This pesto-crusted salmon is perfect if you’re looking for a healthy, tasty way of eating salmon that doesn’t need a lot of ingredients. Ready in 20 minutes and makes for a versatile midweek dinner.
About This Pesto Crusted Salmon
This is the ultimate family-friendly meal that’s great if you’re trying to get you and your family to eat more seafood.
Salmon is one of the best fish you can eat too – it’s one of the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and one of the lowest mercury concentrations – a winning combo!
Omega-3 fats are very important for heart and brain health, and we don’t often get enough of them as they are predominantly found in fatty fish. Salmon is a great source of high-quality protein and B-vitamins.
It’s really easy to make and perfect for beginner cooks. It’s simply a case of mixing the ingredients and cooking the salmon as you normally would.
For the little extra time it takes, it’ll make you look like a gourmet chef without really trying!
Why You Should Try It
You’ll love this pesto-crusted salmon for a number of reasons:
- You only need 4 ingredients, plus the salmon.
- It’s light, healthy, and has a good amount of protein.
- You can serve it with a whole range of dishes, from salads, potatoes, veggies and more.
- It’s ideal for getting your omega-3 fatty acids into your meals.
- It takes no time to cook – perfect for those busy midweek dinners.
- If you have family or kids you want to introduce salmon to, this is a great way to mask some of the fishy taste.
Ingredients (+ Substitutions)
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this pesto-crusted salmon:
- Salmon: choose the best quality salmon – this means the flesh should have a bright-red hue and if you press the salmon fillet and it springs back (rather than leaving your fingerprint in it).
- Basil Pesto: Store-bought basil pesto will speed things up a lot, but if you want the best taste, make the pesto yourself. It’s really easy if you already have a food processor and you just need a few extra ingredients.
- Lemon: both the zest and juice are used to give the salmon a bright, citrusy undertone. Fresh is always best – don’t resort to bottled lemon juice as it’s just not as good.
- Olives: Even if you’re not a fan of olives, they work well within this dish. You can use capers instead though.
- Breadcrumbs: Like the pesto, you can buy storebought if you don’t have a lot of time or make your own using a processor. Sourdough is a great bread to use, but any plain white or whole-grain bread is fine. If you’re following a Mediterranean diet, use whole grains.
How to Make
This is really easy to do! You can make things quicker buying the pesto and breadcrumbs beforehand, but you can also make your own too if you have a little more time.
- (Optional) To make the basil pesto: fry some pine nuts on a dry skillet for a few minutes until golden, then blend the basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, garlic cloves, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper in a food processor. Gradually add the olive oil until the desired texture.
- (Optional) To make the breadcrumbs, tear the bread into pieces and place into a food processor with a blade attachment. Pulse until the breadcrumbs are the size you want.
- Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Mix the pesto, lemon zest & olives together, then stir in the breadcrumbs.
- Lay the salmon fillets on a baking tray, then press the crumbs over the surface of each piece.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the salmon is cooked through and the crust is crisp and brown.
- Serve with roasted vegetables and green salad.
Can I Make the Pesto in Advance?
Yes! If you are going to be strapped for time, you can make the pesto in advance, or even add it to the salmon then put in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it.
If you want to reheat, it’s best to eat it straight out of the oven – this is when the crust is at its crispiest. If you do reheat, bake gently in the oven or on a stovetop. It won’t be as crispy, but sometimes it’ll have to do!
You might wonder if you can prepare this meal in advance? Absolutely! You can prepare the pesto mixture and apply it to the salmon, then refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake.
What Bread Should I Use For the Breadcrumbs?
This is all dependent on what you like taste-wise and the nutritional content – any kind of bread will be fine once you process it.
Rustic bread will give you more dense crumbs, whereas white bread will be more fine.
However, whether it’s a sourdough, low-carb, whole grain, white or anything, simply just choose your favorite.
What to Serve With
As suggested within the instructions, this pesto-crusted salmon pairs nicely with roasted vegetables or a salad. The freshness of the veggies and salad compliments the salmon is the perfect compliment.
Here are some of our favorites:
- 1 tbsp green pesto
- zest and juice ½ lemon
- 5 olives, pitted & chopped
- ¼ cup (40g) fresh breadcrumbs, finely grated
- 2 salmon fillets
- Heat oven to 400F (200C). Mix the pesto, lemon zest & olives together, then stir in the breadcrumbs.
- Lay the salmon fillets on a baking tray, then press the crumbs over the surface of each piece. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the salmon is cooked through and the crust is crisp and brown.
- Serve with roasted vegetables and green salad.
- To make the basil pesto, fry some pine nuts on a dry skillet for a few minutes until golden, then blend the basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, garlic cloves, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper in a food processor. Gradually add the olive oil until the desired texture.
- To make the breadcrumbs, tear the bread into pieces and place into a food processor with a blade attachment. Pulse until the breadcrumbs are the size you want.
Amount Per Serving Calories 304Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 72mgSodium 174mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 1gSugar 7gProtein 26g
Want More Delicious, Mediterranean-Style Recipes?
If you’ve cooked this recipe, be sure to leave a comment or review! But if you’re looking for more: