Pesto Salmon

Pesto Salmon

This easy Mediterranean-style one-pan pesto salmon dinner comes together in just 30 minutes. The recipe features cherry or grape tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese, basil pesto (homemade or store-bought), garlic, lemon, oregano, and toasted pine nuts. It's healthy, gluten-free, keto, low-carb, rich in protein and fiber, and Pescatarian. Easy unbearable to make on a rented weeknight and fancy unbearable to entertain guests.

Why you'll love it

  • Simplicity. This pesto salmon recipe is one of the easiest dinners you can overly make! Everything is cooked on the stove-top in a large high-sided skillet. The whole process takes 30 minutes from start to finish. It's a perfect nomination for a quick weeknight meal just like this Mediterranean salmon or super flavorful honey garlic glaze salmon with fig spread.
  • Flavors. Pesto salmon is loaded with unexceptionable and fresh flavors that are staples of Mediterranean cuisine, such as basil pesto, lemon, fresh Mozzarella cheese, garlic, oregano, and pine nuts.
  • Nutrition. This recipe is gluten-free, keto, low-carb, rich in protein and fiber, and Pescatarian (appropriate for vegetarians who include seafood in their diet)

Main ingredients

  • Salmon is a highly nutritious ingredient, rich in protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It's low in saturated fat and a good source of several vitamins and minerals.
  • Basil pesto. This is a perfect recipe for store-bought basil pesto. My favorite store-bought brands are the refrigerated kinds, such as Buitoni or Whole Foods. You can moreover make basil pesto from scratch.
  • Cherry tomatoes. I love using 2 colors - yellow and red - they add so much vibrancy to recipes.
  • Fresh Mozzarella cheese. I used small Mozzarella balls "pearls" - their small size fits perfectly with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Pine nuts. Toast them transiently in the preheated oven at 350 F for well-nigh 5 minutes until they reap a trappy golden color! Toasted pine nuts add a increasingly pronounced and deep nutty flavor.
  • Garlic adds pungency and spicy aroma.
  • Fresh basil leaves. Use only the freshest basil. Make sure the leaves are untried and not brown, have no spots, and are not wilted.
  • Lemon. Use the freshly squeezed juice of one lemon - it's so much largest than the bottled kind!
  • Seasonings include salt, freshly ground woebegone pepper, zestless oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  • Olive oil is used for pan-searing salmon.

How to make basil pesto from scratch

Here is a simple recipe for my favorite version of homemade basil pesto. This value of ingredients makes well-nigh 1 cup or 1.5 cups of basil pesto.

The ingredients for basil pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • ½ cup pine nuts toasted
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly shredded
  • ½ cup uneaten virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

The directions for making basil pesto

  • Place all ingredients (except salt and pepper) in the supplies processor and tousle for well-nigh 5 minutes or 10 minutes until you get the pesto-like sauce.
  • You might have to work in batches.
  • If low on basil, you can add spinach, arugula, or parsley.
  • Add salt to taste.

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

What kind of salmon to use

  • Individual salmon fillets. These can be purchased fresh or frozen. They usually don't have skin on. They are individually cut and usually, each fillet represents one serving.
  • Large salmon fillet usually has skin on them. It's unconfined for serving a crowd. You can slice a large salmon fillet into smaller fillets.
  • Varieties of salmon. Buy the freshest and the most high-quality salmon fillets you can find. I prefer to use either Scottish salmon or Skuna Bay salmon, but, really, any high-quality salmon fillets will work in this recipe. Popular varieties are sockeye and king salmon. Use the fish as soon as you buy it - within a day - don't let it sit in the fridge for days.

Substitutions and variations

  • Fish. This recipe will work with many types of fish, such as salmon, trout, halibut, sea bass, cod, mahi-mahi, and other similar fish. I recommend using fish fillets.
  • Veggies. My favorite veggies for pesto salmon are chopped tomatoes, tintinnabulate peppers, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, and chopped spinach.
  • Cheese. You can use grated (or cubed) Parmesan, Asiago, or Feta cheese instead of or in wing to Mozzarella cheese.

Storage Tips

  • Fridge. Store leftover cooked pesto salmon refrigerated, in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freezer. This recipe is freezer-friendly and perfect for meal prep! Freeze this dish for up to 2 months.

