Salmon with Basil Sauce and Tomato Salad Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Salmon with Basil Sauce and Tomato Salad

44 reviews / 4.9 average

We’re making a summery salmon with a beautiful, big-flavored basil sauce that is so good, you’re going to want to just drink it. Perfectly-spiced, fresh, and a dinner for everyone!

Hello and happy summer to you, me, and this amazing salmon with basil sauce!

That bright green basil sauce is the green sauce of summer 2023 for me – pour it over spice-loaded, caramelized salmon and throw a little tomato salad on the side and you have a very happy dinner.

We’ve been eating this ON REPEAT in our house lately!

In This Post: Everything You Need For Salmon with Basil Sauce

How To Make This Salmon with Basil Sauce (with Pictures)

Step 1: Make the Basil Sauce

Just blitz, blend, do your thing. I use this mini chopper (affiliate link) for nearly all my sauces these days!

Ingredients for basil sauce in a food processor

Looks like this when you’re done:

Basil sauce in a bowl

Step 2: Rub The Salmon with Spices

It’s a little bit satisfying, I’m not going to lie.

Salmon with rub on a baking sheet

Step 3: Bake The Salmon

Ten minutes before it’s time to eat, we pop this guy in the oven. I usually either use a meat thermometer, to check the temp (135-140 is a great benchmark) or I just sacrifice one end of one piece to check for doneness.

White hand flaking off a piece of salmon on a baking sheet

Step 4: Assemble and Serve

Everybody builds their own plate! We layer in rice and a simple tomato salad.

Only requirement: make sure everyone gets lots of basil sauce.

Lindsay’s Notes

I have a real emotional attachment to this basil sauce (or some version of it) because it originated at a family cabin in Wisconsin. There was a huge basil plant on the dock, and we harvested it liberally, and for weeks we ate ev-er-y-thing smothered in basil sauce.

Last week, when I breathed in my first bunch of fresh summer basil, it took me right back. Lightbulb. Craving. Basil sauce time.

One of my all-time favorite things in life is when I find a recipe that makes everyone in my family happy. And this meal has something for all of us: lots of protein to make Bjork happy, lots of big flavor to make ME happy, and enough elements that no matter what the mood is in the kid department, they can find something they will like.

Against all odds, my preschooler regularly asks for seconds and thirds on salmon whenever we make this, and my toddler literally cleans out the sauce blender with a spatula. And I’m not saying that’s going to happen for everyone. But I’m saying it does sometimes happen for us, and I am always shocked, and I always play it cool, but it’s making me super-extra love this recipe right now.

In short: whole family endorsement here.

May your summer be full of many batches of basil sauce!

Watch How To Make This Salmon with Basil Sauce

Related: If you love salmon, please don’t sleep on these two salmon recipes: Coconut Curry Salmon and BBQ Salmon with Mango Salsa! Oooeee! Both recipes that we make on repeat in our house.

Note: The photos on this recipe show a tomato cucumber salad, but at this very moment, I’m preferring a tomato corn salad! You’ll see corn in the recipe card, but not in the photos. Either will work, but for what I love best, follow the recipe card!

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A picture of Salmon with Basil Sauce and Tomato Salad

Salmon with Basil Sauce and Tomato Salad

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 24 servings (I find this amount works just right for me, my husband, and our 4 year old)) 1x


Summery salmon with a beautiful, big-flavored basil sauce and a simple little tomato salad.


Units Scale

Spice-Rubbed Salmon:

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. salmon filet, cut into 23 pieces

Basil Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
  • 1 small bunch of fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, optional
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup mayo (more as needed to keep it creamy)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 tablespoons lemon juice
  • small pinch of salt, to taste

Tomato Salad:

  • 1 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 ear sweet corn, cut off the cob
  • 12 cups fresh spinach or spring greens
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives or parsley
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice or grains for serving (I use precooked to make it easy)


  1. Prep: Prep the tomato salad.
  2. Make the basil sauce: Blend the basil sauce ingredients until almost completely smooth, with just a few flecks remaining.
  3. Prep the salmon: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix the spices in a small bowl and stir in the olive oil. Coat the salmon with the spice paste.
  4. Bake the salmon: Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 9-12 minutes, or until 135 degrees in the thickest part. (It’s all personal preference, but this is the doneness that we like best – it’s a medium-well done salmon.)
  5. Assemble the meal: Plate the salmon over the rice, serve with salad, and spoon the sauce over the top. Season with salt and pepp. Mwah!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: salmon recipe, basil sauce, salmon with sauce

Frequently Asked Questions For Summer Salmon With Basil Sauce

What herb(s) can I use instead of basil?

Personally, I love the basil here and I think it’s kind of the star! But if you wanted to try something else, I would try swapping in some fresh dill or fresh cilantro to make something that more closely resembles an herbed ranch dressing!

How long does the basil sauce last?

I’ve kept it as long as 5 days in the fridge.

What other protein would work well here?

This would be great with chicken or shrimp!

Chicken: Coat chicken breasts or thighs with the spice rub and pan-fry them for 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through. (I’ve done this, and it’s great. I omitted the sugar and increased the salt to 1 teaspoon for 1 pound.)

Shrimp: Coat them in the spice rub and sauté for 4-5 minutes total until cooked through. (I haven’t done this, but it should work great.)

Can you make this vegetarian / meatless?

Yes, I think you could also do something similar with tofu – here’s a recipe that has a similar build using tofu as the protein! I think this would also be great with roasted sweet potato or cauliflower in place of the salmon.

How do you make this gluten-free and/or dairy-free?

This recipe is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free! Just be sure whatever “grain” you’re using to build the bowls is gluten-free, like rice or quinoa.

