Salmon with Homemade Vegan Pesto

It’s salmon season—which means blogs and food writers and even your next-door neighbor, all have their take on what makes a great recipe for grilling (or baking, poaching, broiling) salmon.

Oh snap … are you visiting this blog because it focuses on plant-based cooking and living an eco-friendly lifestyle? Chill peeps … you came to the right place, keep reading …

I can just hear people swapping ideas they found on Pinterest or in a food-centered magazine. But, when it comes to cooking fresh salmon like the salmon from Alaska’s pristine Prince William Sound and the Copper River, there’s no need to search the internet for recipes. Just keep it simple and either grill or bake with a touch of homemade, vegan pesto. A dollop (or five) atop grilled salmon, or stirred into an accompanied pasta dish, asparagus or fresh cucumbers, lends a distinctive flavor … one that quite possibly might require the licking of one’s plate when finished. Or at the very least, using a crusty piece of bread to soak up the remaining pesto. But hey, if you want to lick your plate, you go right ahead—I’m not here to judge ; )

Grilled Salmon (or any fish)

  1. Make a tinfoil “boat” by folding edges up on all four sides. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a seaworthy boat, it just needs to keep its shape while perched on your counter and your grill.
  2. Put a few slices of butter (vegan or otherwise), lemon and a little white wine in the “boat.” Place you fish, skin-side down, on top of the butter and wine. IF YOU WANT you can add a few fresh herbs but it’s entirely up to you. If I have them, I add them, if I don’t … right, you guessed it, I don’t.
  3. Transport your vessel (I’m loaded with puns today) to the grill and cook, lid closed, over medium heat for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your filet. As a general rule of thumb, 7-8 minutes per 1-inch thickness will give you a medium-well finish. Note, DO NOT flip your fish … I mean you can, but why bother when you don’t need to?? Simplicity peeps … that’s what we’re aiming for.

Baked Salmon (or any fish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom of oven-safe dish and place salmon skin-side down. Sprinkle with seasoning. Place butter pads evenly over fish and interspersed lemon slices. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Done!

Now, about that whole plant-based thing …

Yes, Gastro Gabe and I follow a plant-based diet. key word, “based.” Most of what we eat (at home or otherwise) is derived from plants BUT we do flex our flexitarian muscles every now and then to include other foods. Not a lot, but other foods nonetheless. Want an exact percentage of what we eat that isn’t derived from a plant? Want to know what we “deem” acceptable? It’s really not science, but it’s what works for us … read more on being a flexitarian.

Read more about salmon including information on the farm-raised vs wild-caught debate, how best to cook it at home, what to look for when purchasing in the grocery store, as well as an informative guide on the different types “floating” around the marketplace.

Getting Hooked on Salmon

Alaska’s Prince William Sound is home to the Copper River—a glacial-fed river with a nearly 35-mile-wide gorge where the river dumps over 500,000 cubic feet of water per second into the Gulf of Alaska, and where thousands of young salmon leave their birthplace in the Copper to feed at sea for the next few years. Then, some two to seven years later, the now-adult salmon leave the Gulf to make their 300-mile-long journey home to spawn—an arduous task fueled by their high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, an inimitable trait that makes salmon, especially those from the Copper River, one of the most coveted of all seafoods, worldwide … READ MORE

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