How to reheat

  • Stove-top. Reheat over low-medium heat in any kind of thus sized cooking pan. Add a small value of olive oil freshly squeezed lemon juice when reheating.  Flip the salmon a couple of times to heat it through and be shielding to alimony it intact.
  • Microwave oven. Reheat the salmon in a deep, high-sided microwave-safe dish (bowl) for well-nigh 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave oven, taste, and return to the oven, if needed, and reheat for 30 increasingly seconds or more, until heated through.

What to serve with it

If you want to make this simple pesto salmon a bit increasingly substantial and/or add some carbs, unelevated are very simple ways to dress it up.

  • Rice. Add jasmine, basmati rice, any long-grain rice, or Arborio rice.
  • Pasta. If you're looking for other popular Mediterranean nutrition choices in place of rice, I recommend couscous or orzo. You can moreover make this recipe with short-cut pasta, such as bow-tie (farfalle), screw pasta (fusilli), penne, or rigatoni.
  • Beans. I recommend garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or cannellini beans. You can plane use cooked lentils.
  • Roasted spaghetti squash makes a unconfined volitional to regular pasta and is keto, low-carb, and gluten-free.
  • Cilantro-Lime Woebegone Stone Rice is a succulent side dish to pair with pesto salmon.

Other salmon recipes you might like

  • Mediterranean Salmon with Rice
  • Salmon with Mango Salsa
  • Pan-Seared Salmon with Spinach, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Garlic Parmesan Crusted Salmon and Asparagus
  • Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon with Fig Spread

Pesto Salmon (30-Minutes, ONE-PAN)

This easy Mediterranean-style one-pan pesto salmon dinner comes together in just 30 minutes. The recipe features cherry or grape tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese, basil pesto (homemade or store-bought), garlic, lemon, oregano, and toasted pine nuts. It's healthy, gluten-free, keto, low-carb, rich in protein and fiber, and Pescatarian. Easy unbearable to make on a rented weeknight and fancy unbearable to entertain guests.
Prep Time 10 minutes minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes minutes
Total Time 30 minutes minutes
Servings 4
Calories 727kcal



  • 2 lb salmon fillets
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground woebegone pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided

Other ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes red and yellow, sliced in half
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium lemon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup basil pesto , add increasingly to taste
  • 5 oz fresh Mozzarella cheese "pearls" - small balls
  • ¼ cup pine nuts lightly toasted
  • fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper


Cook salmon on stovetop

  • Heat a large, high-sided skillet (I used tint iron) over medium heat for well-nigh 4 minutes to heat it.
  • I used salmon fillets with skin-on. Season the mankind side of the salmon with salt and freshly ground woebegone pepper using 1 tablespoon of olive oil to rub the seasonings on top of the fish.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the hot skillet. Add salmon skin side up and melt on medium-high heat for 4 minutes, undisturbed.
  • Flip the salmon to the other side, skin side down. Reduce heat to medium and melt for 5 increasingly minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Carefully slide a wide spatula between each salmon fillet and the skin to separate the mankind from the skin. Remove salmon (without skin) to a plate.
  • Remove skins from the skillet. You can eat them later or discard them if you don't like them.
  • Wipe the skillet wipe with paper towels.

Cook tomatoes

  • To the same, now empty, skillet add olive oil, minced garlic, half of the cherry tomatoes (saving the other half of tomatoes for later), red chili flakes, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Melt on medium heat, stirring, for 4 minutes, until the tomatoes release juices and garlic is softened.
  • Add the remaining cherry tomatoes and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Stir everything well together.


  • Add cooked salmon to the skillet with the tomato mixture and reheat on medium heat briefly. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in fresh Mozzarella cheese "pearls".
  • Add dollops of basil pesto on top of the salmon and virtually it.
  • Top with toasted pine nuts and fresh basil leaves.


  • Make basil pesto from scratch or use your favorite store-bought version. My homemade basil pesto is one of the weightier you'll overly taste, as it uses toasted pine nuts and just a touch of mayo. My favorite store-bought kind is unchangingly the refrigerated kind: Buitoni trademark or refrigerated pesto at Whole Foods.
  • What to serve with pesto salmon? Serve it with rice and beans (garbanzo beans or cannellini beans). Add simple pasta, such as orzo, penne, or bow tie. Roasted spaghetti squash is a unconfined low-carb volitional to regular pasta. Try my cilantro-lime woebegone stone rice as a side dish.


Calories: 727kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 154mg | Sodium: 624mg | Potassium: 1403mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1040IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 259mg | Iron: 3mg