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Pesto-Crusted Salmon


Pesto-crusted salmon recipe made with garlic, crunchy nuts, and juicy fresh tomatoes. This combination goes so well together that the flavorful meal is guaranteed.

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close up shot of cast iron pan with salmon topped with red tomatoes and green pesto sauce

Recipe Features

  • Pesto-crusted salmon is a perfect summer recipe and a great way to use seasonal produce like chard and tomatoes.
  • The chard pesto helps you sneak more vegetables into your meal-plus it pairs so well with wild-caught Alaskan salmon!
  • It’s cooked in one skillet! Fewer dirty dishes for after dinner.
  • This dish is naturally low-carb and gluten-free.

Key Ingredients

ingredients to make pesto salmon

Ingredient Notes

  • Salmon. I like to get wild-caught salmon from local Costco or Trader Joe’s.
  • Chard. Chard leaves are the base of the pesto; they have a mild, pleasant bitterness.
  • Grape Tomatoes. Fresh grape tomatoes add a juicy, meaty pop of freshness to cut through the fattiness of salmon.
  • Olive oil. Using good olive oil for the pesto adds a fruity note and gives it a spreadable texture.
  • Pecans. You will need raw and unsalted pecans for this recipe.
  • Garlic. Fresh garlic adds a nice bite and cuts through the rich salmon flavor.

How to Make It

1. Gather the ingredients—Preheat the oven at 350F degrees. Make the pesto. Wash and dry chard, remove stems. In a food processor, place chard, nuts, olive oil, garlic, and pulse for 2 minutes till combined and looks like pesto-sauce texture.

food processor with pesto inside

2. Prep the salmon. Wash, pat dry, and using kitchen shears slice salmon into four fillets.

four pieces of raw sliced salmon

3. Fry the salmon. Heat cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add olive oil, arrange fillet and fry for 3 minutes on each side.

cast iron pan with slices of salmon inside

4. Bake. Once each side is slightly browned, add pesto sauce on top of each fillet. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes on a middle rack. Serve. Slice tomatoes, add to the pan on top of the salmon before serving.

cast iron pan with cooked slices of salmon topped with pesto sauce

Recipe Tips

  • Ensure the salmon is cooked through but not overcooked; a food thermometer should read 145 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the salmon filets. If you don’t have a thermometer, the thickest part of the salmon filets should flake easily with the fork.
  • Frying the salmon first ensures crispy skin and helps the fillet hold together better when fully cooked through.
  • If you find the fishiness of salmon off-putting, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over it to mellow the flavor.
  • Don’t throw away the stacks of the chard after you strip the leaves! You can cook them as a side dish or add them to another recipe.
  • For more Italian flair, sprinkle some grated parmesan over the salmon before serving.
  • To make this a whole meal, serve with a salad for a light side or cooked rice to soak up all those delicious juices.
  • If you are pressed for time, try using store-bought pesto.
  • Don’t have chard? This pesto also works with spinach or basil
  • Use walnuts or more traditional pine nuts if you are not a fan of pecans.
white plate with cooked salmon slice topped with green sauce and bright red grape tomatoes

Related Recipes

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close up shot of cast iron pan with salmon topped with red tomatoes and green pesto sauce

Pesto-Crusted Salmon

Natalia-Flavorful Home
Pesto-crusted salmon recipe made with garlic, crunchy nuts, and juicy fresh tomatoes. This combination goes so well together that the flavorful meal is guaranteed.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 609 kcal

Equipment

  • cast iron skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chard packed, no stems
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for frying
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 pound salmon
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes

Instructions
 

  • Gather the ingredients—Preheat the oven at 350F degrees.
  • Make the pesto. Wash and dry chard, remove stems. In a food processor, place chard, nuts, olive oil, garlic, and pulse for 2 minutes till combined and looks like pesto-sauce texture.
  • Prep the salmon. Wash, pat dry, and using kitchen shears slice salmon into four fillets.
  • Fry the salmon. Heat cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add olive oil, arrange fillet and fry for 3 minutes on each side.
  • Bake. Once each side is slightly browned, add pesto sauce on top of each fillet. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes on a middle rack.
  • Serve. Slice tomatoes, add to the pan on top of the salmon before serving.

Notes

  • Don’t overcook the fish. To check if salmon is cooked, use a food thermometer. The internal temperature of the cooked salmon should be 145F degrees. If checking with a fork, the salmon should flake easily in the thickest part.
  • If possible, choose wild-caught salmon.
  • Fry salmon first. It will help to keep the sturdy texture and make salmon skin more flavorful.
  • Use quality olive oil.

Nutrition

Calories: 609kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 36gFat: 50gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 261mgPotassium: 1047mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1486IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 2mg
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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document easy real food recipes perfect for busy families. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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