Salmon in creamy red pesto sauce. Garlic kissed, loaded with spinach and served in a delicious sun-dried tomato pesto sauce that’s made ultra luscious with cream cheese. This recipe is both, easy to make and packed with flavor. Plus, it’s ready in 30 minutes and made in one skillet! Serve any night of the week with a side of some crusty bread for soaking up that delicious sauce.
Salmon is a great fish to cook with! It’s flavorful, flaky and so delicious. My favorite salmon recipes include Salmon all’Arrabbiata and Thai Coconut Salmon Curry. In today’s recipe, we’ll combine pan-seared salmon with the most amazing cream sauce. If you can’t get enough of salmon, here’s a list with 15 of my favorite salmon dishes. Get ready for weeknight-salmon-bliss.
The salmon is pan-seared and crispy on the outside, yet perfectly flaky and tastes like a dream when combined with that utterly delicious red pesto sauce. It feels fancy, yet requires hardly any effort to pull together, making it ideal for weeknights or for a last-minute dinner party. You’re in for a dinner that’s pure comfort.
Serve with some mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or bread to mop up that delicious sauce… and don’t forget that big leafy salad on the side.
Let me guide you through the recipe with this step-by-step VIDEO.
This is How We Do It
In a pan drizzled with olive oil, we melt some butter, then we sear the salmon fillets on both sides. We remove them from the skillet while we work on that flavorful sauce that takes the dish to next level.
Using the same pan, we add minced garlic, onion and seasonings. Then we pour in crushed tomatoes, add red pesto and stir in the cream cheese. Fresh spinach goes right into the sauce, we stir slowly until it’s slightly wilted. Then return the salmon into that delicious, saucy goodness. Sprinkle some fresh parsley and chili flakes on top. Done!
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make This Happen
- Salmon Fillets: Skinless salmon is the go-to in this recipe, but if you want to use skin-on salmon, no problem! Add the salmon with skin-side up at the end and try not to pour the sauce over the crispy skin, as it softens fast.
- Red Pesto: Made with sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan and a little bit of basil. You can use store-bought or make it at home. Here’s one of my favorite recipes.
- Crushed tomatoes: For a tomatoey base.
- Cream cheese: To create a smooth, creamy sauce. You can also use 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
- Spinach: you can use fresh or frozen, just be sure to thaw it first.
- Olive oil and butter: We use both, for a nice sear and extra flavor. Never pan-sear fish in butter over high heat, it will burn.
- Garlic and Onion: It makes the sauce just better.
- Seasoning: salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning. We also use chili flakes for topping.
- Serve with mashed potatoes, crispy baked potatoes, orzo, rice or some crusty bread and a leafy side salad. Just keep it simple and let the salmon really shine.
- If you are eating low-carb, you can try this salmon with roasted zucchini, cauliflower rice or broccoli.
- Add more veggies to the sauce like roasted bell peppers, eggplant or some extra spinach.
- Storage: Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 day, but best eaten the same day the fish is cooked.
- Swirl leftovers with your favorite noodles for a deliciously creamy pasta dinner. Thin out with some pasta water.
Try These Next
- One-Pan Creamy Tomato Salmon with Chorizo
- Creamy Cajun Pepper Salmon
- Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Ricotta Pesto
Salmon in Creamy Red Pesto Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 pound salmon fillet
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ¾ cup crushed tomatoes
- ¾ cup red pesto
- 7 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 3.5 ounces spinach
- fresh parsley for serving
- chili flakes for serving
- Get your prep done before you start cooking. Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Pat the salmon fillets dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil and butter in a nonstick skillet over medium. Add salmon and sear, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Add garlic and onion, cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Pour in crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in red pesto and cream cheese. Then add spinach and cook until slightly wilted, about 1 minute.
- Return salmon to the skillet. Allow to cook for 3 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked through.
- Finish off with fresh parsley and chili flakes. Enjoy!