A healthy Pesto Salmon Recipe, baked with a delicious walnut and parmesan crust. Serve this healthy baked salmon recipe with veggies and a homemade basil pesto sauce for a low carb, keto and gluten free dinner.
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Oven Baked Pesto Salmon
If you love salmon like me, you probably serve it a lot. While nothing beats the ease of simply seasoning salmon with salt, pepper, and lemon, and popping it in the oven to bake, I love this recipe for beating boredom, or dressing it up for a special dinner!
And I promise – it’s still super easy.
This feels like a spa meal. Super nourishing and fresh, simple but flavorful.
What takes this pesto salmon recipe over the top is the crunchy topping. I use chopped walnuts and parmesan cheese, seasoned with salt and pepper, to add a layer of flavor to the fish. This is optional, but makes the dish extra special!
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- Salmon filets
- Parmesan Cheese
- Veggies (I use broccoli, peppers, and cherry tomatoes here)
A Lightened Up Basil Pesto
Have you ever made pesto? I used to make it weekly, but I have been slacking lately! Such a great topping/spread/salad dressing. So versatile, I use it all the time to boost flavor (and nutrition!) of so many dishes.
A traditional pesto has a lot of olive oil (heart healthy!), but if you’re serving it on something that already has plenty of healthy fats (salmon + walnuts), there is no need to add quite as much.
You can get all the flavor by subbing water for some of the oil, like I did in this Lightened Up Basil Walnut Pesto recipe. The result is a thick and flavor packed pesto, perfect for spreading on baked salmon.
It’s a large batch of pesto, but you’re most likely going to want to add a dab to your veggies as well!
How to Make Basil Pesto Salmon
This recipe couldn’t be easier! If you have a good food processor, this whole meal can be in the oven in less than 15 minutes.
Step 1: Add finely chopped walnuts, parmesan cheese (omit for Whole30!), and salt and pepper to a bowl, and mix together.
Step 2: Dip the top of each salmon filet into the mixture to coat the tops. You can divide whatever is leftover in the bowl over the tops of each piece of salmon.
Step 3: Place the coated salmon filets and the vegetables on a baking dish. Lightly spray the vegetables with avocado or olive oil, and lightly season with salt and pepper. I use a larger baking pan than what’s shown in the photos so I can bake a large portion of veggies. The vegetables should be spaced out with room to roast.
Step 4: Bake the salmon and vegetables for 14 minutes.
Step 5: Serve each salmon filet with a spoonful of pesto.
Make this the Perfect Pesto Salmon Recipe
Make the Pesto Salmon Whole30 Approved & Paleo/Dairy Free: This recipe is a perfect canvas to create a Whole30 meal. Omit the parmesan cheese in the topping, and use a vegan pesto. I recommend making the vegan pesto at home to to ensure quality ingredients are used. I have a vegan pesto in my cookbook, The Pegan Diet Cookbook.
Mix up the Veggies: Add whatever veggies you love to this recipe – just be sure they are veggies that roast fast (winter squashes, sweet potatoes, and carrots take a lot longer than the salmon). Try cauliflower, zucchini, and thinly sliced carrots for an option.
Other Healthy Salmon Recipes
- Sweet Potato and Salmon Croquettes, by Sunkissed Kitchen
- Foil Wrapped Salmon, by Sunkissed Kitchen
- Blackened Salmon Tacos with Mango and Cabbage Salsa, by Sunkissed Kitchen
- Salmon and Artichoke Skewers, by Sunkissed Kitchen
Baked Pesto Salmon
- 2 salmon fillets 4-6 ounces each
- 2 tablespoon walnuts
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 cups broccoli chopped
- 1 bell pepper sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons basil pesto
- Preheat to 450º F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add walnuts, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper, to a food processor bowl. Process until a fine crumb forms.
- Add walnut mixture to a shallow dish, and coat the top of each pieces of salmon in the mixture. Add to a baking dish.
- Add the broccoli, peppers and tomatoes (or desired vegetables) to a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the veggies to the baking tray around the salmon. Do not overcrowd the pan, or they will not roast well (they will be more steamed than roasted). I use 1/2 sheet pan with just 2 pieces of salmon so I can add a lot of vegetables and give them space to roast.
- Bake salmon and vegetables for 14 minutes.
- Top salmon with pesto and serve with veggies.