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Pesto Crusted Salmon

$17.01 Recipe/$4.25 Serving

Pesto crusted salmon is perfect for weeknight meals but also fancy enough for guests! This simple sheet pan meal recipe is ready in under 20 minutes and is packed with flavor! Pesto crusted salmon with tomatoes and asparagus is naturally gluten free, dairy free, paleo, Whole30 and low carb (keto) friendly!

Pesto salmon baked on a sheet pan.

Why you will love this recipe:

  • The pesto on top of the salmon helps keep the salmon tender and moist during cooking! The pesto is also packed with flavor and makes weeknight salmon even more exciting!
  • You can make your own pesto (dairy free) or buy store bought and this recipe will turn out equally as delicious!
  • Cook your veggies right alongside of the salmon! This sheet pan meal means less dishes to clean up and everything cooks at one time!
  • This pesto crusted salmon is even great the next day! Serve it on your favorite salad with an Italian dressing! Perfect for quick weekday lunches!
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Ingredients:

Spinach Walnut Pesto:

  • Basil
  • Spinach
  • Walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt

Pesto Crusted Salmon:

  • Pesto (from above or store bought)
  • Salmon
  • Asparagus
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
Pesto crusted salmon with veggies on a white plate.

Instructions:

Start by preheating the oven to 425F.

Make the pesto in the food processor by combining the basil, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic powder. Blend on high until the basil is broken down. Add the cashews next and process on high until walnuts are well incorporated. Last add the spinach to process until you get the consistency of pesto (about 1 minute).

TIP: If you need to add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the pesto to get the right consistency you can! Just go slow as it can get watery very quickly.

How to make spinach walnut pesto.

Add parchment paper or aluminum foil to an extra-large baking sheet.

If you have a large salmon fillet, cut it down into smaller pieces (I like to use my kitchen shears for this). It’s easier to cut the salmon down now than trying to cut it into portions after cooking.

Spray the parchment with non-stick (avocado oil or olive oil) and add the salmon filets, skin side down. Divide the pesto between the filets and distribute it well with the back of a spoon.

Add the veggies to the other side of the sheet pan and squeeze the lemon juice over them and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.

Bake in 425F oven for 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve immediately with your favorite side dish!

Steps on how to make pesto salmon with vegetables.
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What to serve with pesto crusted salmon:

Pesto Salmon flaked on the plate with veggies.

Other veggies you could use:

This recipe uses asparagus and cherry tomatoes because they pair really well with the salmon and also cook at the same time in the oven. You could also use:

  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Zucchini or summer squash(cut into coins)
  • Onions (white or red)
  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli Crowns, chopped small

Tips for preparing salmon

Most store bought salmon has been cleaned by your fish monger or at the grocery store before purchase. However it’s always a great idea to run your thumb over the salmon to check for any pin bones that may have been missed before cooking.

If you find a pin bone, you can remove them with tweezers or needle nose pliers.

If you buy salmon with the skin on, you can leave it on while cooking. It’s quite difficult to remove the skin yourself from salmon before cooking. Once done cooking the salmon will easily break free from the skin.

When shopping for salmon, I like to make sure it’s wild caught. Farm raised salmon is often fed color additives, given antibiotics and is a higher ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids than wild caught.

Wild caught salmon is often more expensive but I often find it in large 1-2 pound filets in the frozen section of the store. At least every month or two wild caught salmon goes on sale and I make sure to buy 2-3 of these at once and store them in the freezer for later use.

To defrost salmon, just put it in the fridge overnight. If you need to quickly defrost salmon, I have a trick. Grab a sheet pan (baking pan) and put the salmon out on the counter on the sheet pan. Something about the sheet pan pulls the cold from the salmon and helps it defrost faster. Flip it occasionally so it defrosts from both sides.

Pesto topped salmon on a sheet pan before baking.

Storage:

Fridge: Store the leftover salmon in the fridge for up to 3 days after cooking. You can reheat it in the oven (I like to use the toaster oven) or the air fryer for best results, or serve cold.

Freezer: I wouldn’t recommend freezing this after cooking,  however you can make the pesto ahead of time and freezing that for later use.

Substitutions:

  • Homemade pesto: You can also use your favorite store bought pesto (you will need about 1 cup of pesto). One of my favorite store bought pestos is the Kale Cashew Pesto from Trader Joe’s.
  • Salmon: This recipe is great with trout if you cannot find salmon.
  • Veggies: Use your favorite veggie (see above for ideas).
Sheet pan with pesto crusted salmon and vegetables.

If you love seafood, you have to try:

What you need to make this recipe:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
Pesto salmon flaked on the plate with veggies.

Pesto Crusted Salmon and Veggies

$17.01 recipe/$4.25 serving
Pesto crusted salmon with veggies is the perfect healthy dinner ready in under 20 minutes! This pesto salmon is gluten free, dairy free, low carb, Whole30 friendly recipe is baked in the oven with asparagus and tomatoes. Perfect for weeknight meals but fancy enough for guests!
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: pesto crusted salmon, pesto salmon
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4 people

Guided Recipe Video

Ingredients

Spinach Walnut Pesto

Pesto Salmon and veggies

  • 1 cup pesto (recipe above)
  • 1 pound salmon, wild caught - 8.99
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed - $1.99
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped - $1.50
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced - $0.21
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder - $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt - $0.03

Instructions

Spinach Walnut Pesto

  • Add basil, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic powder to the food processor. Process on high 30 seconds to combine.
  • Add the walnuts to the food processor and process on high to combine, about 1 minute.
  • Add the spinach to the food processor and process on high, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides. Add 1-2 tbsp. of water if needed.

Pesto Salmon with veggies

  • Preheat the oven to 425F
  • Add parchment paper or foil to a large baking sheet. Spray the parchment with non-stick spray (avocado oil/olive oil).
  • Place salmon on the baking sheet. Divide the pesto between the salmon filets and spread it out with a spoon.
  • Add the asparagus and tomatoes to the sheet pan. Squeeze the lemon juice over the veggies and sprinkle them with salt and garlic powder.
  • Bake in 425F oven for 12 minutes.
  • Serve hot or room temperature.

Notes

Other veggies you could use:
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Zucchini or summer squash(cut into coins)
  • Onions (white or red)
  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli Crowns, chopped small
Storage:
Store the leftover salmon in the fridge for up to 3 days after cooking. You can reheat it in the oven (I like to use the toaster oven) or the air fryer for best results, or serve cold.
Freezer: I wouldn’t recommend freezing this after cooking, however you can make the pesto ahead of time and freezing that for later use.
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
368
Fat
 
20
g
Carbohydrates
 
11
g
Fiber
 
5
g
Sugar
 
5
g
Protein
 
39
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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