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.
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.
What you’ll need to make Lemon Salmon Pasta
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- Sheet pan.
- Silicone Basting & Pastry Brush
- Large Multi Bowl
- Mason jar
- Citrus juicer or citrus reamer
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.
How to Roast Salmon
I wrote a whole post on cooking salmon in the oven, but here’s a quick rundown for you!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
- 1 lb. farfalle pasta
- 2 ½ qts. water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 salmon filets
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon ghee, melted
- 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
Cook the Pasta
- Bring 2 ½ quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot.
- Add a tablespoon of salt to the boiling water.
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.
- Place the salmon filets skin-down on the prepared baking sheet.
- Brush with the melted ghee.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- 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.
- Once cooked to your desired doneness, remove from the oven, and let cool slightly.
- Once the salmon has cooled, break into pieces for the pasta.
Make the Vinaigrette
- Measure out the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard into a mason jar.
- Season with the dill, black pepper, salt and lemon zest.
- Place the top on the mason jar, and shake vigorously until the vinaigrette is well-combined.
Put Together the Pasta and Serve
- In a large bowl, combine the salmon, pasta, peas, pine nuts and feta. Toss until incorporated with tongs.
- Drizzle the dressing over the pasta salad, and toss.
- Serve immediately, and enjoy!
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.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 653Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 361mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 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.