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Foil-Baked Salmon Recipe with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes (Video)

Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes is delicious all year, but it’s especially good when you’re using the very last of the fresh garden tomatoes! And this delicious dinner that’s fancy enough to make for guests is also low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free, South Beach Diet friendly, and only has 5 ingredients! Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

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Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes!

Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes found on KalynsKitchen.com

Before we completely let go of the summer tomatoes and fresh basil, I want to remind you about this Foil-Baked Salmon with Pesto and Tomatoes. This is one of those no-fail perfect recipes that’s always delicious whenever you make it, but if you make it when you still have some fresh garden tomatoes (and maybe even some homemade Basil Pesto with Lemon in the fridge) this is even better. In my small garden I’m still getting a few tomatoes, and I just made some pesto with the last of my basil that was growing in the window, so this looks like a great idea for an early fall dinner.

But even if you don’t have a garden, or your garden tomatoes are long gone, or if you have to use mid-winter tomatoes and pesto from the store, this recipe will always produce spectacular results! It was was adapted from Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times, where Bittman used tomatoes and fresh basil to top salmon that was baked in foil. And no disrespect to Mark Bittman, but I think my variation of using pesto to replace the fresh basil might even have been an improvement!

Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes found on KalynsKitchen.com.

Let salmon come to room temperature while you preheat the oven or toaster oven and the baking sheet. Make a double layer of foil, drizzle a little olive oil on the foil, lay on the salmon pieces, and season the fish. (I always season fish with Szeged Fish Rub, but use any seasonings you like if you don’t have that.) Top each piece of salmon with a thin layer of pesto and some slices of tomato.

Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes found on KalynsKitchen.com.

Wrap up the packets, folding over the ends a couple of times. Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes. Then let sit a few minutes before carefully opening packet. Serve hot, and enjoy!

Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes found on KalynsKitchen.com.

Make it a Meal: You can serve this Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes right in the foil if you’d like, for a dinner that’s sure to please anyone who likes salmon. Add something like Cucumbers Caesar or Zucchini Noodle Mock Pasta Salad for a low-carb meal!

More Low-Carb Ideas for Cooking with Pesto:

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Roasted Red Peppers with Pesto and Goat Cheese ~ Aggie’s Kitchen
Twice-Baked Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Parmesan ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Pesto Zucchini Lasagna Rolls ~ All Day I Dream About Food
Low-Carb Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Foil-Baked Salmon Recipe with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes

Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes is especially good when you have fresh summer tomatoes!


  • 2 salmon filets, about 6 oz. each
  • fish rub of your choice; see note (this is optional but recommended)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil (to grease foil)
  • about 4 tsp. basil pesto (can use pesto from a jar here with good results, although obviously homemade pesto is even better)
  • 2 or 3 medium tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. (I used my Oster toaster oven.)
  2. Place a baking sheet in oven to heat while you prep the salmon.
  3. Tear two pieces of foil, big enough to wrap salmon with some overlapping.
  4. Place foil pieces one on top of the other.
  5. Put about 2 tsp. olive oil in center of top piece of foil and lay salmon on top of oil.
  6. Season salmon with Szeged Fish Rub or other seasonings of your choice.
  7. Spread each piece of salmon with about 2 tsp. basil pesto.
  8. Arrange sliced tomatoes over pesto so they cover the top of the salmon.
  9. Wrap salmon securely in foil, doubling over the seam and ends several times.
  10. Place salmon packet on heated baking sheet and cook 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven after 15 minutes and let sit 2-3 minutes.
  12. Then open carefully and serve immediately, while salmon and tomatoes are hot.


For years I have used Szeged Fish Rub, but any seasoning blend that tastes good on fish will work in this recipe.

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes is a wonderful meal for low-carb eating plans, including any phase of the South Beach Diet. Tomatoes do have some carbs, but there’s not a lot of tomato in this recipe.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes from KalynsKitchen.com

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106 comments on “Foil-Baked Salmon Recipe with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes (Video)”

  1. Is this method of cooking the fish considered steaming it then?

    (haha my idea of baked salmon always involves the fish getting some kind of yummy crusty surface!.. or is that roasting?)

