Salmon with Pesto and Cream Cheese

This is an easy and delicious way to serve salmon. I prefer to use homemade pesto, which has fewer calories and less fat than store-bought pesto. This pesto recipe makes more than what you will use for the salmon; keep it refrigerated or freeze it for later use. To toast the pine nuts or almonds, just place a dry skillet over high heat, add the nuts and stir often for about 3 minutes or until they are lightly browned.

RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cook¬ing spray.

2. For the pesto, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and purée until smooth. Add more water if too thick.

3. Combine the cream cheese and pesto in a small bowl until smooth.

4. Make a small vertical slit on the top of each salmon fillet to within 1/4 inch of each end and about 1/2 inch deep. Stuff each fillet by dividing the pesto filling between the 6 fillets.

5. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

6. Garnish with toasted nuts before serving.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 lb salmon fillet, cut into 6 fillets (about 4 oz each)
1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese (about 2 oz), softened
2 Tbsp pesto
2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts (or chopped toasted almonds)

PESTO:
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 Tbsp light cream cheese, softened
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
3 Tbsp chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water)
2 Tbsp olive oil

NOTES
Nutritional Analysis per Serving (salmon)

Calories 241
Protein 27 g
Fat 13 g
Saturated Fat 2.8 g
Carbohydrates 1 g
Cholesterol 77 mg
Sodium 108 mg
Fiber 0.2 g

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (pesto – 1 tbsp)
Calories 41
Protein 1 g
Fat 3.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Carbohydrates 0.6 g
Cholesterol 2 mg
Sodium 22 mg
Fiber 0.2 g

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

Make Ahead: Make the stuffing up to 2 days in advance.

Serves 6

Nutrition Watch: Make store-bought pesto lighter by adding some mayonnaise or sour cream or thin the pesto using stock.

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