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Salmon filet on white plate with cilantro lemon pesto

Salmon with Cilantro Lemon Pesto

Author: Janet Harlow
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 4 servings
This salmon with a crispy golden brown top and cilantro lemon pesto is a recipe that can be made in 20 minutes or less.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins


  • 4 6 oz. salmon filets or other fish
  • 1 Tbsp oil high heat oil like sunflower
  • salt and pepper

Cilantro Lemon Pesto

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 Tbsps pumpkin seeds sunflower seeds or slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2/3 c olive oil
  • salt


Make the Cilantro Lemon Pesto

  • Remove the thick stems from the cilantro and discard. It is ok to put the thinner stems into the pesto.
  • Place the garlic, seeds or nuts and 1/4 tsp salt in a food processor or heavy duty blender. Run until it is finely chopped.
  • Add the cilantro, oil and lemon juice and run until it is smooth. Taste. If the flavors do not pop, stir in a couple pinches of salt or a teaspoon of lemon juice.

Cook the salmon:

  • If using thick pieces of fish, more than 1" thick, heat the oven to 350°F. Season the salmon with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large, oven-safe skillet (cast iron is preferred) until a splash of water evaporates immediately.
  • Add a light coating of high heat oil.
  • Place the salmon in the pan, skin-side up and cook for 3-4 minutes or until it is golden underneath. If your fish is 1" thick or less, it should cook in the pan pretty quickly. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  • For thicker pieces, flip and transfer to the oven. Cook an additional 4-6 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness and your preferred doneness.


Serving: 1salmon filet with 1/4 c pestoCalories: 1294kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 93gFat: 99gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 78gCholesterol: 238mgSodium: 2380mgFiber: 4gSugar: 1g
Did you make this recipe?Let me know how it was! Tag @chefjanetk on Instagram.