Pesto Salmon Pasta

Pesto salmon pasta recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
927 Calories
71g Fat
32g Carbs
42g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 927
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 71g 91%
Saturated Fat 23g 115%
Cholesterol 164mg 55%
Sodium 984mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 7mg 35%
Calcium 330mg 25%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 758mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This super easy and elegant recipe for pesto salmon pasta is perfect for company. Plan it into your menu for the week; have grilled salmon steaks one day and grill two extra, then refrigerate, covered, until you make this recipe a day or two later. You can also use salmon that you cook specifically for this recipe. Season the salmon any way you'd like. We prefer using olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dried basil.

We have made this recipe with hot smoked salmon in place of the grilled salmon steaks. Just break the salmon into chunks, use about 1/2 pound and add to the recipe when directed. We haven't made it with canned salmon, but that would work in a pinch.

Because the dish is so simple, it's perfect for entertaining, especially if you are a beginning cook. This pasta dish tastes like so much more than the sum of its ingredients!

Serve this easy and elegant dish with some toasted garlic bread and a fresh green salad tossed with grape or cherry tomatoes and a simple vinaigrette dressing. 


  • 2 grilled salmon steaks

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 (16-ounce) package spaghetti

  • 1 (12-ounce) container basil pesto

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pesto salmon pasta
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  2. Remove the skin and bones from the cooked salmon.

    Salmon on cutting board with skin and bones removed
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  3. Gently break into large pieces. Set aside.

    Salmon broken into large pieces on cutting board
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  4. Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Add some salt to the boiling water, then add the pasta and stir.

    Pasta in water
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  5. When you've added the pasta to the water, whisk together the pesto, cream, and sour cream in a large saucepan. Heat this mixture over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently with a wire whisk.

    Pesto being whisked in saucepan
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  6. Stir the salmon pieces into the cream mixture with a wooden spoon and continue heating over low heat; the mixture will start to simmer.

    Salmon pieces and pesto cream simmering in saucepan
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  7. Drain the pasta when it is cooked to al dente

    Pasta draining
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  8. Add the drained pasta to the salmon mixture along with half of the Parmesan cheese.

    Pasta and Parmesan cheese in saucepan
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  9. Turn the heat for the saucepan to medium and cook, tossing the mixture gently with tongs until the spaghetti is coated and the mixture is thoroughly heated.

    Tossing pasta, pesto mixture, and salmon with tongs
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  10. Serve immediately with the remainder of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

    Pesto salmon pasta served with Parmesan cheese
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Recipe Variations

  • Use any long pasta, like fettuccine or linguine, in place of the spaghetti.
  • You can use nonfat half-and-half in place of the cream, and low-fat sour cream in place of regular sour cream. But don't use both nonfat versions of these dairy products, because the texture of the dish won't be right. It will be too thin and may become grainy.

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