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Southwestern Salmon with Cilantro Pesto

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Southwestern Salmon with Cilantro Pesto

Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci

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Prep time: 25 min • Cook Time: 8-10 min • Yield: 4 servings


  • Food processor

Salmon Ingredients 

  • 4 (4 to 6 ounce) salmon steaks or fillets
  • Coconut oil spray
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, about 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup or raw honey

Cilantro Salsa Ingredients

  • ½ cup raw sliced almonds, toasted
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, about 1 lime
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce, i.e. Cholula

Salmon Directions 

  1. Preheat broiler to high and position rack 6-inches below heat source. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray/brush foil with coconut oil. (Do not use parchment paper. It will catch on fire!)
  2. Place salmon on baking sheet, leaving room between the pieces for even cooking and pour lime juice over fish.
  3. Mix all spices and seasonings in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly on fish. Spray top of fish lightly with coconut oil.
  4. Broil 5 to 8 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  5. When the fish is almost done, remove from oven, drizzle maple syrup/honey over fish and broil for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Cilantro Pesto Directions

  1. Process almonds until they become almost powdery. Add cilantro leaves, lime juice, and garlic and continue to process until the cilantro is well chopped.
  2. With motor running, add the olive oil, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Store covered in the refrigerator. 
  4. To serve, top fish with pesto and serve with a fresh slice of lime.

Notes: You can grill the salmon if you choose.

The Cilantro Pesto is also excellent with chicken, beef, or lamb. Try it on top of a burger or serve with grilled lamb kabobs.

Pesto will last for about one week in refrigerator, or longer if you seal the top with olive oil. It also freezes well.