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If you’re looking to eat more omega-3s (who isn’t these days?!), this baked pesto salmon recipe with tomatoes gets the job done in the most delicious way! Not only is it incredibly easy and ready in just around 20 minutes, but it’s also made with just 4 simple ingredients. And, it’s so tasty!
If you love salmon with toppings like this basil pesto salmon, you’d also like my lemon garlic baked salmon recipe (with a parmesan crust!) and lemon herb crusted salmon (okay, also with a parmesan crust, ha).
I prefer my baked pesto salmon with quick homemade basil pesto, but any pesto sauce you like will work. If you choose to buy it, avoid added starches in the ingredients.
This easy pesto salmon recipe was originally published on August 28, 2016, and the post was republished in September 2020 to add updated pictures, useful tips, and some improvements to the ingredient ratio and cook time.
What Is Pesto Salmon?
Pesto salmon is exactly like it sounds – baked salmon with pesto spread over it.
However, for this recipe we’re actually making the baked salmon with pesto butter on top, which makes it extra rich and flavorful. This is called Salmon Milano in Italy.
I first saw salmon Milano being sold ready-to-go at Costco, and only had to try it once before deciding that I definitely had to make my own version.
How To Make Baked Pesto Salmon
This delicious baked salmon and pesto recipe couldn’t be easier! Here’s how to make it:
- Make butter pesto sauce. Puree basil pesto and softened butter in a blender or food processor, until smooth.
TIP: If you are making homemade basil pesto, you can make it right in the food processor, then just add the softened butter at the end.
- Spread pesto over salmon. Arrange your salmon fillets in a baking dish and spread with pesto.
- Top with tomatoes. Place two slices on each fillet.
- Bake. It’s done when the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
How long to bake pesto salmon?
This baked salmon recipe with pesto takes about 12-15 minutes for individual fillets, or 16-25 minutes for a whole large fillet.
Pesto Salmon Recipe FAQs
Can you put pesto on salmon?
Yes, baked salmon with basil pesto is awesome! The topping adds an incredible rich flavor to the fish and locks in moisture, too.
Can you make pesto salmon with a whole large salmon fillet, instead of individual fillets?
Absolutely! This is shown in the video on the recipe card below.
Instead of placing individual fillets into a baking dish, you can place a large fillet on a large baking sheet, wrapped on all sides with foil, and bake. A whole large fillet will take 5-10 minutes longer to bake.
TIP: If you want to avoid having foil touch your food, place parchment paper inside the foil before placing the salmon on it.
Why is my pesto salmon dry?
Pesto salmon should be anything but dry! Salmon is a fatty fish, plus the pesto locks in moisture as well.
If yours is dry, it means it was overcooked. Try checking on it sooner next time.
Basil Pesto Salmon Storage Instructions
Can you make it ahead?
This salmon is best served fresh, so I would recommend making right before serving. If you’re making the pesto from scratch, you can definitely make that ahead.
How to store salmon with pesto sauce
Store this baked salmon and pesto in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Can you freeze baked salmon with pesto sauce?
Yes, you can freeze baked salmon with pesto butter for 2-3 months. Remove the tomatoes before freezing, as they will get mushy in the freezer.
How to reheat baked pesto salmon
For best results, reheat the salmon in the oven at low temperature just until hot – 300 degrees works well. You can also microwave, but that will dry it out.
What To Serve With Pesto Baked Salmon
Salmon and pesto pair well with other Italian flavors. Try these easy side dishes:
- Roasted Asparagus – You can even throw this in together with the salmon. Or if you prefer more variety, you can make a mix of roasted vegetables.
- Avocado Caprese Salad – Fresh and flavorful!
- Zucchini Noodles – The perfect accompaniment to pesto baked salmon.
- Caesar Salad – Skip the chicken and make this simple salad with crunchy parm crisps.
More Healthy Seafood Recipes
If you like this baked pesto salmon recipe, you’ll love some of these other healthy seafood recipes:
- Coconut Shrimp – Just 6 simple ingredients to make this crispy favorite.
- Broiled Lobster Tail – Fancy date night IN, and this show-stopper will take just 20 minutes to make.
- Keto Ahi Poke Bowl – Just like your favorite poke, but made keto with cauliflower rice. It’s a genius swap!
- Salmon Foil Packets – If you want your entire meal in one packet, this is it.
- Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps – This simple meal takes just 15 minutes to make, but it’s not short on flavor!
Tools To Make Salmon With Pesto Sauce
Tap the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Blender – This blender will easily puree your ingredients for basil pesto salmon.
- Baking Sheet – The best baking sheet, made in the USA! Perfect to make baked salmon with pesto and tomatoes.
- Foil – If you cook this baked salmon recipe with pesto in foil, clean up will be EASY!
Baked Basil Pesto Salmon Recipe:
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Reader Favorite Recipes
The recipe card is below! Readers that made this also viewed these recipes:
Baked Basil Pesto Salmon Recipe
Flavorful basil pesto salmon with tomatoes is one of the easiest meals ever! This baked pesto salmon recipe needs just 4 ingredients and 20 minutes.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to play the video. It's the easiest way to learn how to make this recipe!
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Add salmon filets to a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Puree the basil pesto and softened butter in a food processor, until smooth.
Spread the pesto evenly over the salmon filet. Arrange two tomato slices on top of each filet. Cover the baking dish with foil. (Try to avoid placing the foil directly onto the pesto, leave some space instead.)
Bake for 12-15 minutes for individual fillets, or 16-25 minutes for a large whole fillet, until the salmon is just opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Open a corner of the foil to test for doneness; if not done yet, reseal and return to the oven until done.
Last Step: Leave A Rating!
Serving size: 1 salmon fillet
Nutrition info is based on store bought basil pesto. My homemade 2-minute basil pesto recipe is even better if you have fresh basil.
Video Showing How To Make Baked Pesto Salmon:
Tap here to jump to the video for this recipe -- it's located directly above the ingredients list. It's the easiest way to learn how to make Baked Pesto Salmon!
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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