Who doesn’t love pesto?
It’s fresh, it’s savory, and it’s delicious.
And when you combine pesto with salmon, you get a meal that is so light and yummy.
But what should you serve it with?
When it comes to pairing with pesto salmon, there are a few delicious side dishes to serve.
For starters, pasta dishes are always a good choice.
The addition of pesto to pasta gives the dish a fresh flavor and texture that goes perfectly with the salmon.
The second option is a simple potato dish.
The sweet and tangy flavor of the pesto will compliment the sweetness of the salmon, making for a flavorful dinner.
The third option is a salad. This dish will give you a chance to showcase the flavors of the pesto and salmon.
The fresh vegetables will provide a nice crunch, while the pesto will add that extra punch.
However, there are many options to choose from!
And we’ve got you covered: here are 15 easy sides to serve with your pesto salmon.
What to Serve with Pesto Salmon: 15 Easy Sides
Pesto is one of those magical foods that goes with just about everything.
It’s a classic Italian sauce made with basil, olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts.
Very rarely do you ever see a dish that is NOT enhanced by pesto.
And when you add a side dish into the mix, you have the makings of an awesome meal!
Here are 15 easy sides that would go great with pesto salmon:
1. Garlic Bread
Garlic bread is the perfect complement to this dish because the crumbly texture of the bread contrasts brilliantly with the soft and buttery salmon.
It’s one of my favorite salmon sides.
The flavor combination is also a classic for a reason; it’s just delicious!
Here are some tips for serving garlic bread with your delicious pesto salmon:
- Make sure the garlic bread is warm and crispy. If it’s cold or soggy, it’ll take away from the whole experience and you won’t enjoy it nearly as much.
- Be careful not to overpower the salmon with garlic bread, since the dish is already packed with flavor and texture. Just a little bit goes a long way.
- If you’re serving this at dinner to guests, let them know they can add toppings like Parmesan cheese to their garlic bread if they want to get extra fancy!
Here’s a quick way to make it:
- Add butter, salt and garlic powder to your pan and heat on low.
- Put your bread in the pan and cook until golden brown.
- Turn off the heat and add parmesan cheese and chopped parsley to the top of your bread, then serve!
2. Green Beans
When serving a main dish, it’s always good to have a side dish that provides a nice balance of flavor and textures.
Green beans are a great option for this.
They’re crunchy, starchy, and slightly bitter, which is the perfect counterpoint to the rich, creamy pesto salmon.
Green beans can be served raw or cooked, but cooking them will make them much easier to digest for those with sensitive stomachs.
If you choose to roast your green beans, you’ll want to toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper before popping them directly into the oven (no need for a pan).
Cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes.
If you don’t want to wash dishes after dinner, you can put your green beans directly on foil in the oven and just throw away the foil when they’re done cooking!
This works best with uncut green beans.
Cutting your green beans into bite-sized pieces before roasting will reduce the cooking time even further—but remember that you’ll need more time if you decide to cook whole green beans.
3. Grilled Zucchini
If you’re trying to find a way to get your whole family eating a balanced meal, try grilling up some zucchini—a veggie that’s easy to prepare and packed with nutrients.
Not only is grilled zucchini delicious, but it’s also packed with vitamins C and A, folate and potassium.
This makes it an excellent side dish for any kind of meal—but especially one as good at pesto salmon!
The smoky flavor of grilled zucchini balances out the rich taste of pesto salmon, creating a meal everyone will love.
Getting your kids to eat their veggies has never been easier with grilled zucchini.
- All you need is some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), salt, pepper, zucchini, and a grill or grill pan!
- Make sure to slice the zucchini into rounds before tossing it in the olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side until tender and lightly charred.
4. Fruit Salad
One of the best side dishes to serve with this meal is fruit salad.
The fresh fruit in the salad contrasts nicely with the saltiness of the salmon and pesto.
If you’re using a sweeter variety of pesto, like basil or coriander, you can also try adding a dash of lemon juice to your fruit salad for an extra bit of tang.
