Pesto-Crusted Baked Salmon Recipe

Looking for a way to shake up your regular dinner rotation? There's a quick and easy option that might just be lurking in your pantry. The bright, fresh flavors of pesto go naturally with salmon's rich taste and texture, and thus pesto-crusted salmon is born. With just a few other ingredients, this combo can be transformed into a dinner main that comes together in less than 20 minutes. Topped with a crispy, crunchy crust, a baked pesto salmon is both delicious and nutritious. 

Recipe developer Taylor Murray brings us this recipe, which she uses whenever she needs to make a quick salmon dish without much effort. This baked pesto salmon goes well served with a side of roasted vegetables or a light salad, making it a complete, balanced meal. Its ease of preparation and gourmet vibe will impress your family or guests, proving that a simple pantry staple can elevate your dinner to a new level of sophistication and taste.

Gather the ingredients for pesto-crusted baked salmon

This recipe is simple and straightforward, to allow you to pair it whatever your heart desires. Once you've secured a couple of fresh salmon fillets, you can gather the other ingredients. We'll make a quick pesto and mayonnaise mixture to add flavor and give our crust something to stick to. The crust itself will be made from a mixture of panko bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and toasted pine nuts. The two latter ingredients are not strictly necessary, but add flavor to the crust. Also, make sure that your pine nuts are toasted before putting them to use.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Step 2: Chop the pine nuts

Finely chop the pine nuts.

Step 3: Make breadcrumb mixture

In a small bowl, combine pine nuts with Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Step 4: Make the pesto mixture

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and pesto.

Step 5: Spread on salmon

Spread pesto mixture over the top of the salmon fillets.

Step 6: Top with bread crumbs

Top with breadcrumbs to form an even layer.

Step 7: Bake

Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown and salmon is cooked through, 16-18 minutes.

Step 8: Serve

Remove from tray and serve immediately.

What pairs well with pesto-crusted salmon?

When serving pesto-crusted salmon, a variety of sides can enhance the meal's flavors and textures. You could choose roasted vegetables, such as asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini, which would bring out a natural sweetness that complements the pesto. A quinoa salad with fresh veggies and a lemon vinaigrette adds a refreshing crunch and nutritional balance. For a more comforting option, garlic Parmesan orzo offers a creamy and flavorful counterpart to the rich salmon. 

Grilled corn on the cob, lightly brushed with butter, provides a smoky sweetness, while a simple couscous seasoned with lemon and herbs offers a light and fluffy choice. Baby potatoes, either roasted with herbs or boiled and tossed with butter, pair beautifully with the dish, offering a tender and satisfying side. Of course, a simple green side salad with an acidic vinaigrette is always a great, no-fuss option that tastes great, and in a pinch, you can just enjoy the salmon all on its own.

Can I make my own pesto for this salmon recipe?

This recipe calls for using prepared pesto and combining it with mayonnaise for a Of course, you can always purchase this item from a store but a fresh-made version will almost always be better. If you want to make your own pesto, there's a few key tips you'll need. First, start with a good recipe, such as this bright and fresh pesto, to get it exactly right without any room for error. If you want to try a no-recipe version, give this easy version a whirl: To make homemade pesto, blend fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor until roughly chopped. 

Drizzle in olive oil gradually while blending until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For variations, substitute pine nuts with walnuts or almonds, and try adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a handful of spinach for a twist. Adjust the ingredients according to your preference, adding more cheese for creaminess or more nuts for texture.

Pesto-Crusted Baked Salmon Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
Make dinner a simple affair with this pesto-crusted baked salmon recipe, which comes together in less than 30 minutes.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
16
minutes
Servings
2
Servings
Plate with pesto crusted salmon
Total time: 26 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon pesto
  • 2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Finely chop the pine nuts.
  3. In a small bowl, combine pine nuts with Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and pesto.
  5. Spread pesto mixture over the top of the salmon fillets.
  6. Top with breadcrumbs to form an even layer.
  7. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown and salmon is cooked through, 16-18 minutes.
  8. Remove from tray and serve immediately.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 677
Total Fat 45.5 g
Saturated Fat 9.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 107.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Total Sugars 1.1 g
Sodium 442.1 mg
Protein 41.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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