Basil salmon boasts rich flavors from a coating of tomato paste, garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, thyme and lemon. The mango adds a lovely sweet and silky garnish.
I like to grill this salmon, but if you don’t have a grill, you can bake it in the oven.
Make it in under 30 minutes for a perfect weeknight meal. Don’t discount it for company though. The salmon with mango with a sprinkle of chopped parsley or other fresh herbs has a lovely presentation.
I love the velvety richness of mango as a garnish. Pineapple would be a great substitute or you can leave it out altogether.
The basil tomato-based sauce is adapted from Once Upon A Chef (with some tiny tweaks) and was originally used for grilled shrimp which I’m sure would be fantastic. It works beautifully with salmon too. In fact, I brought the sauce to a potluck last weekend to use on steak and everyone loved it. And I think it would even be great on pasta.
Tailor It To Your Taste
Try one or more of these variations and substitutes if you like.
- Vary the “heat” by adding more or less red pepper flakes (or leaving them out).
- The original sauce recipe used shallots. I used green onion as I didn’t have any.
- Use pineapple instead of mango.
- Make a mango salsa instead of using plain mango. Or add a splash of lime to the mango.
- Marinating is optional. I’ve tried it with and without marinating and didn’t find a huge difference, especially if you have leftover sauce to serve with the salmon on the side.
Step by step instructions
Best side dishes for salmon
Try one of these simple side dishes that pair well with this basil salmon with mango (or any salmon for that matter): roasted bok choy and broccoli,dressing, green beans with panko crumbs or Grilled Cauliflower.
Or serve with a substantial salad on the side: broccoli and cauliflower salad with avocado, healthy vegetable quinoa salad recipe or party salad with grilled vegetables and quinoa. These salads are all a step up from your regular green or chef salad. Almost like two sides in one.
The rule of thumb for juicy salmon cook time is 10 minutes per inch (2.5cm) of thickness. When pierced with a knife it should separate easily and still be juicy and warm pink inside (not dry and flaky white). It’s ready when it is just turning opaque.
The FDA recommends cooking salmon to 145F/62.8C, but in my opinion (and many others), that is way overcooked. The best internal temperature with an instant read thermometer is 130-135F (54.4-57.2C). The temperature will rise a bit with a 5 minute rest.
Salmon is one of the healthier choices you can make for dinner. Healthline says salmon provides several health benefits and that at least two servings per week can help you meet your nutrient needs and reduce the risk of several diseases.
Here’s a good article on how to cut a mango five ways by Taste of Home.
Instead of grilling, bake the salmon at 425F/218C for about 10-12 minutes (or approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness).
- The sauce can be made a day or two ahead or earlier in the day. The salmon can be made ahead as well to be served cold or at room temperature. I suggest dicing the mango closer to the time of serving.
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Basil Salmon With Mango
- 1 1/4 pounds fresh salmon fillets, skin on (2-3 fillets) (0.57 kg)
- kosher salt and black pepper
- Garnish: one diced ripe mango (and chopped parsley if desired) chopped pineapple can be used instead
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 6 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 large green onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon white or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- HEAT GRILL to medium-high heat. (about 425-475F/218-246C).
- MAKE SAUCE: Place all sauce/marinade ingredients in a food processor and process on high until the sauce is smooth and thick. An immersion blender or blender can be used instead.
- PREPARE SALMON: Sprinkle salmon filets with salt and pepper. Spread about 1/3 of sauce on top and sides of salmon fillets, Optional: Let sit and marinate for 30 minutes.
- GRILL SALMON: Spray tops of salmon well with oil to prevent sticking. For extra assurance, oil the grates using a paper towel dipped in oil (hold it with tongs). Place salmon, flesh side down and cook for 3 minutes with the lid down. Then place skin side down (flip it over) and lower to medium heat if needed, trying to maintain it at 425F/218C. Baste top of the salmon with a tablespoon of sauce. Grill for another 6-9 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon. Don't overcook. It should be slightly warm pink in the thickest part of salmon for medium doneness. An instant or meat thermometer should read 140F/60C (it will increase to 145F/62.8C with resting for 5 minutes).
- TOP WITH MANGO AND SERVE: If removing salmon skin, slip spatula between flesh and skin to lift salmon right off to a platter. Top with diced mango, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with remaining sauce on the side.
- Variations and Substitutions
- Vary the heat by adding more or less red pepper flakes (or leaving them out).
- Substitute green onion with shallots
- Use pineapple instead of mango.
- Make a sweet mango salsa or mango chutney instead of using plain mango.
- Add a splash of lime juice to the mango.
- No grill? Bake instead:
- Bake the salmon at preheated 425F/218C oven on a lined baking sheet for about 10-12 minutes (or approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness).
- Make Ahead:
- The sauce can be made earlier in the day or a day or two ahead, kept in an airtight container in the fridge.
- The salmon can be made ahead if you want to serve it cold or at room temperature.
- I suggest dicing the mango closer to the time of serving so it doesn’t become watery.
- Store leftover salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Basil salmon with mango recipe, originally published in 2018, has been updated with new information and edits.