Baked Salmon with Pesto

Tender soft baked salmon filet infused with herby pesto - perfect 30-minute dinner. #salmonrecipe

Baked Salmon with Pesto

Seriously flavorful and easy 30-minute dinner right here!! Tender baked salmon smothered with flavorful pesto – an effortless way to add a punch of flavor!

The recipe can easily be adjusted to accommodate more or less servings.

Rule of thumb: 1 tablespoon of pesto for each filet.

Ingredients:

  • 4 (4-6oz) skinless salmon filets (Note 1)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons pesto (Note 2)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  3. Drizzle olive oil all over the prepared baking sheet and evenly sprinkle half of the salt over the oil.
  4. Arrange the salmon filets on oil and sprinkle the remaining salt over the fish.
  5. Spread 1 tablespoon of pesto on each filet.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the fish, it’ll take more or less. I prefer to cook the filets until internal temp reaches around 135°F. (This thermometer is a life-saver!)
  7. Serve immediately with perfectly fluffy rice and blanched asparagus, if desired.

Recipe Notes:

Note 1: I don’t recommend skin-on salmon for this recipe, because the skin will get soft and soggy from baking at low heat.

Note 2: I love this homemade pesto, but sometimes store-bought pesto comes in handy. My favorite brand of pesto is Giovanni Rana (pictured below).

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 servings, Serving Size: 4-6oz

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 682 Calories
  • Total Fat: 29.4g
  • Cholesterol: 263.5mg
  • Sodium: 529.7mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1.2g
  • Sugar: 0.3g
  • Protein: 103.9g
Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimate only. Read full disclosure here.

Inspired by Pesto-Rubbed Baked Salmon by Geoffrey Zakarian.

All images and text © for Busy Cooks
Scroll down to read more tips and story behind the recipe

Let’s make melt-in-your-mouth tender and buttery salmon with pesto!

4 TIPS ON HOW TO CHOOSE SALMON:

These days, every food item has so many labels, and it’s confusing. But here’re a few tips to consider when choosing salmon:

  • Wild-caught: Always choose wild-caught salmon, as it’s more nutritious AND tastes better. I’ll admit, I used to buy farmed salmon all the time. (They’re pale orange and thick.) And after we had wild-caught salmon one night, we never looked back!! The difference in taste was absolutely astonishing!!!
  • King/Coho/Sockeye/Pink Salmon: You can read more about different varieties of wild caught salmon here. For this recipe, I used wild-caught pink salmon.
  • Fresh vs Frozen: Both fresh or frozen salmon is equally great. I usually buy frozen, as I don’t live near the ocean and fresh seafood is not easily accessible in this part of the world.
  • Skinless Salmon: For this baked salmon recipe, I recommend getting skinless salmon, because the skin tends to get soggy during baking.

Unbelievably flavorful, the baked salmon with pesto comes together in less than 30 minutes! #salmonrecipe

HOW TO MAKE BAKED SALMON WITH PESTO:

This baked salmon recipe is ridiculously easy. 

  1. Place skinless salmon filets on a oiled and salted sheet pan.
  2. Salt and slather on pesto on top.
  3. Bake and serve!

How do know if salmon is cooked?

Watch for following signs in cooked salmon. The salmon flesh

  • turns opaque
  • flakes easily

Ideally, you’d check the internal temperature with a thermometer (I love this handy thermapen, which is super quick and reliable!).

  • According to USDA, the internal temperature of cooked salmon should reach 145°F.

Step by step recipe for flavorful baked pesto salmon. Incredibly delicious, quick and easy weeknight dinner. #salmonrecipe

PESTO: Homemade vs Store-Bought

Besides a good salmon, pesto plays significant role in this recipe, which is one of two main ingredients!

So as you can imagine, a good pesto is crucial for a tasty meal.

I love homemade pesto, and at end of every summer, I make a BIG batch basil pesto and freeze it to use through the winter. 

BUT, when I’m out of homemade pesto, Giovanni Rana pesto has been my go-to! Unlike many other brands, this pesto has bright flavors and beautiful color! (This’s not sponsored, I just love it!)

Flavorful pesto adds ton of bright herby flavor to any meat. #pesto

WHAT TO SERVE WITH PESTO SALMON:

So you’re cooking this delicious pesto salmon. Now what do you serve with it?

Literally anything!

Here’re a few ideas:

Unbelievably flavorful, these pesto salmon filets are ready in less than 30 minutes! #salmonrecipe

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This recipe was originally published on February 19, 2018, and last updated on May 14, 2020.