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Pesto Crusted Salmon

5 from 4 votes
Time: 30 minutes
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This baked, sheet pan, Pesto Crusted Salmon recipe is flaky, moist, and super flavorful! The best part? It is done in 45 minutes, has simple ingredients, and comes with a side of roasted tomatoes and onions! Serve it over a bed of rice for a mouthwatering dinner.

For more pesto, try my Italian Pasta Salad (it has a homemade lemon pesto dressing on it).

A fully baked pesto crusted salmon with roasted onions and tomatoes on the slide. Garnish of fresh lemon slices.

Why You Will Love This Baked Salmon Recipe:

  • A HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS DINNER OPTION– Salmon is a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and it is rich in fatty acids.
  • QUICK TO MAKE– 30 minutes from start to finish is all you will need. This makes it a great option for late night dinners or busy days where you need something quick.
  • FLAVORFUL AND MOIST FISH EVERY SINGLE TIME– Thanks to the pesto crust, it acts as a moisture barrier to the fish.
  • EVERYTHING IS BAKED ON ONE SHEET PAN which means less clean up and an even easier complete dinner. If you love sheet pan dinners like we do, try my Chili Cheese Nachos, or these Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas!

Make It With Me On YouTube

Pesto Crusted Salmon Ingredients

This recipe only requires 10 simple ingredients. Keep reading to find more information and potential substitutions on each ingredient.

  • Salmon: 1 pound whole fillets or portioned salmon pieces (see notes in the recipe card below, baking time will differ).
  • Bread crumbs: Plain crumbs or panko breadcrumbs are the best; they can be homemade, panko, etc.
  • Pesto: Store-bought traditional basil pesto is what I use. Feel free to make your own homemade pesto or use other varieties of pesto.
  • Garlic: Mince it up as fine as you can get it. 1 teaspoon of garlic powder can be substituted as well.
  • Cherry tomatoes: The fresher the better! They will burst and create such a lovely flavor to go with the pesto.
  • Onion: Cut the onion in large wedges. If they are cut too small they will become overcooked and lifeless pieces of onion.
  • Oil: Use a high temperature oil like extra virgin olive oil. This is going to prevent the oil from getting too hot and smoking in your oven (it can leave an unpleasant taste to the salmon).
  • Salt and pepper: Season this dish to your taste preferences.
  • Lemon wedges: Serve as a garnish to squeeze over the top! This tastes delicious with a pop of fresh lemon.

You will also need a large baking sheet and parchment paper for easy cleanup (and so your dinner doesn’t burn to the baking sheet.

Ingredients for Pesto Crusted Salmon

Wild Salmon Versus Farmed Salmon

There is large debate regarding salmon in the foodie community. Do you buy wild or farmed salmon? Some people recommend buying wild-caught salmon because it is a leaner and more flavorful fish.

That isn’t always a possibility for multiple reasons. If you are like me and live hundreds of miles away from the ocean or don’t have a ton of extra cash to spend on expensive salmon, you choose farmed salmon. Farmed salmon is easy to find at the grocery store and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

TIP: No matter if it is wild or farmed, bake your salmon with the skin on (you can choose to eat it or leave it, it’s up to you).

Farm caught salmon filet.

How To Make Pesto Crusted Salmon In The Oven

Here is a quick overview of how to make Pesto Crusted Salmon. The recipe card below will have all the information and details needed.

  1. Place your salmon fillet skin side down on your prepared baking tray and season it with salt and pepper (to your taste preference).
  2. In a small bowl, combine your bread crumbs, pesto, and minced garlic.
  3. Sprinkle it evenly over your salmon fillet (use the backside of a spoon to lightly press the pesto crust into the salmon).
  4. Place the cherry tomatoes and onion around your salmon.
  5. Drizzle the cherry tomatoes and onion with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper (again, to your taste preference).
  6. Bake at 400° F for 14-17 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges.

TIP: Always watch your salmon carefully for the final few minutes, it can easily overcook! The topping will begin to brown and using a fork the salmon will easily flake away at it’s thickest part.

What To Serve With Pesto Crusted Salmon

You will love how many things this dinner goes well with. I recommend serving it with:

  • brown or white rice, even cauliflower rice
  • quinoa
  • roasted mixed veggies
  • potatoes- mashed, fries, roasted, or my Smashed Fingerling Potatoes
  • a side garden salad or Caesar salad
  • on top of angel hair pasta

If you have leftover salmon try it on my Spinach Lemon Pasta or in these Salmon Patties. You might also like to try this spicy Korean Salmon with Gochujang.

