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Creamy salmon pasta with tons of lemon and garlic is the perfect marriage of comfort and protein. If you want a dinner that feels fancy but is easy enough for a weeknight, this is absolutely the recipe for you!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:
When it comes to food, I like to keep things simple.
You don’t need to go out to a fancy restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal. You can make it yourself—and this salmon pasta in a delightfully creamy sauce is living proof.
While the pasta boils, all you need to do is make a simple sauce that uses easy-to-find ingredients — I bet you have most of them already!
Toss it all together and you’ll have an elegant dinner that tastes fancy enough for a date night or dinner party but easy enough to make every day. You’re going to love it!
- It has a vibrant, fresh flavor that’s perfect for Spring but can definitely be enjoyed year-round
- Salmon is a delicious lean protein that’s rich in omega-3s. This recipe is easy to make using frozen salmon or even canned salmon
- Creamy and delicious, like a grown-up Alfredo sauce
- On the table in under 30 minutes!
Ingredients for creamy salmon pasta
There’s nothing more comforting than a big bowl of pasta.
With just a few ingredients and simple preparation, this salmon pasta is sure to find a place in your dinner rotation.
Penne pasta: You can use any pasta shape to make this dish, but I love the thick, chewy texture of penne pasta, and the ridges help the sauce cling to each and every piece. I usually grab a high protein pasta for an added nutritional boost, but you can use gluten-free or whole-grain pasta if that fits with your lifestyle.
Salmon: You can cook your own salmon and flake it (here’s how to air fry frozen salmon) or even use a can of salmon. Blackened salmon is also fantastic in this pasta recipe!
Garlic cloves: Like most great recipes, this one starts by cooking plenty of fresh garlic in olive oil
Heavy cream: I use heavy cream for the base of this sauce — there’s really nothing quite like it in terms of rich, decadent flavor! Don’t try to substitute milk or nondairy cream in this recipe; the sauce will be much thinner and the acid from the lemon could cause it to curdle.
Low sodium chicken broth: This helps dilute the heaviness of the cream while adding even more flavor. Choose a low sodium variety so your pasta isn’t too salty!
Lemon juice and zest: For that bright, tangy lemon flavor
Baby spinach: For added nutrition and color!
Parmesan cheese: Be sure to grate your own or buy freshly grated cheese for maximum meltability.
Black pepper and fresh parsley: To break up the richness of the garlic-lemon sauce.
Substitutions and Variations
- Use your favorite pasta shape. Follow the directions on the box for al dente pasta. Remember, it will cook a little more once you add it to the sauce.
- Not feeling salmon? This pasta also is great with chicken!
- Replace the baby spinach with Swiss chard. You can also use frozen chopped spinach.
- If you don’t have a fresh lemon, you can use 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice.
- Sub the chicken broth for veggie stock, or use turkey or seafood broth – the choice is yours! (You can use water in a pinch, but the sauce won’t be nearly as flavorful. I always keep broth concentrate in my fridge so I can mix some up as needed.)
How to make creamy salmon spinach pasta
Step 1: Start by bringing a big pot of water to a boil for your pasta
Step 2: If your salmon isn’t already cooked, go ahead and pop it into your air fryer or oven to get that started.
Step 3: Start making that delicious, creamy sauce. Get some oil or butter into a hot skillet and add your garlic. Cook for a minute or two until it’s golden brown and fragrant, then add the heavy cream and broth. Let it simmer for a few minutes to thicken.
Step 4: Stir in your lemon zest and juice.
Step 5: Add the cooked pasta and fold in the spinach and salmon flakes. Stir until the spinach is just wilted.
Step 6: Top it all off with tons of parsley and Parmesan cheese. Serve with extra lemon wedges, if desired.
Frequently asked questions
How to store and reheat salmon pasta:
This salmon pasta keeps well in the fridge for 3 days. Add a few tablespoons of cream or broth to loosen the sauce, then reheat on the stovetop over medium heat or microwave for 1 minute at a time until just heated through.
More delicious salmon recipes
More pasta recipes to try
Prevent your screen from going dark
- 1 Box (14. 5 ounces) high-protein penne pasta or pasta of your choice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 cup diced or flaked cooked salmon (about 2 large fillets)
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Follow the minimum time suggested for al dente pasta (it will cook a little more in the sauce). Drain the pasta.
While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
Stir in the heavy cream and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and let reduce for 4-5 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to cling to the back of a wooden spoon.
Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
Add the drained pasta, baby spinach, and salmon. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3-4 minutes (if your skillet is on the smaller side, you might need to add the spinach in batches).
Stir in the parsley and Parmesan cheese and season with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with additional lemon wedges if you’d like!
Creamy Salmon Pasta
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Vitamin A 2793IU56%
Vitamin C 19mg23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.