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Easy One-Skillet Creamy Tuscan Salmon

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By: The Real Food Dietitians Posted: 2/4/22

A visit to Tuscany is a foodie’s dream come true. But with this simple 25-minute recipe, you can experience the delectable flavors of this famous Italian region right in the comfort of your own home. Our easy skillet recipe not only cooks quickly right in one pan, but it features a creamy vege-licious sauce for salmon that we know you’re going to love. Crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy this simple yet elevated Tuscan Salmon recipe tonight.

Overhead view of creamy tuscan salmon with artichokes in a cast iron skillet.

Easy Dinner & The best sauce for salmon

Perfect skillet-cooked salmon nestles into a bed of creamy sun-dried tomato sauce enriched with spinach, artichokes, garlic, shallot, and paprika. You’ll find all the Italian flavors you love in this healthy salmon dinner that is just as perfect for date-night-in as it is for a quick weeknight meal. You can get this Tuscan Salmon Recipe on the table in less than 30 minutes.

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Ingredients to make creamy tuscan Salmon

Here are the fresh ingredients to gather. In addition to these, you’ll need nonstick cooking spray:

  • Salmon fillets – select skin-on salmon fillets that are 4-5 ounces each
  • Olive oil – you’ll use 2 teaspoons of olive oil to cook the salmon and another 1 teaspoon of olive oil for the sauce for salmon; you can also use avocado oil
  • Shallot – you can also use 1/4 cup of finely chopped white or yellow onion
  • Artichoke hearts – use one can of artichoke heart quarters, drained and cut in half
  • Sun-dried tomatoes – grab a jar or can of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil; if you can’t find sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, you can use some that are not packed in oil (i.e. dry), slice them and then soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes to soften, then drain before using
  • Garlic – you’ll need 4 cloves or about 1 1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic; you can also use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • Fresh spinach – pick up one 5-ounce bag of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Half and half – for dairy-free, you can substitute plain, unsweetened liquid non-dairy creamer 
  • Paprika
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Lemon wedges
  • Fine salt and black pepper
Overhead view of all ingredients for Skillet Creamy Tuscan Salmon arranged together in small bowls and one plate.

Tip!

The Best Seafood Choices for Health

Confused about which fish and shellfish are the best choices when it comes to your health and the environment? Check out this post to read our tips on how to choose safe seafood.

how to make creamy tuscan salmon

This salmon recipe cooks entirely in one skillet and can be on your table in less than 30 minutes. Here are the quick steps to make it tonight:

  1. Prep the salmon: Pat the salmon dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook the salmon: Cook the salmon in a large skillet that has been misted with non-stick cooking spray and has 2 teaspoons of heated olive oil. Place the salmon fillets in the skillet with the skin-side up. Cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. Then, use a spatula to carefully flip each fillet. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove salmon to a clean plate and set aside. 
  3. Make the sauce for salmon: To the same skillet, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, reduce heat to medium and swirl the pan to coat. Add shallot and cook until they start to soften, stirring frequently. Add the artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic. Continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach to the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the spinach starts to wilt. Stir in the half and half and paprika. Allow mixture to come to a gentle simmer. Season with salt and pepper and stir. 
  4. Return salmon to skillet: Add salmon fillets back to the skillet and remove skillet from heat. Sprinkle with basil and red pepper flakes. Serve with lemon wedges. 
  • overhead view of four salmon fillers in a cast iron skillet
  • Overhead view of ingredients for Creamy Tuscan Salmon in a cast iron skillet with cream being poured into mixture.

An easy, Creamy sauce for salmon

The hallmark of this simple one-skillet dinner is the creamy loaded sauce for salmon that comes with it. Salmon is one of those versatile proteins that pairs well with a variety of flavors, from tart and sweet raspberry-balsamic glaze to creamy avocado garlic sauce. In this recipe, we’ve paired skillet-cooked salmon with some Tuscany-inspired vegetables, including artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and basil that come together in a perfectly balanced and creamy sauce for salmon. The spinach is mild, the shallot and sun-dried tomatoes provide subtle sweetness, and the artichokes bring the touch of acidity and sourness that makes it oh so good.

Close up view of creamy Tuscan skillet with artichoke hearts, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes, a gold spoon scooping out a serving.