Can you cook the salmon with a different method, like grilling?

First of all, YUM. Secondly, yes, but you’ll just want to adjust two things: 1) the spices on top, and 2) the timing. As written, the oven easily creates a crusted golden exterior with the spice rub on the salmon, but on a grill, if you flip the salmon face-down, the spice rub will stick and burn to the grates. I would just follow a grilled salmon guide like this if that’s what you want to do!

Can I make the salmon in an air fryer?

Yes! Honestly I’d just use this Air Fryer Salmon in place of the salmon in these bowls and you’re good to go!

More Of My Favorite Salmon Recipes

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I recently bought salmon from Chinatown in Philadelphia at a great price and had some Salmon steamed with green peas. Salmon in my personal opinion is a really great source of protein and very friendly on the stomach. To be honest, I’ve never thought of preparing fresh salmon with basil sauce and tomato salad, as this unique combination sounds quite delicious. I love how your passion for food blogging continues to be radiant throughout the years, Lindsay. You’re doing such a fantastic job being a shining example to aspiring bloggers-content creators how they too can use blogging and blog about niche topics dear to their heart in hopes of generating healthy and steady streams of affiliate marketing income. Thank you for just being you. Keep up thee good work! 🙂

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Wait, do you have cucumber in your tomato salad in the pictures or am I seeing things??!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Yep, I am seeing cucumber and no corn in the pic, which actually sounds easier.

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      She included this note, just above the recipe photo

      Note: The photos on this recipe show a tomato cucumber salad, but at this very moment, I’m preferring a tomato corn salad! You’ll see corn in the recipe card, but not in the photos. Either will work, but for what I love best, follow the recipe card!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      It’ll surely help speed up your metabolism, inspire you to eat right, and keep a flat stomach, Aaron. I recommend eating Salmon often. 🙂

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this tonight for dinner and it did not disappoint! That sauce is incredible and cooked coho salmon which was delicious with the rub. I added cucumber to the salad for some extra crunch and it worked. This was a bit hit and will be in the rotation all summer long.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I’m going to try half mayo and perhaps 2 tablespoons of olive oil. To get that to emulsify, I’ll add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard as well

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this tonight, it was a hit! My 2 year old has been on dinner strike, won’t even take a bite of foods he likes. I didn’t expect him to eat this but he ate all his salmon, dipped it in the sauce and asked for two more servings. It’s a win!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am SO excited to try this!! Can you sub anything for the mayo? Or do some mayo with say Greek yogurt to cut some calories?

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Ok I just need to leave this here… I had leftover of the basil sauce + tomato corn salad, and decided the next day to put it on some homemade crispy bread… Holy moly. It’s like a creamy, fancy bruschetta. So bright + summery. Highly recommend you give it a try!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Wow, this might be our new favorite POY recipe, and that’s saying a lot! We made this with halibut because that’s what we had, otherwise followed everything to a T and every bit of this was amazing – the fish, the basil sauce (oh my), the corn salad. We had enough for leftovers and my husband declared both nights – wow, this is the best meal we’ve had in a while. We still had leftover rice and basil sauce, and that was delish for lunch with some quickly sauteed zucchini. This will be in the rotation all summer long!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I make salmon all the time but this kicks it up several notches! My husband was impressed: “a sauce?! That’s French!” The sauce is so rich and delicious, and the fresh corn gives such a nice crunch.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Delicious recipe! I loved using my fresh herbs; however I didn’t have quite enough basil so subbed in some cilantro. I also added an avocado to the salad since I had one that needed to be used. Next time I’ll omit the coarse kosher salt from the rub; it was just too salty for my taste. Love how this isn’t just a salmon recipe, but a recipe that combines the entire meal.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made for dinner tonight and it was a hit. I wasn’t so sure about basil and salmon but all the flavors go beautifully together. I didn’t have fresh basil but I did have fresh herb basil paste and it worked perfectly !

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You aren’t kidding about the basil sauce. It’s amazingly delicious! I wish I’d made a triple batch! This was a big hit with my whole family. Thank you!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Ok, so what’s with the switch up in the mayo amount?? I pre made the sauce two days ago and the recipe said 3/4c mayo. I thought that seemed like a lot, but I went with it because POY never lets me down. I should have trusted myself because the sauce turned out way too thick and white and just … like mayo. I blended in a handful of spinach to try to turn it greenish again, but it only helped a little! I came back today to prepare the rest of the meal and the recipe now says 1/2c mayo. I thought maybe I originally misread the recipe, but the notes on the pin still say 3/4c so it’s definitely been changed. If only it was correct two days ago I might have some edible sauce!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Also, please no one suggest that I blend in more basil. I live in a rural community where the village grocery store gets two shipments per week and the basil sells out fast. If I chose to drive 25 minutes to the supermarket the basil would very likely be sold out there too. I already used all the basil I could get!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thank you for doing the recipe step by step and showing pictures. I really appreciate them all.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Very delicious! What a healthy and tasty meal. The basil sauce is perfect and goes wonderfully with the rice too!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I will be eating everything with the basil dressing on it from here on out, YUM. I didn’t have chives so I threw in extra basil. Sooooooo good!!!!!!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      LOVE this Basil Sauce – I will put it with everything but in my coffee – thank you for your delicious healthy recipes 😋

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    We made this for dinner tonight and it was SO GOOD! And SO EASY! We have extra basil sauce leftover and I can’t wait to use it again on something else. Will definitely be making this on repeat!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this tonight for myself, my 7 year old and my 4 year old (hubby is away for work but I will make again for him too). Everybody really enjoyed it! Not only was it delicious but it was very quick to throw together. Another winner!