Walnut Pesto Salmon helps you eat heart smart with every bite. Salmon, walnuts, basil, and olive oil pack powerful cholesterol cutters and antioxidants into one delicious dish! As a bonus, this meal is ready in less than 30 minutes.
One step we can take to support heart heath is eating more foods rich in unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, or what we call, “the good fats”. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that may reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease and strokes. Scientists also believe these fats help lower your overall cholesterol.
A diet rich in omega-3 foods like salmon, walnuts, and olive oil is often called The Mediterranean Diet. Basil is also part of this heart healthy mix. Basil brings an array of vitamins and antioxidants to the table.
Here’s the breakdown on this Walnut Pesto Salmon recipe.
Salmon – The fatty oils in salmon are rich in omega-3. One 3-ounce portion of salmon contains half the recommended USDA daily allowance of protein. There are many ways your family can enjoy salmon. Salmon is a versatile fish that can be baked, grilled, poached, and even smoked.
Walnuts – Walnuts also contain omega-3. These nuts are high in fiber, low in calories and one-quarter cup contains 10% of your daily value of magnesium and phosphorus.
Olive Oil – Substituting omega-3 oils, like olive oil, is a good start. Try using half the butter or totally replacing butter with olive oil when frying. Try using olive oil in aioli instead of mayonnaise for sandwiches. Olive oil alone, or in dressings, brings out the flavor in salads. You can drizzle olive oil on cooked vegetables as a finishing touch. Remember to eat any fat, even these healthy fats, in moderation.
Basil – Basil is my secret ingredient when adding nutrition to almost any dish. I even make basil ice cream which has a minty flavor. This herb contains high amounts of vitamin K, vitamin A, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Put it all together and you have one delicious heart healthy meal. Enjoy!
Heart Healthy Walnut Pesto Salmon
Season salmon with a seafood seasoning and bake at 350ºF until flaky.
Grind walnuts to about 1/8-inch pieces.
Add basil, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper and grind into a paste.
Add olive oil and process into a spreadable pesto.
Easily remove the skin by sliding a knife blade between skin and fish meat. Place on spinach.
Top salmon with pesto, drizzle with olive oil, and microwave 30 seconds to wilt spinach if desired.
- 2 3-ounce portions of salmon
- 1 teaspoons seafood seasoning (I used Old Bay)
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or use a silicon mat. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
- Sprinkle salmon with seafood seasoning. Place on prepared pan. Bake for approximately 8 to 12 minutes until fish easily flakes with a fork. Set aside.
- While fish bakes, prepare pesto. Grind walnuts into 1/8-inch sized pieces.
- Add basil, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Grind to a paste consistency. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Process until mixed.
- Divide spinach onto 2 plates.
- Slide knife blade between skin and fish meat. Gently remove filet and place on top of spinach.
- Top with pesto. Drizzle plate with olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.
- Place in microwave for 30 seconds to wilt spinach if desired. Serve.
Home Chef Tip: Which of your favorite recipes can you adapt to be more heart healthy? Try substituting salmon for red meat in casseroles. A handful of basil tossed into a stew or soup will add a delicious touch. Sprinkle walnuts on oatmeal, yogurt, and ice cream for added fiber and nutrition.
We hope you love this Heart Smart Walnut Pesto Salmon recipe from SoFabFood Contributor, Cindy from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings, as much as we do. If you enjoyed this simple dish, be sure to visit our 30 Minute Meals section for more like it. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so that you never miss a single recipe. For daily recipe inspiration, like us on Facebook, follow us on Pinterest, and stop by our Google+ Community to see all of the amazing recipes our community members are sharing. Enjoy!
Disclosure: The author of this article is not a trained medical professional, nor a dietician. All of the information in this post is based on research and personal experience.