Let’s get ready for the change in the seasons with some bright fresh summer flavors. This delicious keto salmon recipe with pesto will be sure to get your taste buds ready for some more bold flavors.
Salmon is a flavorful fish and can easily be enjoyed with just some salt and pepper, but this cilantro lime pesto will put it over the top and add a clean and fresh citrusy punch of flavor to an already yummy bite of crispy-skinned salmon.
I have to admit it's taken me a while to enjoy salmon. And several occasions where I was served it without a choice. It is typical banquet fare and at a few fundraisers I ended up with a plate of salmon staring up at me. I realized that when well prepared it isn't that bad. And this keto salmon recipe is actually delicious!
Keto Salmon with Pesto
One of my favorite characteristics of pesto is that it simultaneously adds a punch of flavor and a bold pop of color. Pesto is also very versatile and can be used as a marinade, dressing, sauce, dip or just a color plate decoration. I make homemade nut-free pesto every summer as the gardening season winds down with any basil I have in the garden.
Ingredients in Pesto
There are just four simple ingredients for the pesto. I like to just put them all into the mini food processor, but you can also use a rocket blender, or blender to accomplish the same thing. Here’s a tip: If you want to make this pesto into a dip just add a little more lime juice, or add an additional tablespoon of olive oil to make a salad dressing.
Can I use Basil Instead of Cilantro?
Absolutely. If you'd prefer to make a classic basil pesto just substitute basil for the cilantro and leave out the lime juice. Basil pesto is also delicious on keto salmon.
How to Make Pesto
Put all your pesto ingredients into the food processor and blend until it is pureed. If the pesto is a little thin, you can add more cilantro to thicken it up. Tip: I recommend using a salad spinner to ensure you get all the water off your rinsed cilantro or that excess water will thin out your pesto.
How to Make Keto Salmon
I start by preheating the oven on to 475 F. At the same put a frying pan on the stove over high heat. You will need an oven-safe pan so that you can put the whole thing into the stove to finish the salmon.
Once the pan is hot, coat the bottom with a quick drizzle of oil. I used grapeseed oil for this preparation. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Then lay your salmon in the pan skin side down for 5 minutes. After five minutes, put the entire pan into the oven for 3 more minutes. Instead of the oven, you could put it under the broiler for 1 minute if you prefer a rarer piece of salmon.
Just make sure that you are using a potholder when you remove the pan from the oven. Keep in mind that the handle will be hot for about another 20 minutes after that as well. It is easy to forget if you start cleaning up and you will get a nasty surprise if you go to grab it with your bare hand.
Fresh or Frozen Salmon
I used a four-ounce portion of salmon from Butcher Box. I thawed it in the vacuum sealed packaging in a bowl of water for an hour.
Of course, you can use fresh salmon as well. This pesto sauce recipe quantity is sufficient for flavoring up to a one-pound fillet.
If you don't want to thaw your salmon check out this air fryer frozen salmon recipe!
How to Get Crispy Skin on Salmon
The key to crispy skin on keto salmon is a hot pan and oil that can handle a high temperature without scorching. I recommend using grapeseed or avocado oil, as they can both better handle high temperatures than olive oil.
What to serve with Keto Salmon?
Serve this up with any in-season veggies and enjoy! It is a lighter meal and pairs well with both light side dishes and those that are a bit richer. I just served it on top of baby spinach with a little extra pesto and a drizzle of oil.
Want to try cooking salmon in your air fryer? Try this Air Fryer Salmon recipe!
How about another type of fish? This Mahi Mahi is great!
- 4 x 4 oz filets of salmon
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoon lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon of high temp cooking oil (recommend avocado or grapeseed)
- Combine garlic, olive oil, cilantro and lime juice in a food processor. Blend until pureed.
- Season salmon with salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees
- Heat frying pan over high heat, add cooking oil
- Lay salmon in frying pan skin side down and cook on high heat for 5 min
- Then place the entire pan in the oven for 3 minutes.
- Remove salmon from pan and plate. Spoon or pour pesto over the top and serve.
OriginallyPublished April 26, 2019. Revised and Republished April 18, 2020.