Serve this dish as an appetizer for a weekday dinner for two, or as an entrée at a weekend brunch. Either way, it’s sure to please everyone!
5. Roasted Red Potatoes
Roasted red potatoes are easy-to-prepare and go great with this meal.
Plus, you can roast them in the same oven at the same time as your salmon.
Just be sure to cut them into small pieces so that they cook completely in the approximately 15 minutes it will take for your salmon to cook.
This side dish can also be made ahead of time, which will make your meal prep even easier.
A nice finishing touch is to sprinkle fresh herbs over these roasted red potatoes right before serving.
Fresh parsley or tarragon goes really well with this dish, though you should feel free to experiment with other fresh herbs as well.
6. Tomato Basil Soup
Tomato basil soup is so easy to make and tastes great with pesto (and salmon too), but you’d never know it from how simple it is!
- To make this soup, simply chop some fresh tomatoes and throw those in a slow cooker with some broth, garlic powder, onion powder, and some dried basil.
- Set the slow cooker on low for 4 hours and then let it cool slightly before pureeing it in a blender until smooth.
You probably already have most of these ingredients at home—and if not, they’re super cheap to buy at the store!
7. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a classic side dish that goes well with almost any main course.
The creamy texture and fluffy consistency of mashed potatoes are especially good for soaking up the rich, nutty flavor of pesto salmon.
To make sure your meal is balanced, try adding some vegetables to your mashed potatoes.
Spinach is a great addition—adding flavor and nutrients while also making the dish look a little more colorful.
If you’re not that into spinach, mashed potatoes go great with a ton of other veggies too: green beans, carrots, or mushrooms are also perfect compliments to salmon.
8. Cauliflower Rice Risotto
Cauliflower Rice Risotto is a great side dish, because not only is it super delicious, but it also helps you eat right.
Cauliflower rice is a popular alternative to regular white rice—it’s just as tasty, but it’s healthier and has more nutrients.
If you’re serving pesto salmon, then Cauliflower Rice Risotto will complete the meal perfectly—both dishes are easy to prepare and light on the palate.
The flavors and colors of the two dishes complement each other beautifully.
One tip: when making Cauliflower Rice Risotto, make sure to chop up the cauliflower before putting it in the food processor—a whole chunk of cauliflower won’t blend as well.
9. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Baked Sweet Potato Fries have got just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the saltiness of the salmon, and they’ve got that same sunny yellow color that pairs so well with the green sauce on top.
The best part is that they are easy to whip up while your salmon bakes away in the oven, so you can get all your prep done at once!
When you’re baking these up, we recommend using olive oil instead of avocado oil (although both would work), since olive oil has a higher smoke point and will therefore be less likely to burn in your oven.
We also recommend using russet potatoes over sweet potatoes for this one… but that’s just because we’re totally obsessed with sweet potatoes.
10. Quinoa Salad
The beauty of this side dish is that it comes together quickly, since most of the ingredients are just raw veggies.
The crunchy, fresh taste works really well with salmon, especially if you have some extra pesto sauce left over.
- You can make this quinoa salad up to three days in advance, so it takes the stress out of meal prep.
- This versatile dish goes well with just about any type of protein—it’s got a great balance of flavors and textures.
- If you’re making this for a large family get-together, you can easily double the recipe.
To prepare quinoa salad, follow these steps:
- Rinse quinoa thoroughly. This is important because quinoa has a natural coating that can make your mouth feel gritty if you don’t rinse it off before cooking.
- Combine 1 cup dry quinoa with 2 cups water in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork, let it cool for 5 minutes and then add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Add any other ingredients you like, such as chopped tomatoes or cucumbers—or anything else you have on hand!
- Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator until ready to eat!
11. Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan Cheese
Roasted broccoli with parmesan cheese is about to become your favorite new side.
The great thing about roasted broccoli is that it’s easy to throw together and cook alongside any main—and in the case of pesto salmon, the baking time is the same!
That means you don’t have to start cooking one before the other: just pop them both in at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes and dinner is served!
And once it’s cooked, you can serve this roasted broccoli with parmesan cheese plain or season it up however you want.
