Crispy-Skin Salmon with Pesto

Image of Team Mealthy
Rated 5.0 based on 5 customer reviews


  • 3 cups penne pasta
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, or more to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup baby Roma tomato halves
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds salmon fillets


  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook penne pasta in boiling water until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain.
  2. Blend basil, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor until even in color; season with salt and pepper and blend until integrated. Reserve 2 tablespoon pesto for salmon.
  3. Toss drained penne pasta with the tomato halves, ¼ cup pesto, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet on high heat. Season both sides of salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Fry salmon in hot oil skin-side down, until skin is crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip salmon and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 2 minutes more; transfer fillets to a serving platter. Spread 1 tablespoon pesto onto each salmon fillet and serve with the penne.
Mealthy tip:

For dairy-free pesto, replace cheese with an additional tablespoon of pine nuts. If you like, make a double batch of pesto—it's great to have on hand for quick dinners. Refrigerate for up to one week, or freeze in individual portions in an ice cube tray and store for up to three months. If you don't want to spend the money on pine nuts, walnuts make a great substitution. Any pasta is fine for this recipe. Rigatoni or rotini would work well!


5.0out of 5 Stars

(5 Reviews)

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What others are saying

Image of Tal Levitas

Tal Levitas says:

I love pesto. I love salmon. I love this dish. It was easy and quick and my fiance loved it too!

Image of Sam Dalton

Sam Dalton says:

I never was a fan of keeping the skin, but after trying this recipe I think I've been won over. The pesto was really flavorful, and easy to make. Overall very good dish. Deserves 5 stars!

Image of Laura Griffin

Laura Griffin says:

My two favorite parts of this recipe is the pesto and Parmesan cheese for the fish. I usually don't leave the skin on my salmon, but tried it for the sake of this recipe, and I was not disappointed. I skipped the pasta because I am trying to cut out the carbs. It was super light and flavorful, and I can't wait to make it again.

Image of Alexis Pearson

Alexis Pearson says:

Only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is because the crispy skin salmon is just not my thing. Other than that, I liked the pairing of the salmon and pesto, it was delicious.

Image of McKenzie C

McKenzie C says:

Basil pesto always tastes better when its made fresh, and this recipe is fail-proof. The only change I made was I added fresh squeeze lemon juice to the salmon (a must).