Pink Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Pesto

4.2 (37)
Pink Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Pesto

Canned wild salmon is the base for these fast, delicious salmon cakes. Serve them over mixed greens or with sauteed bell peppers and a piece of toasty focaccia.

Yield: 4 servings, 1 cake & about 3 tablespoons pesto each
Active Time: 35
Total Time: 35


Salmon Cakes

  • 2 6- to 7-ounce cans boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon, drained
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 4 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. To prepare salmon cakes: Flake salmon into a bowl, removing any small bones or skin. Cut lemon in half; juice one half and cut the other half into 4 wedges. Add the lemon juice, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, chopped cilantro and mace (or nutmeg) to the bowl. Mix gently with your fingers until well combined. Form into 4 patties 1 inch thick (use a scant 1/2 cup for each). Let sit for about 5 minutes to let the breadcrumbs absorb the flavor.
  2. To prepare pesto: Meanwhile, place oil, almonds and garlic in a blender and pulse to combine. With the blender on medium speed, begin to add cilantro, a handful at a time. Continue, scraping down the sides, until all the leaves are pureed and you have a thick paste. Season with salt and set aside.
  3. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add the salmon cakes and cook, gently turning halfway through, until golden on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes total. Adjust the heat and reshape the cakes as necessary.
  4. Serve the salmon cakes with the pesto and a wedge of lemon.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate pesto for up to 1 week.
  • Tip: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian’s brand, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.


Nutrition Per Serving

calories 302
fat 22 g (3 g sat, 12 g mono)
cholesterol 33 mg
carbohydrates 8 g
protein 18 g
fiber 1 g
sodium 469 mg
potassium 146 mg

Nutrition Bonus Vitamin C (24% daily value), omega-3s

Carbohydrate Serving 1/2

Exchanges 1/2 starch, 2 lean meat, 3 fat

From EatingWell March/April 2012