Meatless Monday Challenge

25-Minute Pistachio Crusted Salmon

on May 1, 2023
last updated June 3, 2024
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This Pistachio Crusted Salmon is juicy & flaky on the inside and nutty & crunchy on the outside. Comes together in less than 30 minutes!
Overhead image of 25-Minute Pistachio Crusted Salmon

Looking for a gourmet dinner that comes together in less than 30 minutes? This Pistachio Crusted Salmon brings bold flavors, with tender salmon coated in a crispy, nutty, and savory crust.

With brightness and tang from the lemon and Dijon mustard, this nut-crusted salmon recipe relies on just 5 simple, yet impactful ingredients to create a quick marinade and crust to bring out the best in your salmon!

In this recipe, you will learn how to prep & coat your salmon, and how to whip up a 2-ingredient quick marinade and pistachio based crust.

You’ll also learn how to perfectly cook the salmon without burning the crust by using aluminum foil to cover your baking dish for the first half of baking.

Two servings of Pistachio Crusted Salmon with forkful taken out

Pistachio Crusted Salmon Ingredients

Here’s everything you need:

  • Salmon. About 10 ounces, fresh or frozen (thawed), with skin on.
  • Dijon mustard. Grainy or smooth, whichever you prefer.
  • Lemon juice. Just 1 teaspoon, so if you’re using fresh lemon (recommended), you will only need to purchase one lemon.
  • Pistachios. Roasted, salted, and shelled. I buy these shelled pistachios.
  • Parmesan cheese. Grated parmesan to mix with your pistachios to add salt and more depth of flavor to your crunchy crust.
  • Black pepper. For a little kick.
  • Basil. Optional for fresh garnish.
ingredients needed for pistachio crusted salmon - Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salmon, pepper, pistachios

Sustainable Seafood

Unless done with extreme care, salmon farming can pose a risk to our environment for several reasons.

Some examples include the antibiotics used in salmon farms that can leach into the surrounding environment and the depletion of other wild fish populations that are harvested to feed the salmon.

That being said, wild-caught salmon poses other, equally damaging risks, including overfishing and bycatch. What’s more, there are often issues with availability and access to wild caught salmon.

So where does that leave us when it comes to sustainably sourcing salmon?

In the U.S., we have two great options: sustainably farmed salmon, or wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

Green tip: Look for Marine Stewardship Council and Friend of the Sea labels on your fish to ensure they were harvested sustainably.

Pistachio Crusted Salmon Tips and Tricks

Start By Patting Your Salmon Dry

If you are using frozen salmon, make sure it’s thawed. You can easily do so by taking it out of the refrigerator the night before making this easy salmon dish and transfer it to the refrigerator to give it time to thaw.

To thaw it out more quickly, add it to a sealed bag (consider these reusable storage bags for a more sustainable option!), and place it in lukewarm water for about 45 minutes.

Whether you’re using frozen or fresh, it’s best to reduce the moisture on your fish before coating it, to ensure the pistachio crust adheres to it nicely and easily. This also will make for the best-texture salmon once it’s baked.

The easiest way to reduce the moisture in the salmon is by using paper towels to lightly press down on the fish and pat it dry.

Consider these bamboo paper towels for a more sustainable option! Bamboo naturally regenerates every few months, whereas trees cannot regrow once harvested.

Patting salmon dry before adding marinade
Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture for the best texture on your salmon and to help the marinade and crust adhere to the salmon.

How to Prep Pistachios to Make a Crust for Salmon

Salmon has one of the boldest flavors of any fish! While it’s delicious on its own, there are a number of things you can add to it to bring out its natural flavors and enhance it. Enter: the pistachio parmesan crust!

To make this pistachio crust, you’ll want to break down your pistachios into smaller pieces.

You have a couple of options to do this. You can either use a mortar and pestle to crush them, or you can simply use a sharp knife to chop them.

Ideally, you want some larger chunks and some pistachios that are ground into a fine dust. Both methods should help you achieve this. If the pistachio chunks are too large, they will have a harder time sticking to the salmon to create an outer crust.

Chopping pistachios to make salmon crust
Crush or chop your pistachios into smaller pieces for the crust.

How to Whip Up a Quick Salmon Marinade

Once your pistachios are prepped, you’ll whip up your quick and easy salmon marinade.

All you need is one teaspoon of lemon juice and one tablespoon of Dijon mustard. I love using fresh lemon juice, but you can also use pre-squeezed.

One lemon typically contains about 1/4 cup of lemon juice, so you will need less than one lemon to make this recipe.

I highly recommend using a citrus squeezer to express your lemon juice. This will not only help you get the most juice out of your lemon, but it also will catch the seeds so they don’t fall into your juice.

If you don’t have a citrus squeezer, just make sure to add your lemon juice to the bowl first so you have the opportunity to remove any seeds that fall into the bowl.

Then, add the Dijon mustard to the lemon juice and whisk to combine. Then, set it aside to mix up your pistachio crust.

Squeezing lemon juice into Dijon mustard to make a quick marinade for salmon
Make sure that no lemon seeds fall into your quick lemon-Dijon marinade by using a citrus squeezer.

How to Prepare Your Pistachio Crust

Once your pistachios are chopped or crushed, add them to a bowl with the Parmesan cheese and black pepper.

