Kale Oregano Pesto Salmon is a delicious and easy way to dress up your salmon. What sets this recipe apart from the rest is the kale oregano pesto which is fun and flavorful play on traditional pesto. It packs a green punch of kale, oregano instead of basil, sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts and nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan making it nut free, dairy free and paleo! Kale Oregano Pesto Salmon can be made in less than 30 minutes from start to finish and it is naturally gluten free.
Oregano has a warm, balsamic and aromatic flavor that pares well with asparagus, broccoli, green beans, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, fish and chicken. The oil found in oregano is a very strong antibiotic that has actually been proven to be more effective against some infections in concentrated dosages than commonly used prescription drugs. Oregano also contains potent antioxidants what will help restore free radical damage in the cells. It is also concentrated source of vitamin K which helps with adequate blood clotting as well as keeping your blood vessels from calcifying and helping your bones retain calcium. Finally, Oregano is very good source of manganese, iron, dietary fiber, and calcium.
To get started preheat the oven to 400F. My oven takes a while to heat up so I like a play a game where I race the oven to see who can be ready first! Kale Oregano Pesto Salmon is so quick to prepare I usually win!
Start making your pesto by placing three garlic cloves in a food processor. Pulse the garlic until minced.
Now add ½ cup olive oil, 4 cups of roughly chopped kale and ¼ cup fresh oregano into the food processor. Pulse the garlic, olive oil, kale and oregano until finely chopped. If you have a powerful food processor you can probably leave the steams on the kale, if your processor is weak it might not be able to break through the steams so it is best if you remove them to avoid chunks. If you remove the steams you can save them for juicing or flavoring a broth. To lean about the amazing healing properties of kale check out my Crispy Chickpea Kale Salad Recipe.
Finally, add the sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast and pulse until mixed. The sunflower seeds replace the traditional pine nuts in the pesto making it nut free. The nutritional yeast replaces the Parmesan cheese making this recipe dairy free and paleo! If you are wondering what nutritional yeast is, take a look at my recipe for Veggie Grain Goodness Bowl.
Once the pesto is done, you can start preparing the Kale Oregano Pesto Salmon. I use wild salmon in this recipe, to find out why read my Salmon Cakes with Creamy Dill Sauce post. First check salmon for bones, rinse it then pat it dry. Season both sides of your salmon with salt and pepper. If you are lucky enough to have some skin on your salmon, season only the skinless side.
Place each salmon filet skin side down on a square of piece parchment paper and spread 1 cm thick layer of Kale Oregano Pesto on top. Fold the parchment paper around the Kale Oregano Pesto Salmon creating a pouch. Seal the top by folding it over and twist the ends to create a seal that will keep in the moisture. Repeat for the second piece of salmon.
Bake the Kale Oregano Pesto Salmon for 20 minutes at 400F, or until the salmon is cooked through and flaky. You can use your leftover pesto to flavor a side of vibrant greens or as a dip. If you are making the Kale Oregano Pesto only to be used as a raw dip, I would recommend only using 1-2 garlic cloves. When the pesto is baked it has the perfect amount of garlic flavor, but raw it can be a little overpowering if you are not a garlic lover like me!
Kale Oregano Pesto Salmon (dairy free, gluten free, paleo, nut free)
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Serving size: 2-4
Kale Oregano Pesto
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4 cups of kale, steams removed and roughly chopped or torn
- ¼ cup fresh oregano, steams removed
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 large filets of wild salmon
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Place the garlic in a food processor and pulse until minced. Add the olive oil, kale and oregano and pulse until finely chopped. Finally add the sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast and pulse until mixed.
- Check salmon for bones, rinse under cold water then pat dry. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper.
- Place each salmon filet on a square of parchment paper and spread 1cm thick layer of pesto on top. Fold the parchment paper around the salmon creating a pouch. Seal the top by folding it over and twist the ends to create a seal.
- Bake for 20min, or until the salmon is cooked through and flaky. Use the leftover pesto to flavor a side of broccoli, asparagus, kale or any vibrant cooked green.
I love all the different variations on the traditional pesto. Do you have a fun pesto recipe? Share it in the comments section!