Here is an easy baked pesto salmon recipe that even picky eaters will love! Have dinner on the table within 25 minutes using this simple yet delicious recipe.
Whenever I’m in a rush and want to make a dinner that takes just a few minutes to prepare and cook, salmon is the first protein I reach for. Easy salmon recipes such as dijon salmon, broiled salmon, and baked salmon fillet with lemon are some of our go-to recipes for busy nights. Today I’m going to show you how to make pesto salmon, another super simple recipe that calls for just four ingredients and is ready in 25 minutes.
Why this salmon recipe works
Because of its rich flavor and flaky texture, salmon is such a great choice for a quick dinner. What I love the most about salmon is how easy it is to come up with innovative flavor combinations. This pesto salmon recipe is a perfect example of how you can customize this classic seafood.
I would also like to add that this salmon recipe is naturally gluten free. To make things even easier, I used store-bought pesto but if you have a bunch of fresh basil at hand, you can make the pesto from scratch. There are lots of different side dishes to choose from, which we'll discuss later in this post!
Basil pesto salmon ingredients
As I mentioned earlier, this recipe calls for just a few ingredients (literally four), most of them being pantry staples that you probably already have at hand. To make this recipe, you need:
- Salmon fillets: I always prefer wild caught Alaskan salmon. However, this recipe works with farmed Atlantic salmon as well. You can use a whole side of salmon for this recipe if that's what you have. It's your call whether you prefer salmon with or without skin.
- Basil pesto: I used store-bought pesto for this recipe but homemade is always better!
- Cherry tomatoes: Roasted tomatoes are so good here. You can also use grape tomatoes or even large roma tomatoes cut in half.
- Garlic: Garlic cloves are a nice addition to this dish. But they are absolutely optional so if you're not a garlic fan, you can leave them out.
And that’s all! Pesto has so much flavor already (hello, pine nuts and parmesan!) therefore you don’t need salt or any other spices to make this recipe. I suggest you don’t use any oil as pesto contains olive oil as well. This is literally the easiest salmon recipe on the internet: you need 2 official ingredients and just a few additions if you’re feeling like it. It can’t get any easier!
How to make baked salmon with pesto
One thing that makes this one of the easiest salmon recipes ever is that it’s baked, which means minimal hands-on preparation time.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place the salmon fillets skin side down on the baking sheet and spread the pesto on them. Place the tomatoes and garlic on the baking sheet as well.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the salmon is cooked completely.
Pro tip: Salmon is fully cooked when it flakes easily using a fork and the color is opaque. You can read more about how to know when salmon is cooked in a previous post.
What to serve with pesto salmon
As this is a salmon recipe with an Italian flair, I love serving it with Italian appetizers such as caprese salad. If you’re looking for starchier side dishes, you can serve this pesto salmon with instant pot brown rice or white rice. Oven roasted Greek potatoes can also make a good side dish for this salmon recipe.
Can I use this recipe for meal prep?
I always prefer to serve salmon immediately after I cook it. However, it is possible to make this recipe for meal prep, in which case it’s best to save it for no more than three days.
One Final Note: You can also grill pesto salmon. Preheat the grill to medium high and spread the pesto on the salmon. Grill for about 20 minutes or until it’s fully cooked.
Baked Pesto Salmon Recipe (4 ingredients)
- 4 salmon fillets
- 4 tbsp pesto
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 6 cloves garlic peeled
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray.
- Place the salmon fillets on the baking sheet and spread one tablespoon pesto on each salmon fillet.
- Place the tomatoes and garlic cloves on the baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the salmon is cooked completely and the internal temperature registers are 145°F.
- Serve immediately with your favorite side dish.
- A splash of lemon juice right before serving gives this dish bright flavor.
- You can serve this dish with some fresh salad, rice or potatoes.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- To grill pesto salmon, reheat the grill to medium high and spread the pesto on the salmon. Grill for about 20 minutes or until it’s fully cooked.