This pepita crusted salmon recipe is fast and easy with minimal ingredients. Fresh salmon fillet is topped with dijon mustard, and coated in crushed pumpkin seeds for a delicious healthy salmon salmon!
Baked crusted salmon is the perfect alternative for those who cannot use pecans or nuts, but still packs a ton of flavor. Pumpkin seeds are full of nutrients that are optimal for brain health like magnesium, a natural source of tryptophan, and antioxidants.
Don't skip serving this with delicious side dishes like roasted mashed cauliflower or a burrata salad.
Pepita Crusted Salmon
Finding a fish recipe that's not nut-crusted in some way is really challenging! Since it's one of my personal migraine triggers, I started experimenting with seed crusted salmon recipes.
This recipe is so quick and easy, it's perfect for a weeknight meal. Pepitas, which are shelled pumpkin seeds, are lightly toasted and ground with a little bit of garlic. They provide a perfect crunch to the buttery salmon and pair so well with dijon. You'll love this recipe because:
- Great for brain health - Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium as well as healthy fats, fiber, and have anti-inflammatory properities.
- Fits lots of diets - This pepita crusted salmon is migraine diet friendly, Whole30, paleo, low carb, and low sodium.
- 20 minute meal - One of my favorite quick and easy recipes!
- Salmon - Choose a center-cut, even piece or have the fishmonger cut it into individual portions for you. Farmed salmon usually has a lighter, more buttery flavor where wild salmon has a stronger, more fishy flavor. Generally I prefer the taste of farmed, but the health benefits are greater with wild salmon. A good compromise is finding sustainably farmed salmon, like Verlasso or Fish Fixe.
- Garlic - Highly recommend fresh over dried for this recipe.
- Dijon mustard - Use one without wine or sulfites if following a migraine diet.
- Pepitas - These are just a type of pumpkin seed without the shell. You can buy them p unsalted and pre-roasted, which will cut out an extra step here.
- Sumac - Sumac is a tangy spice that's used in Mediterranean cooking. It adds a lemony flavor without using lemon. If you cannot locate it, omit it from the recipe or try another favorite spice like paprika.
How to Make Baked Crusted Salmon
This pepita crusted salmon is ready in just a few easy steps. Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Toast the pepitas - If you cannot locate pre-roasted, unsalted pepitas, you can toast them easily in the oven or a dry pan over medium low heat.
- Prepare the salmon - Add toasted pepitas to a small food processor (or chop them very small with a chefs knife), and combine with garlic and sumac. Pat the salmon fillets dry and place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Spread the tops of the fillets with dijon, then sprinkle on the pepita mixture.
- Bake - Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-20 minutes, or until the salmon has cooked through to your liking. Smaller, thinner fillets will take less time to cook.
While I think these flavors are best with salmon, here are a few substitution ideas.
Salmon - Can be replaced with halibut.
Pumpkin seeds - Can be replaced for sesame seeds or sunflower seeds.
Sumac - Substitute lemon juice if not following a migraine diet.
Crusted baked salmon will store well in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I do not recommend freezing, especially since most salmon has been previously frozen.
Reheat in the microwave or gently warm in the oven.
Typically I serve this recipe with a base that's soft and creamy plus a salad or roasted vegetable. Some ideas are:
- Mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus
- Whipped parsnips (page 183 of The Dizzy Cook)
- Mashed roasted cauliflower
- Boursin pasta
- Apple Fennel Salad
- Caprese Salad without Tomatoes
Healthy Salmon Recipes
For more healthy salmon recipes like this pepita crusted salmon, check out these posts:
If you make any of my recipes, don’t forget to tag me #thedizzycook or @thedizzycook on Facebook and Instagram. And please leave a review below!
Pepita Crusted Salmon
- 1 pound salmon fillets
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
- ⅓ cup pepitas
- 1½ tablespoons dijon mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon ground sumac
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and pat salmon fillets dry on each side, then place them on a baking sheet (I use parchment paper underneath for easy clean up). In a small pan, add pepitas in a single layer. Toast over medium heat until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes or toast in the oven while pre-heating. Remove from heat and roughly chop or pulse in a small food processor till it forms into small crumbs.
- Add chopped pepitas with minced garlic and sumac, and stir to combine. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and then spread dijon mustard on top of each filet. Gently press the pepita mixture on top of each salmon. The dijon should hold most of the topping.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F, depending on the size of your salmon fillet. Mine was about 1½" and took 18-20 minutes for medium. Serve immediately.
- This really serves 2-3 people depending on how large you like your fillets to be.
- For those on a migraine diet, look for sulfite-free/wine-free dijon mustard like Annie's Naturals.
- Pepitas are a type of pumpkin seed that you can find pre-roasted and unsalted. If you do, you can skip roasting it in the oven or pan.
This post was originally published October 18, 2018 and has been updated February 2023 with new photos, tips, and serving suggestions.
Love love love this recipe! I used trout because it is more readily available as a locally sourced fish but I often use trout for salmon recipes. This was so easy to make and a huge hit with the family. It is now added to our regular rotation. Thanks so much.
Deb Ritter says
This sounds absolutely amazing but I cannot eat mustard - Dijon, yellow, brown or spicy. Is there anything that can be substituted for the Dijon? Can you use a lemon butter or lemon mayonnaise glaze?
Oh darn! I'd probably try mayonnaise and garlic for sort of an aioli spread but I haven't tested that yet. If you're following a migraine diet, lemon isn't a part of the initial elimination but if you're not, i would definitely add that!
I have never cooked salmon. It was absolutely amazing!!!!!
Salmon is my favorite fish. This is such a fresh take and the crunch is great. I love the mustard flavor in combination with the fish. Will definitely be doing this again.