Tips to make the best skillet Tuscan salmon Recipe

We love to make this recipe as a healthy salmon dinner, and we’ve picked up these tips from each time we brought it to the table in our own homes:

  1. Prep the skillet with both a misting of nonstick spray and light swirl of olive oil. Since salmon is a fatty fish, you don’t need to add a lot of oil (just 2 teaspoons will do), which creates the perfect cooking surface to sear the salmon and build some fond (aka: cooked-in flavor) to start the sauce
  2. Once you add the salmon fillets to the skillet, let them sit without moving them for a full 4 minutes. This helps create that perfect crispy texture on the outside of the salmon fillet and also allows the salmon to release from the skillet before you flip it over and cook for the same length of time on the other side
  3. Make this recipe a simple one with a few convenience ingredients. Canned and drained artichoke hearts, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, and a bag of fresh spinach help to save you time when prepping this recipe
  4. After adding the half and half to the pan, increase the heat and allow the sauce to come to a gentle simmer (not a rolling boil) so that the flavors can meld together and the sauce can thicken
  5. Serve with lemon wedges – the little spritz of acidic lemon juice helps to brighten all the flavors and makes for the ultimate fresh-tasting Tuscan Salmon Recipe

More Healthy Salmon Recipes You’ll Love

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When to serve this tuscan salmon recipe

Is this the perfect salmon recipe? We like to think so! Here are all the times when this simple skillet salmon dinner will shine on your table:

  • A romantic dinner at home – think Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and celebrating special family occasions
  • When hosting your foodie friends – they’ll be impressed by the flavors and the fact that you made it so easily
  • Holidays – you can easily double the recipe, or add some appetizers and side dishes, and serve smaller main-dish portions when hosting a holiday meal
  • Easy weeknights – even if the kids’ practice schedules and late nights in the office overfill your calendar, this easy salmon dinner will help you eat healthfully during the week
Overhead view of skillet creamy Tuscan salmon with artichoke hearts, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes in a cast iron skillet with a gold spoon in the creamy vegetables.

Can this recipe with creamy sauce for salmon be made ahead?

We’ve designed this recipe to be made fresh and easy for a healthy weeknight dinner. Therefore, it’s best to make this recipe right before it will be served. The whole salmon dinner, including the delicious sauce for salmon, can be prepped, cooked, and on your table in 25 minutes. Since there are minimal vegetables to prep or spices to measure, this is one recipe you should make start to finish in one setting. Put on some Italian music and grab a glass of Sangiovese to sip while you cook so you can truly get into that Tuscany spirit.

Close up view of a salmon fillet flaked with a gold fork, plated on a ceramic plate with creamy tuscan skillet of artichoke hearts, spinach, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Healthy ingredients in tuscan salmon

Not only does this recipe taste indulgent and decadent, but it also serves up a ton of good-for-you nutrition in every bite. Here are some stand-out ingredients:

  • Salmon – one of the very best sources of brain-boosting, mood-improving, heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids, salmon is a healthy protein source that is full of flavor, as well as important minerals like potassium and selenium
  • Artichoke hearts – whether they’re fresh or canned, artichokes are one of the healthiest veggies on the planet, thanks to their high content of heart-promoting fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C
  • Spinach – get your daily dose of spinach to help boost your immunity against viruses bacteria, and toxins. This nutritious veg is a great source of carotenoid antioxidants and folic acid, as well as a plant-based source of iron and calcium
  • Sun-dried tomatoes – sun-dried and jarred in olive oil, these sweet tomatoes pack so much flavor, as well as a particularly high concentration of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that provides protection for your eye, skin, and neuropathic health

Recipe

Skillet Creamy Tuscan Salmon

Skillet-cooked salmon nestles into a delicious and creamy sauce that all cooks in one pan and can be on your table in less than 30 minutes. All the flavors of an indulgent Italian meal converge in this healthy, convenient, and easy salmon dinner. 

Prep: 10 minsCook: 15 minsTotal: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 skin-on salmon fillets (4-5 ounces each)
  • Fine salt and black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke heart quarters, drained and cut in half
  • ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained*, cut into strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (5-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1 ½ cups half and half** 
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Fresh lemon wedges (for serving) 

Instructions

  1. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat; mist with non-stick cooking spray. When the skillet is hot, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil, swirling the pan to coat. 
  3. When the oil is hot, place the salmon fillets in the skillet with the skin-side up. Cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. Then, use a spatula to carefully flip each fillet. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove salmon to a clean plate and set aside. 
  4. To the same skillet, add remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil, reduce heat to medium and swirl the pan to coat. 
  5. Add shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes or until they start to soften, stirring frequently. 
  6. Add the artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic. Continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 
  7. Add the spinach to the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the spinach starts to wilt.
  8. Stir in the half and half and paprika. Allow mixture to come to a gentle simmer. Season with salt and pepper and stir. 
  9. Add salmon fillets back to the skillet and remove skillet from heat. Sprinkle with basil and red pepper flakes. Serve with lemon wedges. 

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Notes

*If using sun-dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil (i.e. dry), slice them and then soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes to soften; drain before using

** For dairy-free, substitute 1 1/2 cups plain, unsweetened non-dairy creamer

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
  • Calories: 392
  • Fat: 25 g
  • (Sat Fat: 7 g)
  • Sodium: 406 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 13 g
  • (Fiber: 5 g
  • Sugar: 3 g)
  • Protein: 28 g
  • Cholesterol: 98 mg

Dietary

© The Real Food Dietitians

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Close up overhead view of creamy Tuscan salmon fillets in a creamy sauce with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and spinach, in a cast iron skillet.

Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House.

For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

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