Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon with Mexican Corn & Black Beans


If your house is anything like mine, then you are probably in need of some new, easy dinner ideas. And this pumpkin seed crusted salmon might be just what you’re looking for. It’s highly nutritious, fast to make, not too heavy, uses jut one dish, and can be made with a variety of canned and frozen ingredients. We all have some of those to use up, right?! This healthy meal is also suitable for most special diets, since it’s naturally free of dairy, gluten, grains, nuts, eggs, and soy.

One-Dish Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon with Mexican Roasted Corn and Black Beans Recipe - naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, and soy-free

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon is a Simple, Healthy Meal from the Freezer

This recipe was created by Chef Nora Pouillon, a James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award winner. She cooks for a living, and knows that convenience is important, even with from-scratch cuisine. So she often makes this one-dish dinner with frozen fish. Here are some quick notes and tips on choosing and using frozen seafood.

Why Buy Frozen Fish? 

Frozen seafood is just as high quality as fresh since modern techniques like flash-freezing preserve fish moments after it is caught. Stores generally carry a larger selection of frozen fish and it’s typically less expensive than fresh seafood. Because frozen fish keeps longer, you can find greater variety and more sustainable options. Plus, it’s convenient – use exactly the portion you need and save the rest for later – making it perfect for meal planning.

What About the Taste? 

When done right, freezing locks in flavor and nutrients, so you can enjoy frozen fish that’s every bit as delicious as when it was caught. Cooking techniques, like the one in this pumpkin seed crusted salmon, also help to lock in the goodness as it cooks.

How Long Does Frozen Fish Last? 

Frozen fish is safe indefinitely, but for best quality, the USDA recommends using frozen fish within 3 to 8 months after purchase.

How Should I Thaw Frozen Fish? 

You don’t always need to thaw it. Recipes like this pumpkin seed crusted salmon can be baked from frozen. But if your recipe calls for fresh or thawed fish, put the frozen fillets in the refrigerator 12 to 24 hours before you plan to cook them.

How Can I Cook Fish from Frozen?

It’s similar to the technique in the recipe below. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Rinse the frozen fillets under cold water to remove an ice crystals. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel. Arrange the fillets on a baking sheet. Brush all sides of the fillets with oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until fish is tender and flakes easily.

What Pairs well with Frozen Fish?

Fatty fish like salmon brings out the flavors in seasonal vegetables, including zucchini and summer squash. Leaner fillets like cod can be breaded or used in tacos. Fish is also delicious with a variety of wines. The trick is to serve delicate fish with light wines and heartier fish with richer, more substantial wines. This pumpkin seed crusted salmon can be served with a rosé for a pleasant seasonal pairing.

One-Dish Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon with Mexican Roasted Corn and Black Beans Recipe - naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, and soy-free This pumpkin seed crusted salmon recipe was shared with us by bluecirclefoods.com, a sustainable fish company. Their frozen fillets are found at stores like Whole Foods and Albertsons / Safeway.

Special Diet Notes: Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and soy-free. The salmon itself is paleo-friendly. Serve it with roasted zucchini and cauliflower rice for a bean- and corn-free meal.

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon with Mexican Roasted Corn and Black Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The pumpkin seed crust provides deliciously crunchy contrast to the tender fish, and also helps to love in moisture as it bakes.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2 servings
  • 2 cups sweet corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked chili or smoked paprika (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin seed oil or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions
  • 2 frozen salmon fillets (see Fish Note below)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the corn, black beans, bell pepper, cilantro, ground cumin, and smoked chili (if using). Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture into a baking dish.
  3. In a blender or food processor, pulse the pumpkin seeds, oil, sliced scallions, and salt and pepper, to taste, until a paste forms.
  4. Evenly coat the frozen salmon fillets with the pumpkin seed paste.
  5. Place the coated fillets on top of the black bean and corn mixture in your baking dish.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is toasted and the salmon is no longer pink, but flakes easily with a fork.
Fish Note: You can sub wild cod for the salmon. And you can use fresh fish if that's what you have on hand. But if using frozen, there is no need to thaw it before coating and baking.

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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