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The Speckled Palate
September 9, 2019

Lemon Salmon Pasta

Last Updated on

Change up your dinner game by serving Lemon Salmon Pasta! This pasta dish starts with simple roasted salmon, which is then tossed with peas, feta, toasted pine nuts and a homemade lemon vinaigrette. Tart and savory without being overly heavy, this pasta is a quick meal for the family or for sharing. Makes 4-6 servings.

Three bowls holding Lemon Salmon Pasta are shown from above with wine

When I run, my brain wanders, and after I find my groove at the three mile point, I just go. I have no idea why it takes so long to get into it, but this is the way it’s always been. It bodes well for longer races, but it makes anything shorter than a 10K a challenge.

And when I run, I think about food: the kind I want to make; the kind I’d like to eat after running; the stuff I’d like to see on my plate that evening.

That’s just the way my brain works, and I’m so glad that it does because I’ve come up with some really good recipes on these runs.

The ingredients for the pasta are laid out on a marble background in separate bowls before mixing

What you’ll need to make Lemon Salmon Pasta

Disclaimer: The links below are affiliate links. If you click through and take action, I will receive a small commission. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about the affiliate programs The Speckled Palate participates in. 

The final pasta dish is shown in a large bowl, after tossing

How to make Lemon Salmon Pasta

How to Cook Pasta

First and foremost, we’re going to cook the bowtie pasta.

A few things you should know before we get started:

  • Different pastas (and different brands) have different cooking times, so read the packaging of your pasta container. I’ve followed the directions of mine here, which should be similar to that of any bowtie pasta, though I always remove mine 2-3 minutes before they suggest on the packaging.
  • We’re going to cook the pasta at the same time as we roast the salmon. (At least let the oven come to temperature while we get the pasta started.)

The first step of cooking pasta is bringing a loooooooot of water to a rolling boil in a large pot.

How will you know when it’s reached a rolling boil? A rolling boil is when the water is bubbling rapidly all over the pot. (And not just on the sides.) When water (or any other liquid) begins to boil in a pot, it will traditionally begin bubbling on the outside and will slowly work its way in. Wait until the whole pot is bubbling before adding the pasta.

When the water is boiling, add a tablespoon of salt. Yes, it’s a lot of salt, but this seasons the pasta. Go with me or go chat with Samin.

Add the pasta, and cook for 8-10 minutes… or until al dente.

What is al dente? This means the pasta is cooked, but still has a bit of texture. Italian for “to the tooth,” the pasta should have a bit of a bite without being limp. So when your timer goes off, pull a piece or two out of the water and try a bite.

Once the pasta reaches the doneness you desire, remove the pot from the heat, and drain the pasta in a colander, and set it aside.

Collage of two images of salmon, one of it being brushed with ghee and the other of pepper being cracked on top of it

How to Roast Salmon

After you get the pasta water on the stovetop, preheat the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, too.

Place the salmon filets skin-down on the prepared baking sheet, and brush with the melted ghee. (Or you can use avocado oil if you are dairy free.) Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Keep in mind…

  • The thickness of the filets will determine the amount of time the salmon needs to bake, so the thicker the fish, the longer the cook time.
  • My ½” thick filets baked in 5 minutes. I suggest adding 3ish minutes per ½” thickness and watching to make sure the fish does not overcook.
  • When you think it’s done, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer! Confirm it’s 145F at the thickest part of the filet before removing from the oven.

Collage of the salmon from above in two images: one before cooking and one after

Once the oven is hot, hot, hot, roast the salmon filets and keep an eye on them so they don’t overbake.

Remove the salmon from the oven when cooked to your desired doneness, and let it cool slightly before breaking into pieces for the pasta.

Lemon vinaigrette ingredients from above, in small bowls

Make the Vinaigrette

Measure out the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard into a mason jar.

Add in the dill, black pepper, salt and lemon zest. (You have a lemon zester, right? Simply zest the lemon into the mason jar or into a small bowl and then add it to the vinaigrette.)

Place the top on the mason jar, and shake vigorously until the vinaigrette is well-combined.

The Lemon Vinaigrette is shown, unmixed, on a marble background

Put Together the Pasta and Serve

In a large bowl, measure out the salmon, pasta, peas, pine nuts and feta. 

If you haven’t cooked the peas, follow the instructions on the frozen pea bag and cook ’em accordingly. (Yes, I purchase frozen peas for this because they’re always tasty and also incredibly easy to heat up.)

Drizzle the dressing over the the ingredients, and toss with tongs.

Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Lemon Vinaigrette is drizzled on top of the Salmon Pasta ingredients in a large bowl

Frequently Asked Questions

Should this pasta be served warm or cold?

You can do it either way! We like ours thrown together as soon as everything is done cooking, but you can easily cook pieces of this in advance and reheat them slightly before tossing together.

