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Grilled Salmon with Walnut-Arugula Pesto

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

Arugula gives this pesto a deliciously peppery finish, which complements the richness of the salmon.


  • 1/4 cup walnut halves
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh arugula (2-1/2 oz.)
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil (about 1/2 oz.)
  • 3 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for the grill pan
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 6- to 8-oz. skinless salmon fillets
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 490
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 250
  • Fat (g): 28
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15
  • Cholesterol (mg): 110
  • Sodium (mg): 290
  • Carbohydrates (g): 2
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 42


  • In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly on a plate, about 3 minutes, and then transfer to a food processor. Add the arugula, basil, Parmigiano, and garlic and process until the mixture is very finely chopped, about 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly add 4 Tbs. of the oil until well combined. If you like, add 1 Tbs. water to thin the pesto. Transfer to a bowl and season to taste with salt.
  • Heat a lightly oiled grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub the salmon fillets all over with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Sprinkle all over with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Put the fillets on the grill pan, skinned side up, and cook until well marked, about 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until opaque in the center, about 5 minutes more. Serve with the pesto.

Serve with lemony broccoli and buttered orzo.

(3 ratings) Read Reviews
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Reviews (4 reviews)

  • WendyRussel | 09/20/2019

    This was superb. For those who need a dairy free option to the traditional parmesan cheese, make your own pine nut parmesan (grind pine nuts till fine then add onion powder, garlic powder and nutritional yeast) and substitute it for the regular cheese. It makes the best pesto for those with dairy allergies.

  • loosenup | 06/17/2013

    Excellent! I put the salmon on the grill. Will definitely make this again.

  • FrenchieC | 10/30/2012

    This was a hit! Two kids (10 & 7) and one big kid (42) thought it was fabulous. It was hurricane Sandy the night we made it so no BBQ or grill available so I baked the salmon at about 400 for 15 minutes, just with a little salt and pepper and olive oil. Delish! I also used romano instead of parm just for a little extra kick. Nice & easy and gives your salmon a little something special for a weeknight.

  • bellaginger | 08/27/2012

    Quite tasty! I cut the recipe in half for just the two of us but there was still plenty of pesto left over. I grilled the salmon. Good presentation!

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