Pesto-Baked Salmon Recipe

Salmon is one of those entrees for which we all need a go-to recipe. It's a tasty, healthy fish that makes a great centerpiece to dinner or a lunch and that can be served at a holiday dinner or used for an efficient weeknight meal and it will work just great for both occasions or anything in between. And when you have a recipe this quick and tasty, that also incorporates pesto for extra flavor, you'll be on the lookout for all those occasions! "My favorite thing about this recipe is how quick and simple it is to prepare," recipe developer Catherine Brookes of Blue Sky Eating says. "It uses basic ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen and results in a healthy, flavor packed dinner." 

Now, what you add to this flavorful salmon to build out the full meal, the options there are many. It goes great with a green salad and rustic bread. You can serve potatoes and green beans or Brussels sprouts. You can serve this fish with rice, couscous, or quinoa. And on and on goes the list, but for now, let's go on with the recipe.

Gather your ingredients for the pesto-baked salmon

It's kind of amazing how few ingredients it takes to make an entree this tasty, but all you need here are salmon fillets, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, pesto, salt and pepper to taste, and optional (but well advised) lemon wedges for serving.

"I'd say the pesto has to be the star ingredient here," Brookes says. "Homemade or store-bought will work great here. It's packed with herby, garlicky flavor that works so well with the salmon."

Preheat the oven and toss the tomatoes in oil, salt, and pepper

As with most recipes, your first step is to preheat the oven, and in this case, to 400 F.

Then place the cherry tomatoes a heavy glass or ceramic roasting dish. Drizzle over the olive oil and then sprinkle on salt and pepper — you can be liberal or sparing, based on your preference — and then toss and stir the tomatoes to coat them fully and to spread the oil around the pan.

Add the pesto-covered salmon to the pan

Next, spread a generous layer of pesto over the top of each of the salmon fillets, then place the fillets into the roasting pan with the oil-coated and seasoned tomatoes. Make sure to move the tomatoes around the fish as opposed to letting them pop atop the salmon.

"Nestling the tomatoes around the salmon rather than placing them on top of it works best here, as this allows the layer of pesto to crisp up a little," says Brookes. Meanwhile, the liquid released by the tomatoes will keep the fish moist.

Bake and serve the salmon

Pop the prepared roasting dish into the preheated oven and let things cook for between 16-18 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Once the cooking is done, remove the dish from the oven and optionally serve each fillet with a fresh squeeze of lemon.

And if you have a bit extra, Brookes says, "Leftovers can be kept up to two days in the fridge and reheated in the microwave or oven."

Pesto-Baked Salmon Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
Give your salmon a flavor upgrade with this pesto-baked recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cooked salmon filets with pesto and tomato
Total time: 21 minutes
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
Optional Ingredients
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Add the tomatoes to a roasting dish. Drizzle over the olive oil and add some salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to coat.
  3. Spread the pesto evenly on top of the salmon fillets.
  4. Place the salmon in the roasting dish with the tomatoes and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the salmon's internal temperature reaches 145 F.
  5. Serve the salmon and tomatoes, optionally with fresh lemon wedges.
Calories per Serving 912
Total Fat 60.7 g
Saturated Fat 13.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 218.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 4.7 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Total Sugars 1.9 g
Sodium 1,126.6 mg
Protein 82.3 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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