Pink Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Pesto

Pink Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Pesto

6 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2012

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.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
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  • Salmon Cakes
  • 2 6- to 7-ounce cans boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon, drained
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Pesto
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 4 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Active

  • Ready In

  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 ½ 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.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate pesto for up to 1 week.
  • 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 ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs or about ⅓ cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian's brand, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1 cake & about 3 tablespoons pesto
  • Per serving: 303 calories; 22 g fat(3 g sat); 1 g fiber; 8 g carbohydrates; 18 g protein; 15 mcg folate; 33 mg cholesterol; 1 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 1,203 IU vitamin A; 8 mg vitamin C; 52 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 469 mg sodium; 148 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (24% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: ½ starch, 2 lean meat, 3 fat

Reviews 6

August 22, 2017
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By: suitske
Don't remove the bones from the canned salmon; they are very soft and rich in calcium (just mash them with a fork). This is an excellent use of canned salmon.
July 28, 2012
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By: allyssabidwell
So Yummy :) Didn't change a thing! Lots of flavor and so easy. Will be making this recipe again and again!!
June 24, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Very good flavor I tried this recipe and followed it to the letter and it was very good. I may try Greek plain yogurt instead of mayo next time as another commenter suggested. The pesto was very good. We have plenty of cilantro in our garden so I had to give this a try. I could probably use walnuts as someone suggested or pine nuts if I didn't have the almonds on hand for the pesto. This recipe can easily be doubled to make good use of all the pesto. I'll definitely make this again. Pros: healthy and nutritious Cons: none
April 14, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Awesome recipe! WOW! Oh my gosh! This recipe is delicious. I made it exactly according to the recipe, but used regular bread crumbs because I couldn't find whole wheat ones in the store. I served it over sauted red & yellow peppers. It was FANTASTIC! Will make it again. Felt like we were eating in a swank restaurant! Thanks! Pros: Delicious & healthy Cons: Took awhile to clean stem the cilantro
April 03, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Yummy! And easy! I made this recipe last night for my husband, who loves salmon cakes. I've made another recipe before from fresh salmon, but it took forever and they weren't that good. These took me longer than 35 mins, but they were really easy and delicious! I was skeptical of the cilantro pesto, but it was delicious! I highly recommend this recipe. My changes: * I added sauteed, finely chopped onions to the cakes. I add onion to pretty much everything and it added a nice crunch to the cakes. * I added salt and pepper to the cakes to our taste. * I doubled the recipe which was good, so we got lunch out of it too. Made 11 good sized cakes. * I used walnuts instead of almonds for the pesto (it was delicious!) I also added lime juice as I felt it needed the acid. And I used a ton of garlic. I think I also had to add water as mine was too thick, but I didn't really measure my ingredients. * I did not need egg to bind the cakes, they were fine with just the mayo. We will definitely be making these again! Pros: Pretty fast, healthy
March 09, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
We loved this one. The pesto sauce was perfect with salmon patties. Who would have thought? I used non fat Greek yogurt in place of mayo, added an egg to help keep it all together and cooked them in olive oil instead of butter. It worked! Ilene
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