This pesto salmon recipe is healthy and full of flavor. It’s a quick way to dress up a standard salmon fillet, which is amazing on its own, but even tastier with pesto spread on top. Supper will be ready in less than 20 minutes and your family is sure to ask for this meal over and over again!
In Alaska, Sockeye salmon is a staple, and for good reason. It’s a lean source of protein, full of omega-3s and brain-healthy fats, and countless other health benefits. It’s also delicious and versatile and can be prepared in many ways including grilling, baking, smoking, pressure-canning, and more.
Wild-caught fish is much more beneficial than farm-raised fish. If you can’t go fishing in Alaska for salmon yourself, be sure to purchase yours from a sustainable, reliable source or from your local organic market.
Pesto salmon is a simple recipe with only a few real ingredients. Homemade pesto is so easy to whip up or if you’re really short on time, you can pick up pesto sauce from the grocery store.
Be sure to pull your salmon out to thaw if it’s been in the freezer. Follow these instructions for safely freezing and thawing salmon and other fish.
This is such a delicious and healthy salmon recipe that you can even pull together on busy weeknights. Pair with a salad or some pasta and you’ll be all set!
Ingredients for Pesto Salmon Recipe
There are only a few simple ingredients to make this easy recipe!
- Salmon– We use wild caught sockeye salmon that we catch here in Alaska. If you don’t have access to freshly caught wild fish, find a sustainable source or purchase wild caught fish from your local organic market. There are several Alaskan fishermen that sell their wild caught salmon online.
- Basil– I grow a lot of basil during the summer and make several batches of pesto to freeze for later. This pesto recipe freezes so well and makes a nice treat during the winter when there isn’t any fresh basil around. Homemade basil pesto is so quick and easy to make and much more delicious than store-bought pesto.
- Parmesan Cheese– I love making homemade cheese from the raw milk of our diary cows but parmesan can be tricky to make. If I need to purchase cheese, I always opt for a block rather than the pregrated stuff that usually has extra ingredients in it.
- Olive Oil
- Pine Nuts– You can also substitute walnuts or your favorite nut if you don’t have any pine nuts on hand, but they are delicious. If you don’t use them all, pine nuts are so tasty lightly toasted in a saucepan and then sprinkled on a salad.
- Garlic– Leave the clove whole, no need to chop it up ahead of time.
- Salt and Black Pepper
This easy baked pesto salmon recipe makes enough for one large fillet to be shared by a family. If you have a couple of small salmon pieces or multiple fillets, you can easily double the pesto sauce to make more.
Tools You Will Need
- Measuring cups
- Food processor or an immersion blender and a glass quart jar- I don’t have a food processor so I just use an immersion blender. It works great!
- Baking sheet or baking dish
How to Make Pesto Salmon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse fresh salmon if needed and gently pat dry.
Place salmon fillets skin side down on a parchment paper, baking mat, or foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to taste.
In a food processor or a glass quart jar, add the fresh basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic clove. Puree until smooth.
Spoon 1 or 2 heaping tablespoons onto each piece and spread around to cover the whole top of the fillet.
Bake salmon for 10 to 15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork or the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
Serve warm with one or two side dishes, such as a salad and some pasta, for an easy weeknight meal.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftover pesto salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up 3 days. Or freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Read this post for proper freezing and thawing of fish.
Reheat leftover pesto salmon in a 350 degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through. You can also microwave leftover salmon for 30 seconds at a time until heated through.
Store leftover pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If you do have some pesto leftover, a great way to use it is to mix it in with cooked pasta, spread on veggies before baking them, or spread on chicken prior to baking. This easy pesto recipe can be used for so many other dishes!
You will love the tasty pesto flavor on tender fillets of salmon in this healthy dinner recipe. This easy weeknight dinner will impress your family and is even perfect for serving guests. Just make the pesto ahead of time so all you’ll have to do is spread it on the salmon and bake.
This is the easiest salmon recipe with rich flavor and our family loves it. I hope you enjoy this taste of Alaska as well!
Pesto Salmon Recipe
- Food processor or immersion blender
- Sheet pan or baking dish
- Measuring cups
- 1 Salmon fillet
- 2 cups Fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- 1/4 cup Pine nuts
- 2 Garlic cloves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil or use a glass baking dish.
- Rinse salmon if needed and gently pat dry. Set on baking dish, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor (or in a glass quart jar if using an immersion blender), combine basil, parmesan cheese, olive il, pine nuts, and whole garlic cloves. Puree until smooth.
- Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto onto salmon and spread out to cover the entire fillet.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily or internal temperature is 425 degrees F.
- Serve warm with a favorite salad, pasta, or other side dish.