It’s your call! However, I suggest not serving it super cold because the dressing will congeal and not taste as wonderful as it would if it’s room temperature.

How will I know my salmon is finished cooking?

Salmon should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F. 

Use a meat thermometer to monitor when the fish is done. Push the tip into the thickest part of the salmon filet, and when it reads 145, remove the salmon from the oven. 

How should I store the leftover pasta?

We keep ours in a food safe container in the fridge for up to 3 days. (Some people are weird about leftover fish, and I have mixed feelings about it… but this pasta makes me sing a different tune.)

If you’re into the leftovers, keep ’em in the fridge and serve at room temperature or slightly heated. You can also enjoy it cold, though the dressing will be more solid.

Three bowls of served Lemon Salmon Pasta are shown with wine, on a marble backdrop

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

This Lemon Salmon Pasta is perfect for a small dinner party because it incorporates a favorite protein (salmon), it can be made partially ahead of time and it can be customized for different palates and dietary needs.

Here are a few things you can do to prepare while entertaining with this fabulous pasta dish:

  • Cook pieces of this pasta in advance for an easy weeknight dinner gathering.
  • Instead of using traditional bowtie pasta, use a gluten free variety (and read the instructions for cooking!) to make this pasta friendly for your gluten intolerant friends.
  • Make it dairy free by skipping the feta cheese and brushing the salmon with avocado oil instead.

Pinterest image for Lemon Salmon Pasta, featuring a close up of the pasta in a bowl

What are some dishes that I can serve alongside this Salmon Pasta?

Now who’s ready to learn how to make this goodness? Because y’all know I’m ready to mix this up again soon!

Lemon Salmon Pasta
Yield: 4 servings

Lemon Salmon Pasta

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

Change up your weeknight dinner or entertaining game by making quick and delicious Lemon Salmon Pasta! This pasta dish starts with simple roasted salmon, which is then tossed with peas, feta, toasted pine nuts and a homemade lemon vinaigrette. Tart and savory without being overly heavy, this Salmon Pasta dish works for any season and is a quick meal for the family or for sharing.

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 1 lb. farfalle pasta
  • 2 ½ qts. water
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Salmon

  • 2 salmon filets
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, melted

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Zest of ½ large lemon

Lemon Salmon Pasta

  • Cooked pasta, above
  • Cooked salmon, above
  • 2 cups peas, steamed
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons feta cheese

Instructions

Cook the Pasta

  1. Bring 2 ½ quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot.
  2. Add a tablespoon of salt to the boiling water.
  3. Add the farfalle pasta, and cook for 9-10 minutes, or until al dente. (This means the pasta will have a bit of a texture to it still and isn't completely limp.)
  4. Once the pasta reaches the amount of doneness you enjoy, remove the pot from the heat, and drain the pasta in a colander.

Bake the Salmon

  1. After you place the pasta water on the stovetop, preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. Place the salmon filets skin-down on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Brush with the melted ghee.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast in the preheated oven. The thickness of the filets will determine the amount of time the salmon needs to bake. My ½" thick filets baked in 5 minutes. Keep an eye on yours so they don't overbake.
  6. Once cooked to your desired doneness, remove from the oven, and let cool slightly.
  7. Once the salmon has cooled, break into pieces for the pasta.

Make the Vinaigrette

  1. Measure out the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard into a mason jar.
  2. Season with the dill, black pepper, salt and lemon zest.
  3. Place the top on the mason jar, and shake vigorously until the vinaigrette is well-combined.

Put Together the Pasta and Serve

  1. In a large bowl, combine the salmon, pasta, peas, pine nuts and feta. Toss until incorporated with tongs.
  2. Drizzle the dressing over the pasta salad, and toss.
  3. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Notes

The pasta and salmon should cook at the same time, so when you put on the water for the pasta, preheat the oven. This will get your dish on the table significantly faster.

Make Ahead Tip: You can cook all the ingredients ahead of time and put them together for dinner/company when the time is right. The putting together piece takes 5-10 minutes.

  • Roast the salmon in advance, and once it has cooled, tear into pieces and store in the refrigerator.
  • Cook the pasta in advance, too, and toss in a little olive oil so it doesn't stick to itself.
  • Steam the peas, too.
  • Mix up the vinaigrette, and store in the fridge.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 653 Total Fat: 33g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 24g Cholesterol: 78mg Sodium: 361mg Carbohydrates: 50g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 6g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 38g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

This Lemon Salmon Pasta recipe first appeared at My Cooking Spot, where I was a contributor.

The photos and recipe for this pasta dish were originally published on February 6, 2015. The photographs, as well as with the text of this blog post, were updated on September 9, 2019.

2 Comments

  1. Amy Tong

    Love your pasta. I made something similar and my kids always love it. 🙂 Thanks for sharing yours.

    • Erin

      Thanks, Amy! I’m glad your kids enjoy a recipe similar to this one that you make. It’s so delicious!

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