Mix the three ingredients together well—we want the black pepper distributed as evenly as possible throughout the crust.

Adding Parmsan cheese to pistachios to form crust for salmon
Mix the pistachios, Parmesan, and pepper together until well-combined.

How to Add Your Marinade and Pistachio Crust to Salmon

Once you’ve whipped up your quick-marinade and pistachio-based crust, it’s time to add them to your salmon.

Place your salmon in a medium or large- sized casserole dish skin side down. Use a pastry brush or spoon to add an even layer of the marinade to the salmon.

Then, pour the pistachio mixture on top and use your hands to press it down on top of the salmon and layer of marinade, creating a roughly even layer of the crust on top.

Brushing dijon and lemon marinade onto salmon
Use a pastry brush or spoon to add an even layer of Dijon-lemon marinade on top of the salmon.
Pressing Parmesan and pistachio crust onto salmon
Then, pour the pistachio crust on top and use your hands to spread it around and press down, until you’re left with a roughly even layer of crust on top.

How to Perfectly Bake Pistachio Crusted Salmon

In order to perfectly bake this Pistachio Crusted Salmon, you’ll have to cover the dish for about half of the baking time. Covering the dish with aluminum foil for the first half allows the salmon to cook without the pistachios getting burnt.

Cover the casserole dish completely with a piece of aluminum foil and bake on the top rack for 10 minutes.

Then, remove the aluminum foil and continue to bake without it for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 125°F.

Covering salmon crusted with pistachios with aluminum foil to bake
Cover the dish with aluminum foil for the first ten minutes of baking to avoid the pistachio crust getting burnt.

How to Serve Salmon with Pistachio Crust

This delicious salmon recipe with a crispy outer crust is a great main for a wide variety of sides. Here are some of my favorites to whip up alongside this salmon:

Pistachio Crusted Salmon garnished with basil

How to Properly Store and Reheat Crusted Salmon

Cooked salmon lasts in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat it in the oven at 400°F in a dish covered with aluminum foil for about 15-20 minutes, ensuring the internal temperature reaches at least 145°F.

If you want leftovers to last even longer, you can freeze cooked salmon for up to 6 months. Make sure to check out these detailed instructions for re-freezing cooked salmon

From frozen, thaw the Pistachio Crusted Salmon in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven as instructed above.

Green tip: Always save, reheat, and enjoy your leftovers! Of the billions of pounds of food wasted annually, it is estimated that 50% of it happens in our homes. Let’s do our part to reduce food waste.

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Why You Should Make this 25-Minute Pistachio Crusted Salmon

  • It’s so quick! Ready in less than 30 minutes.
  • It’s packed with flavor. Between the nutty pistachios, Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, and lemon, this recipe brings bold flavor.
  • The textures! Juicy, flaky salmon on the inside and crispy, crunchy pistachio crust on the outside.

If you’re loving this Pistachio Crusted Salmon and want more fish dinners, check out this Blackened Mahi-Mahi and Baked Cod with Panko.

Overhead image of 25-Minute Pistachio Crusted Salmon

25-Minute Pistachio Crusted Salmon

5 from 4 votes
Marley Goldin
This Pistachio Crusted Salmon is juicy & flaky on the inside and nutty & crunchy on the outside, making for a gourmet meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 servings


  • ¼ cup Pistachios (chopped)
  • 10 ounces salmon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ ounce basil (optional for garnish)


  • Preheat your oven to 425°F and chop your pistachios into small pieces.
    Chopped pistachios ready to use in a salmon crust
  • Blot your salmon dry with a paper towel (consider these bamboo paper towels for a more sustainable option). Place the dried salmon, skin down, in a small-medium baking dish and set aside.
    Prepped and Dried Salmon in Baking Dish
  • In a small bowl, mix together your lemon juice and mustard to make a quick marinade.
    Quick lemon and Dijon marinade for salmon
  • Use a spoon or pastry brush to spread an even layer of the marinade on top of the salmon.
    Salmon coated in Dijon mustard and lemon juice
  • To a second small bowl, add the chopped Pistachios, Parmesan, and pepper to a small bowl and combine to form your crust.
    Pistachio Parmesan crust for salmon
  • Then, use clean hands to press a thin layer of the pistachio crust into the Dijon and lemon coated salmon.
    Adding pistachio-based crust to salmon
  • Cover your baking dish completely with tin foil and bake at 425°F for 10 minutes.
    Using aluminum foil to cover Pistachio Crusted Salmon for first half of baking
  • Then, remove the tin foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 125 °F. Garnish with basil (optional) and enjoy hot!
    Almond Crusted Salmon Just Out of the Oven

Pro Tips

  • If using frozen salmon, thaw first by transferring it from the freezer to the refrigerator the day before, or by placing it in a sealed, airtight bag and putting it in a glass of cool water for 30-60 minutes.
  • To make this salmon dairy-free, sub Panko bread crumbs for the Parmesan and add an extra pinch of salt to the crust.
  • If you like salmon, you’ll love this collection of my best salmon recipes!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, Fish Dinner, Pescatarian, Pistachio Crust, Pistachio Crusted Salmon, Salmon, Salmon Dinner, Salmon Recipes
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