Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon

Today I’m sharing one of our daughter’s favorite recipes, Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon, in honor of her last year in our home before heading off to college. This is for you, Abigail Ellen Rose!

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. -G.K. Chesterton

Letting go is harder than I thought it would be. Our youngest will be graduating high school in a few short months, and as the letting go process dances around in my mind, I try not to let it get out of hand. The reality of not having our little girl in our home this next fall is rather painful. It was easier letting the boys head off to college, but for some reason, I’m not ready to let go of our little Abby.

Earlier this week on a sunny afternoon, Abby and I decided to head out and grab a salad for dinner. Sweet, precious mother daughter times I will cherish forever! We have fun together, laugh a lot.


Abby’s had her share of disappointments in life, one being her love for soccer ending with a torn ACL her sophomore year. She was exquisite on the soccer field, confident and fearless. But her love and dreams were dashed when she ended her soccer life of 10 years.

Olivia Leigh Photography

The violin.

Then this beautiful instrument enters the scene: The violin.

The violin has always been there for Abby. You see, she started playing at age 3 1/2, Suzuki Method … all the Twinkle variations, recitals, weekly lessons, talent shows, playing on Mexico mission trips, concerts, busking on street corners, and eventually playing at Carnegie Hall in NYC. Learning to play by ear was a true gift–doing something bigger than herself, using it as a gift to bless others–but it also became a hinderance, as reading music was a challenge (Suzuki Method).

Music comes naturally for many, but it takes pure discipline to become as good as you want to be.

The loss.

Losing soccer was a hard thing for Abby, wishing things would be different, and mourning the loss. We saw weak smiles (it’s hard to be happy for your teammates), tears, frustrations, but she leaned in.

She leaned in! She learned to turn her heart upward, to be genuinely happy for others, with a new brightness each day.

It’s very hard to give up, let go, and give up your plans for good. But when we do, something always fills that void, as we take the hard faith one day at a time.


You wake up each morning, you give it up all over again, you look up rather than down, and then you grow a little more.

Now there’s excitement in her voice–a change is coming, new dreams are forming, there’s a brighter side tomorrow.

College is right around the corner …

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. -G.K. Chesterton

Olivia Leigh Photography

One of our favorite songs Abby plays is Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It’s such a classic, so simple, yet so lovely. (Here’s the link a few years ago playing while preparing for Carnegie Hall.)

She also has a tradition of playing Lullaby at night for her dad, just because he’s asked her to since she was about 5 years old (and she could actually play it).

Olivia Leigh Photography


So as parents, it’s our turn to lean in, smile, give thanks for the hard times, and thanks for the beauty and grace that our daughter bestows.

A kind of grace that comes from looking up, and not missing out on the miracle of today!

Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon

Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon.

Now for the salmon. One of Abby’s favorites.

Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon

Crush pistachios and add brown sugar, lemon juice, and seasonings.

Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon

One of my favorite tools in my kitchen is a small mini processor. Perfect for nuts!

Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon

Line the pan with parchment paper, then salmon. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon

Spread the delicious topping. Bake and enjoy.

Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon

Seriously, I sometimes wish that life would be as simple as making salmon!

It’s great to tie in a good recipe with a rather serious season of life. I also love how the food colors are coordinated so perfectly (greens and blues) with the beautiful photography from Abby’s friend, Olivia, at Olivia Leigh Photography, who graciously allowed us to use these pictures today! (Thank you, Olivia!)

Let me know if you try this salmon this weekend. It’s our family favorite, so easy, and great for company, too!

What’s your favorite method of making salmon– bake, broil, poach, or barbecue? 

Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon

Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon

This 30-minute salmon is very simple and fresh and perfect to serve to company! Don’t overcook the salmon. Use the back of a spatula to press down on the salmon to feel if it’s cooked. If the spongy feeling is gone, and the salmon is firm, then it is cooked!


  • 1.5-2 lb. salmon fillet or 6 salmon fillets (7 ounces each)
  • 1 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. dill weed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • Sea salt



Place the salmon on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Pat salmon fillets with paper towel to remove any excess water.

Chop or crush the nuts; add the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Spread over the salmon.

Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes or until the fish is done.

Remove from the oven immediately and serve.

All images and text ©

Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon

24 comments on “Baked Pistachio Lemon Salmon”

  1. I never cook salmon because I live in the South. You can not get it fresh here, but it looks so delicious and I would love to try some of your recipes.

    • You could also make this with frozen (defrosted) fillets, Beth. Give it a try!!

    • Do you have Trader Joe’s?  There frozen salmon is some of the freshest (flash frozen on board after catch) and best priced anywhere.  Just a thought!

  2. YUM! Hugs to you as your go in to the final months of her HS years. I have 2 more years to go with our youngest. As of now she probably plans to stay local for school so will probably stay at home, but you never know what will happen.

    I love doing salmon many ways…but I do think on the grill is my fave!

  3. You have a wonderful family. I’m glad she has the violin and college just around the corner. I don’t look forward to the “empty nest” but I know it is what they must do.

  4. I love this post! Now that Jordan is at double digits…18 is looming. When she was an infant it seem SO far away. Now? Too close!

  5. I miss my girls, oh how I miss my girls! Our youngest is now a sophomore in college, but the photo of me wedged in the tiny closet in her first dorm room still represents my desire to be tucked in her pocket most days. And at the same time, my own wings have begun to spread a little more as I reach toward my own dreams, anew. It is bittersweet. Grief and gratefulness all intertwined and messy this letting go process, and yet so worth seeing them flourish and grow and become (and us too).

  6. Love this :) I used to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow for my parents all the time growing up! There’s something about it that makes it so special :)

  7. Such a beautiful post Sandy. My oldest is starting preschool in the fall and I’m getting ready to wean Jacob from nursing. Bittersweet moments in life. <3

  8. So beautiful and heart fulfilling was this post. The love you have with your Family really shines in your blog and I truly enjoy reading ALL you have to say. Your Family is soooo Blessed!
    Also, I and my family enjoy the results of your recipes. This one is going to be great. Thank you so much, P

  9. Just subscribed to your blog.. What a great entry!!! Loved reading about your family and this pistachio salmon.. I’m definitely going to try this Lenten season… Looking forward to trying this

  10. Abby plays a lullaby each night for her daddy? Precious. What a beautiful post, Sandy. Lean in…I like that.

  11. I made your pistachio lime baked salmon last night and it was a huge hit. Rave reviews from all around the table. Will become a staple recipe on rotation in my home. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Made this tonight. I have made fish only a handful of times in my life because it scares me and I generally don’t love it. But I am looking to branch out and be healthier. I came across this recipe on Pinterest and tried it out right away. It was delicious! It was very easy aside from shelling all the pistachios (I couldn’t find any pre-shelled in the store, unfortunately) and even that was not hard-just annoyingly tedious. I had more than enough to freeze half my salmon and make it again later in the week for an easy, quick, and healthy dinner! 

  13. This looks out of this world!!  We eat quite a bit of salmon. Have you made this with any other fish such as cod or halibut?  I’m anxious to try this!

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