Meet your new favorite 20-minute method to make a flavorful salmon dinner in one pan on busy weeknights: tender salmon finished in the oven with blistery tomatoes and aromatics! Originally published August 2019. Last updated June 2023.
If you're like me and trying to eat well, workout, stay hydrated, excel at work, keep up with friends and family, let your natural hair flourish, and take care of your mental health--all in 24 hours--then quick meals are key. None of us have hours to whip up multi-course meals on the regular but we can't eat all of our meals out, either. So let's get into this quick and easy weeknight salmon recipe you'll love!
What does it taste like?
This is a light and easy dish but not lacking in flavor. You'll taste tangy, savory, and bright flavor notes from fresh produce like baby tomatoes, lemon, and garlic. There's also a touch of richness from a bit of butter and a subtle touch of spiciness from red pepper.
What You'll Need for this Recipe
Salmon is the star of the show. You can use fresh filets or frozen (and thawed). I've successfully made this recipe with several varieties of salmon, from sockeye to Atlantic, farmed or wild caught.
Tomatoes get blistered and jammy in this recipe for the perfect pairing with the salmon. I like the sweetness of baby tomatoes like cherry or grape in this recipe but you can alternatively cut larger tomatoes into smaller pieces if you prefere.
Garlic cooks down with the tomatoes to infuse them with even more flavor that you'll taste in every bite. Use minced or sliced fresh garlic as first choice or garlic powder as an alternative.
Lemon accompanies seafood for a good reason: it finishes off the dish with brightness and cuts down on any potential fishy taste or smell. Fresh lemon juice is best but if you don't have access to it, concentrated lemon juice will work in a pinch.
Olive Oil and Butter - Why use both olive oil and butter? Each one serves the same purpose but has a different flavor profile. So, when combined, there's no impact on the cooking experience but the flavor is enhanced. The result is rich, aromatic, and slightly earthy. You can use other oils like avocado or grapeseed instead, if needed.
Check out the recipe card below for full ingredient list, measurements, and step-by-step instructions!
More Favorite Easy Seafood Recipes
Tips & Tools
Grab an oven-safe skillet. The whole thing should be metal and able to withstand heat within the 500-degree arena since this we're finishing this salmon in the oven. Cast iron is a safe bet. You'll also need a sharp knife and cutting board.
Can I double this recipe? My tomato salmon skillet doubles or halves easily! To double the recipe, you'll need to cook in two batches.
How to Prepare Salmon for Cooking
Seafood cooks up quickly in comparison to other proteins such as poultry and meat and salmon is no exception. It's best to use fresh salmon, when possible and to let it set out on the counter for a bit in order to reach room temperature before cooking.
To prepare this healthy salmon recipe for summer, start by squeezing a bit of fresh lemon juice over top then season simply with black pepper and sea salt. Now you're ready to cook.
How do I know when the salmon is done?
The most fool-proof way to know when salmon is done is to use a meat thermometer. Salmon is safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The thing is, though, that the temperature of salmon continues to increase for a bit after being removed from heat.
America's Test Kitchen recommends stopping the cooking process at about 125 degrees for this reason. If you don't have a meat thermometer and are unsure, use a knife to separate one filet in the center. It should flake easily and be opaque all the way through.
How to Serve
What sides pair well with salmon? You can toss in other veggies with the tomatoes and even pair your skillet salmon filets with rice to make it a more substantial meal. Here are a few of my favorite pairings.
I hope you'll enjoy and share with your loved ones soon and very soon. And sharing online is also caring so be sure to pin this salmon and baby tomatoes dish for later and follow me over on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
20-Minute Low Carb Salmon Dinner
- 1 knife
- 1 cutting board
- 1 oven-safe skillet
- 1 kitchen spoon
- 1 pint baby tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- crushed red pepper to taste
- 4 4-ounce salmon filets room temperature
- sea salt to taste
- 1 lemon
- black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
- Preheat oven to the broil setting (about 500 degrees). Mince garlic cloves and cut tomatoes into halves then set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat (about one minute. Add garlic, tomatoes, and crushed red pepper to skillet and cook until tomatoes begin to break down and garlic becomes fragrant (about three minutes).
- While tomatoes and garlic cook, season salmon with sea salt, black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Push tomatoes to the perimeter of the skillet, leaving space in the center. Add butter to center of pan and allow to melt (about 45 seconds).
- Add salmon to pan on top of melted butter and cook until edges start to become opaque (about 3 minutes).
- Transfer pan to preheated oven and roast salmon for about eight minutes or until salmon is opaque and cooked through, and tomatoes are blistered. For safe consumption, the internal temperature of the salmon should reach 145 degrees. If you don't have a meat thermometer and are unsure, use a knife to separate one filet in the center. It should flake easily and be opaque.
- Serve salmon and tomatoes over a bed of fresh spinach.