This creamy Salmon Pasta is the perfect dinner recipe for busy weeknights and entertaining. The ingredients are fresh, flavorful and easy to customize. This pasta dish comes together in 30 minutes!
If you’re looking for the perfect weeknight meal that’s simple and satisfying, this creamy salmon pasta with lemon and asparagus is sure to be a hit. The creamy white sauce is light and aromatic with plenty of garlic goodness and the perfect pop of fresh citrus flavor.
Crisp tender asparagus and succulent pieces of seared salmon are combined with pasta and a few other simple ingredients.
You can easily adapt this recipe to fit your tastes. Not a fan of asparagus? No problem, swap it for one of your favorite vegetables or add even more veggies to the mix.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This restaurant-worthy salmon pasta recipe with asparagus is easy to make with simple, fresh and flavorful ingredients.
- This stovetop meal is quick and cooks in under 30 minutes!
- Kids and adults love this easy pasta dinner.
- You can use traditional pasta or substitute for gluten free pasta.
Ingredients You Need
This recipe comes together with familiar easy-to-find ingredients.
- Salmon (skin removed) – This pasta is best with wild-caught salmon, but farm raised salmon is perfectly fine if you can’t find wild-caught salmon. Fresh salmon is best, but you can also make this with frozen salmon that was thawed in the fridge overnight.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – You can substitute with avocado oil or butter.
- Pasta – We love this dish with casarecce pasta and penne pasta, but feel free to make it with any short tube pasta or odd-shaped pasta with nooks and crevices to trap the sauce like rigatoni, ziti, cavatappi and Campanella. Long noodles like spaghetti, linguine and fettuccine work too.
- Asparagus – Use fresh and firm trimmed asparagus spears, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
- Shallot and Garlic – If you can’t find shallot, you can substitute with 2-3 tablespoons of diced onion.
- White Wine – Use your favorite kind of white wine.
- Chicken Broth – You can substitute with vegetable broth, if desired.
- Cheeses – A mixture of both cream cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese helps to create the rich pasta sauce. To make this dish dairy free, you can try to substitute with a vegan cream cheese alternative (like Kite Hill) and plant-based Parmesan.
- Heavy Cream – You can substitute with half and half.
- Lemon – Using both lemon juice and lemon zest creates the best flavor. You can easily add more or less lemon to fit your taste.
- Parsley – Used to garnish the dish and adds a pop of color and flavor.
Add a bit of heat by adding a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.
How to Make Creamy Salmon Pasta
- Cook the pasta: Cook the pasta of your choice according to the package instructions, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- Make salmon: While the pasta cooks, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Blot the salmon dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Add the salmon to the hot skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove the fillets from the skillet and wrap them loosely in foil to keep warm. Instead of searing the salmon, you can also use roasted salmon.
- Make the sauce: Heat more oil in the skillet, then add the asparagus, shallot and salt and cook, occasionally stirring, until the asparagus is fork tender and the onions are translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Simmer: Now add the stock, half of the reserved pasta water and the cream cheese. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring continuously to melt and incorporate the cheese. Then, let the mixture sit undisturbed for 1 minute.
- Toss with pasta: Finally, stir in the cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley. Remove from the heat and add more pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until the noodles are well coated in the sauce.
- Assemble and serve: Divide the creamy pasta and asparagus evenly between shallow bowls and top with chunks of flaked salmon. Drizzle olive oil over the top and serve hot.
- Trim the woody tough end of the asparagus.
- Save some of the pasta cooking liquid! Reserving pasta water to thin pasta sauce is a great trick for making creamy sauce without needing too much heavy cream. In addition, the pasta water loosens up the cream cheese in this recipe, making the sauce velvety and delicious.
- Salmon is cooked to a safe internal temperature when a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the filet registers 145 degrees F.
- Substitute the salmon with grilled chicken, lobster or shrimp.
- Make a meatless version of this creamy pasta by adding other vegetables like spinach, kale, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes or artichoke hearts.
Creamy pasta recipes make the perfect dinner. When you add protein like salmon or chicken, it creates a well rounded meal that kids and adults love.
Other Creamy Pasta Recipes
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Creamy Salmon Pasta
- 1 pound salmon, skin removed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 10 ounces pasta, casarecce, penne or your favorite pasta noodle
- 3/4 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed, remaining diced into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 lemon zested and juiced
- Chopped fresh parsley , for garnish
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, draining and rinsing as necessary. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salmon evenly with salt and pepper. Add salmon to skillet and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of filet registers 145 degrees F. Remove from heat, transfer to a sheet of foil and wrap to keep warm, set aside. Flake salmon into large chunks.
- Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus, shallots and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is tender and onions are translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Add wine and deglaze the pan, stirring occasionally, until liquid is partially reduced, about 1 minute.
- Add stock, 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water and cream cheese. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring to melt the cream cheese, then let sit, undisturbed for 1 minute. Stir in cooked pasta, Parmesan, heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley. Remove from heat, add cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time until pasta is well coated and desired consistency is reached. Cover to keep warm.
- Divide pasta mixture evenly between bowls and top with salmon pieces. Drizzle with additional olive oil before serving, if desired.