    I'll definitely try this soon!

  2. I am excited to try this tonight. Can anyone tell me what they served with this to complete the meal.

    I am looking for healthy alternative eating recipes and I think this may be a good start. ( I think )

  3. I'm doing a variation on your salmon in foil packets tonight- I love fish cooked in foil. xox

  4. Anonymous, I'm not that familiar with mizuna, but maybe the pesto had less oil than the regular basil pesto I used?

  5. We made this tonight with a homemade mizuna pesto and pac choy. I felt like it was missing something, maybe butter. It made for a very moist fish though. thanks!

  6. Anonymous, can’t imagine why it would take so long to cook unless your salmon was unusually thick or the oven temperature was wrong.

  7. Has anyone else run into an issue on cooking time? I have it in the oven at 450 for over 25 minutes and it still is raw on the inside. Any suggestions?

  8. Val, I didn’t use salt and pepper, but you certainly could if you wanted to.

  9. I have never cooked fish before, but I do know that salmon is my favorite. Also, pesto is my all time favorite sauce and the two together sound wonderful, and with the tomato on top… it is just the recipe I was looking for. But I noticed that the recipe doesn’t call for any seasoning other that the pesto. Is the pesto enough or is it supposed to be common sense that I should sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the salmon itself?

  10. Anonymous, glad to hear you liked it, and lucky you to have your own pesto!

  11. This is terrific, I use my own pesto (frozen from last summer) and double what’s called for. I am making it a second time for guests.

  12. Thank you for this recipe – I was looking just for the right temperature and time to cook salmon in foil packets, which I used to easily find at the aluminum foil manufacturer’s site, but a google search landed me at your blog entry. I’ll have to give your full recipe a try next time! 🙂

  13. This turned out wonderfully! Thanks so much for the suggestion – we just loved it! (and it was easy…don’t tell my husband) 😉

  14. I’ve impressed a few different sets of guests with this quick, minimal cleanup, delicious recipe 🙂 I like serving it with a lemony side. Thanks!!!

  15. So glad to hear it turned out for you. You’re right, I do think the pesto really keeps the fish moist.

  16. Mmmm, we just served this as the main course at our Passover seder, which was dairy, and it was SO GOOD! I am not a very good cook so I was thrilled to find this recipe. We used the kosher-for-passover pesto sauce from a jar , which was non-dairy, and the frozen Sockeye salmon from Trader Joe’s.

    The one thing I was worried about was the cooking time, as every piece of salmon I had was a different size and shape, but either salmon is a very forgiving fish, or the oil and foil kept it all moist regardless.

  17. Ahhhh, cumin. I was trying to figure out what you meant. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks faster than I type.

  18. uh, make that a light sprinkling of CUMIN, not salmon, on the salmon.

  19. This was scrumptious. I made a fresh pesto with a newly-purchased mini-mortar and pestle (lot more work than I anticipated), and added a light dusting of salmon to the salmon, which I think really brings our the flavor of the fish. Thanks for the great idea, Kalyn! This is going into heavy rotation.

    Next time, I think I’m going to try individually packaging the fillets so that I can easily throw a couple in the fridge to take to work for lunch.

  20. Wow. This looks fantastic. I LOVE salmon and am particularly lucky in that I get to eat lots of wild salmon in Vancouver. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I eat salmon at least once a week. I love the pesto and tomato idea, and I’m sure it tasted fantastic. I love salmon with crushed tomatoes and oregano, so I’m sure your recipe will be amazing (since pesto is slightly more exciting than plain oregano).

