Recipes > Lunch/Dinner > Baked Pesto Salmon

Baked Pesto Salmon

Baked Pesto Salmon

This is a variation of our roasted fish base recipe. It’s easy to get stuck preparing the same recipes over and over again, but this simple baked pesto salmon will transform your weeknight dinner routine from bland and boring to delicious and exciting!

Culinary Tips for the Best Pesto Salmon

When cooking any type of fish in the oven, a good rule of thumb is to heat your oven to 400°F and cook for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

Should you cook fish with the skin on or off? For this recipe, it doesn’t matter. When you roast/bake fish in the oven with the skin side down, the skin doesn’t get crispy, so it’s not very appealing to eat. However, it does separate easily from the fish once cooked. 

Remove small pin bones using fish bone tweezers before cooking; these are no fun to bite into!

A good fishmonger at your local grocery store can help you with the pin bones and skin. Don’t be shy to ask for help!

Blot the fish dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture and to prevent steaming.

Want to take your recipe to the next level? Make your own pesto!

Cook the fish to an internal temperature of 145ºF for food safety.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Salmon: substitute any fish of your choice – cod, mahi mahi, halibut, barramundi, tilapia, rainbow trout, etc. If using less-fatty fish, add a drizzle of olive oil before cooking.
  • Pesto: use any flavor of pesto – basil, arugula, sun-dried tomato, etc.
  • Lemon Wedges: substitute bottled lemon juice.

Recipe Variations

Change up this recipe by varying the fish, adding some spices, or sprinkling with dried herbs before cooking.

Want some fish recipe inspiration?

Use our roasted fish base recipe as a guide, or try out these flavor variations!

Equipment Recommendations

Use these kitchen tools for recipe success:

Find all of our favorite kitchen tools here!

Health Benefits of Salmon with Pesto

This is a nutrient-packed dinner recipe! The American Heart Association recommends eating two, 3.5-ounce servings of fish per week, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 8 total ounces per week for the general population. The featured ingredients in this recipe are salmon and pesto.


Fish is a quality source of protein that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Fatty fish, like salmon, is high in EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart and brain health.

Confused about which salmon to purchase? Wild-caught is known for having a higher omega-3 content, but surprisingly, that’s not always the case! We recommend consulting the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch app to help guide your seafood purchasing decisions.


Pesto is made from a blend of leafy greens, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil. Leafy greens are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promote health and help fight diseases.

Nuts of all varieties contain plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Extra virgin olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean Diet. It contains high amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols which may reduce inflammation.

Learn more about health benefits of different foods in our book, To Your Taste!

Serving Suggestions

Pesto salmon is a great protein option for wraps, bowls, or salads. Serve alongside roasted vegetables and a whole grain such as brown ricequinoa, or farro to make a beautiful Whole Life Plate!

Serve leftover salmon cold on top of a green salad or reheat in the microwave.

Storage Tips for Leftover Pesto Salmon

Cool leftover salmon completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

You can also freeze leftover fish. Place salmon without pesto in an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before heating. When ready to heat and serve, place on a pan and cover. Place in a cold oven, then preheat the oven to 350ºF. Once the oven reaches 350ºF, check the internal temperature of the fish. If it is 145ºF or above, it’s ready to serve. If it is not yet 145º, continue cooking for a few more minutes.

Once finished, top with pesto or other seasonings.

Looking for more easy weeknight dinner recipes?

Try out these favorites!

Easy Coconut Curry Base Recipe

Simple Turkey Meatballs Base Recipe

Bean Burgers Base Recipe

Whole Grain Pasta Base Recipe

Baked Pesto Salmon

Baked Pesto Salmon

This is a variation of our roasted fish base recipe. Baked pesto salmon is a delicious and easy weeknight dinner. Add to a salad or pair with some roasted veggies and a grain salad for a complete meal!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 servings


  • ~1 pound salmon, whole or individual fillets (with or without skin)
  • Dash salt & pepper
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, nonstick spray, or a light brush of oil.
  • Place salmon on baking sheet, skin side down (if skin on). Blot the salmon dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Roast 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. Salmon should flake easily with a fork and internal temperature should reach 145ºF.
  • Top each fillet with 1 Tablespoon of pesto. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!


Remove small pin bones before cooking using fish bone tweezers; these are no fun to bite into! 
Keyword Baked Pesto Salmon

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