Pesto-Crusted Salmon


Pesto-Crusted Salmon is very easy to make. If you make the pesto ahead of time, it's a snap to make this dinner. Serve with salad or vegetables. It would also go great on a bed of pasta or with a side of risotto.

Pesto is one of my very favorite things. Pesto pizza, pesto pasta. Of course, we're not eating pasta these days since we're doing GAPS. In lieu of the pasta, how about something a little more nutrient dense? Like pest-crusted salmon!

I make pesto every summer. It's a tradition passed down to me by my mother, who has been growing her own basil and making pesto since the seventies (a decade before it was in vogue in the eighties).

I simply can't live without basil growing in my garden. I've tried. It sucks. Life is much better with fresh basil in the summertime (heck, here in Southern California, we can grow it year-round). If you can't grow it, pick it up at your local farmer's market.

If you have a lot of basil on hand, you can double the recipe for pesto so you will have leftovers. There are so many yummy things to do with leftover pesto. For example, I love pesto on shrimp. And pesto goes great as a spread on a sandwich. With tomato and cheese — and leftover chicken or roast duck.

Pesto-Crusted Salmon

Equipment Needed:

[easyazon-link asin=”B001413A0Q” locale=”us”]Food processor[/easyazon-link](or blender)
[easyazon-link asin=”B0000CF5JJ” locale=”us”]Rubber spatula[/easyazon-link]


Salmon fillets, wild-caught
Fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried (4 packed cups)
Olive oil (1/2 cup) — use real olive oil from a grower you trust — where to buy olive oil
Raw pine nuts (1/3 cup) — where to buy nuts
Garlic cloves (1/3 cup)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup) — I got mine at Trader Joe's — made from raw milk; grate it fresh — it is so much better that way
Sea salt (1 tsp)



Do Ahead:

It's important to soak and dry the nuts — to remove the enzyme inhibitors.

1. Soak raw pine nuts in filtered water (2 cups of nuts in a quart mason jar, filled with filtered water and 1 TBS salt) overnight.
2. Drain and dry for several hours in a dehydrator (or in your oven on the lowest setting with the door ajar).
3. Defrost the salmon if it is frozen. Best to do this the night before in the fridge.

The Day Of:

1. Preheat the oven to broil.
2. Cut about 1/2 a cup's worth of the Parmesan cheese into chunks and toss it into the food processor. (If you end up with a little more than 1/2 of a cup, set it aside — you can sprinkle it on top of the dish upon serving.) Process until coarsely chopped.
3. Add the garlic cloves. Process until the garlic is finely chopped.
4. Add the basil, the olive oil, the pine nuts, and the sea salt. Process until it's got a good sauce-like consistency.
5. Take your salmon fillets out of the fridge and put them in an oven-safe baking dish or cookie sheet (I use a rimmed cookie sheet with a Silpat).
6. Coat each side of the fillets with pesto.

Pesto-Crusted Salmon

7. Stick in the oven for 3-5 minutes.
8. Remove from oven, turn over, and cook for 3-5 more minutes.
9. Save the leftover pesto for other uses. Pour into a storage container and cover with a thin layer of olive oil. Store in the fridge. You can freeze pesto, too (just freezer prior to adding the cheese).

That's it! You can serve with a little extra Parmesan if you like.

The pesto can be made ahead as well.

Find Me Online

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

16 thoughts on “Pesto-Crusted Salmon

  1. Mmm. I’m not much for pinenuts or basil, but I’m going to try that with cilantro pesto (cilantro, EVOO, lemon juice, hazelnuts, raw sea salt, garlic — I love the stuff and would eat it daily if I could!). Oooh. You can freeze pesto? I could make a freezer full now and have it all winter? OOoooh *G*

    I had fresh wild salmon sauteed in butter for lunch today. Mmmmm.

  2. great recipe. would you mind posting about your ice cream recipe? I got some raw cream and don’t want to screw it up. it’s gonna be my son’s first birthday ice cream shebang. 😉 thanks!

  3. Hi, Carys,

    Yes you can freeze pesto!

    I’m going to try to make a lot too. I just soaked and dried a ton of pine nuts.

    Do you add cheese to yours? If not, I’d love to see your recipe — since it seems like it’s GAPS legal.

    Ann Marie

  4. Peasprout,

    Here is how I do my ice cream:

    2 cups (1 pint) raw cream (if you can’t find raw cream, use pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized)
    1/2 cup maple syrup
    2 tsp vanilla (or scrape a vanilla bean)
    4 egg yolks
    1 pinch of sea salt

    Throw everything in the food processor or blender. Then add to the ice cream maker and let it go for the period of time specified by your ice cream maker (mine goes for 45 minutes).

    That’s for vanilla ice cream. If you want to add flavors, do so accordingly (organic cocoa powder to taste for chocolate ice cream, or 1-2 pints of strawberries for strawberry ice cream, and so on).

    The great thing about this recipe (based on the “Nourishing Traditions” recipe) is that it is totally raw so you get all the enzymes and other benefits of raw foods.

    Please let me know how it turns out!

    I’ll make a proper post for this sometime soon.

    Ann Marie

  5. Nope, no cheese.

    Here’s as much of a recipe as I use:

    Wash a bunch of cilantro and pick it over. Juice a lemon and strain the seeds out. Peel a clove of homegrown garlic. Get out the EVOO. Measure out 1/4-1/2 cup of nuts (sometimes I leave them out; it depends on the consistency I want. Sometimes I like the crunch of teensy bits of nuts and sometimes I don’t.).

    Mince the nuts finely with the garlic in your food processor. Add the cilantro — I snip it into 1″ pieces as I put it in, since it processes easier that way. Add a couple tbls of lemon juice and 2-4 of EVOO. Add a good pinch of salt. Blend. Adjust the seasonings. Depending on the size of the bunch I started with I might end up adding the same amount again of garlic, lemon, EVOO, and salt.

    I’m going to try the soaking and drying of raw nuts and see if that works for me — I react to raw ones, but not roasted ones, and maybe the enzyme thing is why…

    Thank you for the link to freezing pesto!


  6. Peasprout,

    Well you just got lucky because I’m just sitting her digesting dinner and watching a movie — LOL! Plus you said you had a deadline for your child — and I relate to that. 🙂

    You can try honey. I have tried it since we are doing GAPS but honestly I do not like the flavor as much as maple syrup.

    If you can, I would use maple syrup. But if you can’t do maple syrup, use honey. It’s not bad — it’s just not as good as the maple syrup.

    Ann Marie

  7. I was wondering whether you have ever added the Parmesan before freezing? I’ve heard that pesto keeps better if you add the cheese later, as you use it. Also, did soaking your pine nuts change the flavor at all? Can’t remember where I read it, but I recall reading that, because pine nuts have a hard shell, it is not necessary to soak them, as they have fewer enzyme inhibitors than nuts with soft shells (like almonds).

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  9. Your recipes look sooo delish! I want to print some of them to keep handy but whenever I do it cuts parts out. Is there a printer friendly version? Thanks

  10. I have a whole bunch of basil growing in my garden right now. I need to get out there ASAP and pick some and make pesto! This would be so good in many ways!

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