  22. That looks just perfect. I honestly can’t think of anything more delicious!

  23. I made this for dinner yesterday, together with a big salad and it was excellent! Can’t wait to try it on the BBQ. Definitely a “keeper”! It would also work well with Steelhead Trout. JD 🙂

  24. I have bookmarked your adaptation of the recipe Kalyn! I bet it would be delicious on the BBQ as well!!!

  25. This sounds like a perfect low glycemic dinner! And your photo is beautfiful!

  26. Kalyn you make me try so many new recipes :).
    This one sounds equally tasty.
    I would also add some lime juice just before serving to give it a fresh-invigorating taste. I know that tomatoes are also good at that job.

  27. Oh goodness, I could eat salmon everyday…this looks sooooo good!

  28. Katie, brilliant idea to do it on the barbecue. (This is why I love blogging so much. That thought hadn’t even occurred to me.)

  29. That looks wonderful! I’m going to do that on the barbecue next summer…when I get good tomatoes! (I don’t even try in winter)

  30. I love baked fish – so easy, when you don’t want to do anything too fancy, but still want to eat well and healthily. Thanks for sharing – might just borrow your idea for a midweek meal some time!

  31. Aw, gee, you guys are so nice even when I post those photos that are a bit blindingly-shiny around the edges.

    Janelle, glad to hear you like the links. I’m hooked on finding them now, it’s so much fun. (And easy to with the Food Blog Search – bottom of right sidebar if you haven’t seen it before. Add it to your site if you’re a blogger, it’s really a lot of fun.)

  32. I think your photos came out great! And the recipe sounds really good too!

  33. Actually, I think your hero shots of the cooked fish look lovely, Kalyn. And the fish sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to try this new approach. Even though I’m a big fan of fresh basil, I have to agree the pesto would be even better, with its nice garlic kick.

  34. All of my favorite things in one recipe! Thanks! And your photos look great!

  35. Hurray for tomatoes! The pics turned out just fine!

    I went to bed thinking about tomatoes… and woke up to your pic!

    BTW I really love all the links you provide to related recipes…

  36. I love pesto and I just bought some salmon from Costco yesterday! I never thought of putting the two together. I am excited to try it!

  37. Pesto always makes me think of summer, this sounds great!

  38. Great colours Kalyn! This looks delicious. Also, Lydia’s suggestion of using parchment paper is definitely a good one. I use it for baking fish all the time and it will certainly solve your light reflecting problem!

  39. Those are lovely salmon, and sounds delicious as well.

  40. Kalyn, this looks delicious! I love salmon and try to eat it often, but I usually prepare it the same way – baked with lemon and rosemary. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  41. That salmon looks and sounds so good! I would imagine that the salmon is super moist and tender being baked/steamed in foil with the tomatoes and pesto.

  42. Glad people like the sound of it. This was one of the best “easy” recipes I’ve made for a long time. It sounds like I’m not the only one who loves ultra easy recipes like this.

    Lydia, would you believe I’ve never even bought parchment paper. I think it might work though.

  43. Awesome! Simple, easy and perfect. I love dishes like this!

  44. I wonder whether, to make this more photogenic, it could be baked in parchment instead of foil?

  45. The tomatoes heighten the dish, so in love with roasting them of late.

  46. I had the shiny foil issue the other day when trying to photograph potato packets 🙂 I made do, but what a pain.

    I’m excited about making your salmon dish — I love pesto. Usually, I make a sweeter glaze for salmon, but I’m getting tired of it and have been looking for something new. Thanks for sharing!

  47. Ah, the challenges of photographing foil. Well, it looks fab. I love fish (or chicken) roasted in foil packets. And with tomato and pesto? Fuggeddaboudit.

  48. Kalyn, I love salmon with pesto, I make it all the time, and with homemade pesto it’s even better! It intensely flavors the salmon so well! MmmmI can taste it now

  49. I normally like my salmon with a sweeter sauce, but this sounds really good. I’ll have to remember this the next time I decide to cook salmon.

  50. Lovely!! That’s very much my kind of recipe 🙂

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