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My recipe for Salmon Pesto Pasta is so good, quick, and a satisfying meal that’s always a hit! Seasoned pan-seared salmon, tender pasta, and sweet corn, all tossed in a flavorful combination of lemon zest, lemon juice, pesto sauce, and parmesan cheese.

Pesto pasta in a skillet with flaked salmon and shaved parmesan.
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I Love Salmon even though 2 of my kids will not touch any seafood! Oh, the struggle of having 5 kids. I can never please everyone. But with this meal, we all win because right before I top the pasta with salmon, I remove 2 portions for my non-seafood eaters. No issues! 😁 You can impress your family or friends with this restaurant-quality meal in under 30 minutes! It doesn’t need a whole lot of ingredients, is filling, and is SO flavorful.

Don’t want pasta but you love the idea of pesto and pasta? Then you will love my Creamy Pesto Salmon Recipe that you can serve with rice and veggies.

Why you will love it

  • Quick & easy: It is so simple to whip up this salmon and pasta recipe. In just 30 minutes, you will have a meal ready for the family.
  • Packed with flavor: This pesto pasta with salmon is loaded with textures and flavors. If you love salmon and pasta, this one’s for you!
  • Versatile: This dish is plenty filling to serve alone or great served with a side salad or steamed veggies. You could also replace the salmon with chicken or even omit the protein to make this vegetarian.
Flaked salmon combined with pesto pasta, shaved Parmesan and corn.

Ingredients needed

  • Pasta: Use any noodle shape you’d like. If you want to make this recipe gluten-free, you can use gluten-free noodles or even chickpea pasta.
  • Corn: I typically use frozen corn for this recipe. If you only have canned corn, that works, just drain it and add it in when you combine the pasta and pesto.
  • Salmon: For maximum deliciousness, use high-quality, wild-caught salmon.
  • Seasonings: To season the salmon, you’ll need garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt & pepper.
  • Olive oil: For searing the salmon.
  • Pesto: You can try my homemade basil pesto for extra fresh flavor! Feel free to use store-bought pesto, if preferred.
  • Lemon juice & zest: I recommend using fresh lemon and not bottled lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grate your own or use store-bought for the perfect finishing touch.
Salmon, pasta, pesto and lemon divided into small portions.

How to make it

  1. Cook the pasta: Boil pasta in salted water according to the package directions. When there are 2 more minutes to reach al-dente, stir in the corn. Once done cooking, reserve 1/3 cup of pasta water and then drain and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Cook the salmon: Rub the salmon with the seasonings on both sides. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Cook the salmon until golden and flaky, about 3-4 minutes per side. Set aside.
  3. Combine pasta with sauce and salmon: Add 1/3 cup of the pasta water to the skillet, together with the pesto, lemon zest, and juice. Bring to a bubble, then stir in the cooked pasta, corn, and parmesan. Flake the salmon over and serve.

Expert Tips

  • If you choose to use premade pesto from the store, for best results, use the variety in the refrigerator case rather than the shelf-stable type. It’s much fresher and has a better taste.
  • Don’t forget to reserve 1/3 cup of pasta water! Pasta water is different from regular water. It’s salty and starchy and is great for loosening the pesto, so it combines easily with the pasta.
  • Sear the salmon filet in the pan for about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Depending on how thick the filet is and how well done you like your salmon, the cooking time may vary slightly. To accurately check the temperature, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the filet. I recommend cooking to an internal temperature of 130ºF.
Salmon pesto pasta with corn and shaved parmesan cheese.

Frequently asked questions

What meat goes well with pesto pasta?

Pesto pasta pairs wonderfully with a variety of different meats from beef to pork or chicken. I especially love the freshness of pesto pasta with flaked salmon, like in this recipe. For chicken and pesto pasta, try this creamy chicken pesto pasta salad, and for a shrimp option, this shrimp pesto pasta.

How many calories are in salmon and pesto pasta?

All nutrition facts for this recipe can be found, below, in the recipe card. This dish has about 535 calories for each of the 4 large servings.

Do you add pesto to hot or cold pasta?

Pesto can be added to hot or cold pasta. Pesto sauce should not be heated too much because it will change its color, taste, and texture. I recommend keeping the pasta warm and adding it to the warm pasta. The pasta itself will “heat” the pesto without changing its composition.

top view pasta with salmon

Storage and make ahead recommendations

  • Make-ahead: You can make homemade pesto in advance to save time. You could also sear the salmon a day ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight. It will warm back up when it’s tossed with the pasta.
  • To store: Place any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing this dish.
  • To reheat: For best results, transfer the pasta back to a skillet and warm over medium heat. You could also rewarm individual servings in the microwave in 30-second intervals.
Salmon pesto pasta in a large skillet.

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Salmon Pesto Pasta

By: Rena
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
pasta in a bowl topped with salmon flaked into small bite sizes.
Easy to make with seasoned pan-seared salmon, tender pasta, and sweet corn, all tossed in a flavorful combination of lemon zest, lemon juice, pesto sauce, and parmesan cheese. Impress your family with this restaurant-quality meal in under 30 minutes!

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 8 ounce pasta of choice
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 12 ounce skinless salmon filet
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup homemade pesto, or store-bought
  • 1 lemon, juice, and zest of
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. When there are 2 more minutes to reach al-dente, stir in the corn. Once done cooking, reserve 1/3 cup of pasta water, then drain and transfer to a bowl.
  • Rub the salmon with the seasonings on both sides. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Cook the salmon until golden and flaky, about 3-4 minutes per side. Set aside.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the skillet, together with the pesto, lemon zest, and juice. Bring to a bubble, then stir in the cooked pasta, corn, and parmesan. Flake the salmon over and serve.

Notes

    • Make-ahead: You can make homemade pesto in advance to save time. You could also sear the salmon a day ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight. It will warm back up when it’s tossed with the pasta.
    • To store: Place any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing this dish.
    • To reheat: For best results, transfer the pasta back to a skillet and warm over medium heat. You could also rewarm individual servings in the microwave in 30-second intervals.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 535kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 29gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 1007mgPotassium: 598mgFiber: 8gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 713IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 147mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthyfitnessmeals or tag #healthyfitnessmeals!

About Rena Awada

Hi, I’m Rena! Welcome to my blog. I am here to help you prepare delicious, light, fresh meals that your whole family will love!

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