 inches long!


Fresh or frozen rainbow trout have the same nutritional value. Your local grocery store or fish monger should have fresh rainbow trout available throughout the year.  If you are buying fresh trout, choose a whole or filleted fish that has shiny scales and is firm and slightly elastic to touch. Fresh rainbow trout will have a mild odour but it shouldn't smell fishy.

If buying frozen rainbow trout, avoid any fillets that show signs of brown discolouration or dried out edges.  Choose a package of frozen rainbow trout that has little or no air trapped inside to minimize freezer burn.


Wrap fresh rainbow trout in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no longer than one or two days.

For longer storage, label the packaged rainbow trout with the date of purchase and freeze it for up to two months.


Fresh rainbow trout can be baked whole or as fillets. Frozen rainbow trout can be cooked without being thawed if you can spare the additional cooking time. (Thawing frozen rainbow trout in cold water takes about 30 minutes per pound.)

To bake fresh rainbow trout, preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Rinse the fish and pat it dry with a paper towel. Place the whole or filleted trout in a baking pan, brush with olive oil and season to taste.

Estimate the thickness of the rainbow trout and bake for 10 minutes per one inch (2.5 cm) of thickness. Flip the trout half way through the cooking time, unless it's less than half an inch (1 cm) thick.

If you're cooking rainbow trout wrapped in foil or sauce, add five minutes to the cooking time.

Rainbow trout that's opaque and flakes easily with a fork is ready to be enjoyed.


Rainbow trout is delicious cooked on the grill or in the oven. Its tender pink flesh cooks quickly and needs little more than a squeeze of lemon juice to add flavour.

Healthy Ways to Enjoy


  • Make scrambled eggs combined with cooked rainbow trout, green onions and red pepper for a delicious omega-3 rich breakfast.
  • Enjoy smoked rainbow trout, instead of salmon, with light cream cheese on half a wholegrain bagel.


  • For a light lunch, simmer a fillet of fresh rainbow trout in low sodium vegetable broth and sprinkle with fresh dill or thyme. Serve with your favourite tossed green salad.
  • Add cooked rainbow trout to leftover vegetable soup for added protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Wrap pieces of cooked rainbow trout, baby spinach, sliced avocado and salsa in a soft wholegrain tortilla for a delicious fish taco.
  • Combine chunks of cooked rainbow trout with whole wheat pasta tossed with extra virgin olive oil, chopped green onions and a squeeze of lemon for a tasty lunch.


  • Make a salad niçoise by combining cooked chunks of rainbow trout with chilled, cooked green beans, halved small potatoes, sliced hard-boiled eggs, capers, and black olives for a nutrient-rich supper.
  • Wrap a whole rainbow trout in aluminum foil with two chopped tomatoes, one-half cup (125 ml) of black olives and one chopped red onion. Bake in the oven for a Portuguese-inspired dinner.
  • Skewer marinated chunks of rainbow trout with scallops, shrimp, mushrooms and chunks of red pepper. Grill on the barbeque or broil in the oven for a delicious entrée.
  • Add cooked rainbow trout to your favourite stir-fry (add at the end of cooking).
  • Bake a rainbow trout steak, instead of salmon, and serve over a bed of leafy greens for a healthy meal.


  • Enjoy slices of smoked rainbow trout on thinly-sliced rye or pumpernickel bread for a protein pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon.

More Information

http://www.freshwater-fishing-canada.com/rainbowtroutfishingcanada.html - Fresh Water Fishing in Canada

http://ats-sea.agr.gc.ca/seafood/trout_rainbow-e.htm - Agriculture Canada, Fish and Seafood

Did you know?

Rainbow trout is rated in the top five sport fish in North America because of the hard fight they put up.