What Do I Do If My Salmon Is Frozen?

No problem! Follow these next steps and learn how to properly unthaw your frozen salmon. Doing this will promote an even bake and a crispier exterior.

  1. Refrigerate the salmon until it has completely unthawed.
  2. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  4. Follow recipe as written.

Recipe Variations

  • ADD OTHER VEGETABLES- asparagus, brussels sprouts, zucchini, mini potatoes, etc.
  • REPLACE THE BREADCRUMBS- use your favorite crackers, tortilla chips, extra parmesan cheese, nuts like pecans or walnuts.
  • TRY THIS WITH OTHER TYPES OF FISH- cod, tilapia, sea bass, flounder, mahi-mahi, swordfish, the list goes on and on.
  • USE DIFFERENT PESTO SAUCES- sun-dried tomato, kale, or red pepper chili pesto.
Two plates of Pesto Crusted Salmon with cherry tomatoes and onion. Garnished with lemon slices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Why is my pesto crust soggy?

The culprit is moisture and it could be from the fish or from the pesto. To give it a super crunchy and golden crust, just place your Pesto Crusted Salmon under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.

What is pesto made of?

Traditional pesto is made using garlic, pine nuts, fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and a little bit of salt. There are other varieties available but this is what you would typically find.

When is salmon cooked?

There are 3 main ways to tell if your salmon is fully cooked. One, the salmon’s thickest part of the meat should be 125 degrees F. Two, press the back of a fork on the thickest part of the meat and it should give way and flake apart. Three, the color of the salmon will be an opaque white or beige color.

How do I store leftover Pesto Crusted Salmon?

Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. It is best eaten within 3 days of making it.

Other Easy Dinner Recipes You Might Enjoy


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Enjoy Entirely, Elizabeth
A fully baked pesto crusted salmon with roasted onions and tomatoes on the slide. Garnished with fresh lemon slices.

Pesto Crusted Salmon

Elizabeth Swoish
This baked Pesto Crusted Salmon is flaky, moist, and super flavorful! The best part? It is done in 45 minutes, has only 10 ingredients, and comes with a side of roasted tomatoes and onions! Serve it over a bed of rice for a mouthwatering dinner.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 13 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings
Calories 362 kcal

EQUIPMENT

  • baking sheet

INGREDIENTS
 
 

  • 1 pound salmon fillet - whole or in portions
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs - store-bought or homemade
  • cup pesto - traditional garlic basil
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large onion - cut in wedges
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper - season to taste
  • lemon wedges - garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 °F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper (lightly spray with oil or nonstick cooking spray).
  • Place the salmon fillet skin side down on the baking tray and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, pesto, and minced garlic.
  • Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the salmon fillet. Using the back of your spoon, lightly press down to help it adhere to the salmon.
  • Place cherry tomatoes and red onion around the salmon, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake 14-17 minutes or until the salmon flakes away easily with a fork. The topping will also appear browned and crispy.
    *if you are baking salmon portions see notes below
  • Serve with a lemon wedge and your favorite side.

VIDEO

RECIPE NOTES

Baking Salmon in Portions versus Fillet:

  • Reduce baking time to 12-15 minutes, salmon portions do not need as much time to bake. 
 

Storing Information:

  • Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to three days. 

Metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.

Tried this recipe?Feel free to share a rating and comment below. Don’t forget to tag me on social media, or use the hashtag #EntirelyElizabeth – I would love to see what you’ve made!
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By Elizabeth Swoish on January 14th, 2022
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About Elizabeth Swoish

Elizabeth Swoish is the founder and CEO of Entirely Elizabeth. She is a self-taught foodie and mocktail enthusiast with a business degree in data analysis. Read Elizabeth's food journey or connect on your favorite social media channels.

8 thoughts on “Pesto Crusted Salmon”

  1. 5 stars
    Easy recipe to follow and the salmon turned out so great! First time trying salmon and pesto together and I have to make it again.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Salmon is one of my favorites! I made this last night and the family loved it, the flavors come together perfectly and it is so easy to make.

    Reply

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