My personal favorite is red pepper flakes and salt—the heat really compliments the salty umami of that delicious parm!
12. Rice Pilaf (with Mushrooms)
Rice is a great pairing for salmon and pesto because it has a mild flavor and can absorb the richness of the fish and sauce.
But adding mushrooms gives this dish a little kick—and that’s key because pesto salmon is on the rich side, so you need an umami boost to balance things out.
And here’s a tip: don’t skimp on the mushrooms! You want at least one mushroom per bite of salmon.
13. Dinner Rolls
Dinner rolls are like bread buns, but they have a softer texture than your typical bun and are often made in smaller sizes.
They often have a bit of butter or oil on top, which gives them the characteristic shiny, golden-brown color.
They’re easy to make from scratch (check out this recipe), but for this meal you can use store-bought ones.
Don’t worry: we don’t judge!
When you’re making dinner rolls at home, you can pull out the steamer about ten minutes before the salmon is ready to come out of the oven.
The rolls will be ready just in time for dinner!
If you’re using store-bought rolls, just pop them into the oven five minutes before the end of cooking time for your salmon.
14. Couscous Salad
This light, fresh side dish is the perfect complement to the rich flavor of salmon.
Look for a recipe that includes mint leaves and lemon juice—these flavors will freshen up your meal without overwhelming or clashing with the taste of your main course.
One thing to watch out for: make sure the ingrediants in your couscous salad don’t include high-fat ingredients like nuts, cheese, or mayonnaise.
These flavors can be too heavy alongside salmon, so look for a recipe that’s focused on vegetables and herbs.
15. Caprese Salad
Ever thought to serve your salmon with a side of caprese salad?
We love this pairing for a few reasons.
First, it’s such a low-effort side dish—all you have to do is slice up some tomatoes and mozzarella, stick some basil between them, and drizzle with olive oil before sprinkling on salt and pepper.
The tomatoes add a great freshness to the finished meal that really complements the fish.
It’s also got a good balance of carbs and protein with the pasta and cheese, so you can feel good about serving it to your family.
We recommend using cherry tomatoes because they’re easy to slice in half, plus they’re nice and colorful.
If you want to go even more traditional, use balsamic vinegar instead of olive oil as your dressing.
3 Benefits of Serving Side Dishes with Pesto Salmon
Pesto salmon is a delicious, easy dish to make.
However, like most main dishes, it’s easy to serve it on a plate and call it a day.
Why not take the time to make side dishes that will complement your pesto salmon, though?
Here are three benefits of serving side dishes with your pesto salmon:
1. You’ll Get More Nutrients Into Your Diet
Adding a variety of vegetables will help you increase the amount of nutrition you get from your meal.
Even if you add just one new vegetable per week, you’ll be adding vitamins and minerals into your diet that can help keep you healthy.
You don’t even need to go crazy!
Try adding green beans or broccoli to your plate for an easy way to get vegetables in.
2. By Choosing Different Vegetables Every Week, You’ll Add Variety to Your Diet
Eating the same thing over and over again can become boring.
By choosing different vegetables to serve as sides each week, you’ll add variety to your meals without having to do anything drastic.
3. It’s Easy to Mix-And-Match
Pesto salmon is already delicious on its own.
The beauty of this dish is that it works as well with other flavors as it does on its own!
If you want to add some spice, try it with a side of rice pilaf or broccoli and cheese dip, or get some extra sweetness by adding some sweet potato fries and cornbread.
No matter what, there’s an option that will work for you.
What to Serve with Pesto Salmon: 15 Easy Sides
- Garlic Bread
- Green Beans
- Grilled Zucchini
- Fruit Salad
- Roasted Red Potatoes
- Tomato Basil Soup
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Cauliflower Rice Risotto
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Quinoa Salad
- Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan Cheese
- Rice Pilaf (with Mushrooms)
- Dinner Rolls
- Couscous Salad
- Caprese Salad
- Pick one of the sides on this list to serve with your tasty salmon dinner.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Enjoy your meal in less than 20 minutes!