Salmon and Pesto Pasta

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This healthy, delicious salmon and pesto pasta is a quick and easy dinner option loaded with perfectly cooked salmon, pesto, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.

Closeup overhead shot of serving spoon full of salmon and pesto pasta.

If you're trying to eat healthier meals but you hate the idea of a bland dinner, then you've come to the right place. My salmon pesto pasta recipe is healthy, delicious, and easy. It's the trifecta of weeknight dinners, and it always makes everyone happy!

Why You'll Love This Salmon and Pesto Pasta Recipe

  • It only uses a handful of simple ingredients.
  • It's a quick and easy meal perfect for weeknights.
  • It's delicious and healthy.

Top Tip

Remove your salmon from the skillet as soon as it flakes easily with a fork. Don't overcook it!

Ingredients

This recipe only uses a few ingredients, and you can find them all in your pantry or your local grocery store. It's a basic recipe that uses basic ingredients.

Everything you need to make it is listed here, but you can find the exact ingredients in the recipe card at the end of the post.

  • Rigatoni pasta
  • Olive oil, divided
  • Skinless salmon filet
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Minced garlic
  • Small yellow onion
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Basil pesto sauce
  • Shredded parmesan
Overhead shot of individual salmon and pesto pasta ingredients.

Instructions

This quick and easy salmon pesto pasta recipe comes together in just minutes, making it the perfect weeknight dinner. You'll be in and out of the kitchen in no time!

The recipe highlights are here, but you can find the exact directions in the recipe card at the end of the post.

1: Prepare rigatoni according to package directions.

2: Add salmon filets to a skillet with hot oil.

Overhead shot of salmon filet in skillet

3: Cook the salmon on each side until it begins to brown and flakes easily with a fork.

Overhead shot of cooked salmon filet in skillet.

4: Cook the onions and garlic in the same skillet until the onions are transparent.

Overhead shot of onoins and garlic in skillet.

5: Add the tomatoes and cook until heated.

Overhead shot of onions, garlic, and tomatoes in skillet.

6: Add the pesto and cook until heated through.

Overhread shot of pesto, tomatoes, onions, and garlic in skillet.

7: Add the pasta and cook until everything is heated through.

8: Flake the salmon apart, add it to the pasta, and top with shredded parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Overehad shot of skilet full of salmon and pesto pasta recipe.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Make this dish with your favorite firm fish.
  • Shellfish works well in this dish, as well.
  • Add red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Skillet
  • Spatula
  • Large spoon
Closeup shot of forkful of salmon and pesto pasta.

Storage

Refrigerate this salmon pesto pasta recipe for up to 3 days in an air-tight container. For longer storage, freeze it for up to 3 months in an air-tight, freezer-safe container. Defrost before reheating.

To reheat the salmon and pesto pasta, place it in a saucepan with a bit of water for moisture and cook on medium-low heat until heated through.

What to Serve with Salmon and Pesto Pasta

This salmon and pesto pasta is full of protein and carbohydrates, so it's already a complete meal. You can round it out with your favorite vegetable recipes to get more vitamins and minerals and add even more flavor!

Tips for Making the Best Salmon Pesto Pasta Recipe

  • Cook the salmon on medium heat. This allows it to get a nice color without overcooking.
  • When adding both the tomatoes and the pesto, only cook them long enough to heat them through.
  • Be sure to cook your pasta to al dente and no further, so it doesn't get mushy when stirred into the dish.
 Closeup overhead shot of spoonful of salmon and pesto pasta.

FAQ

How do you know when salmon is done?

Salmon is perfectly cooked when it flakes easily with a fork and the flesh is opaque.

How do you choose fresh salmon?

Salmon should be pink or red, firm, and free of any kind of fish smell. If it smells fishy, is dull, or has a slimy feel, DO NOT use it.

What is pesto?

Pesto is an Italian condiment. It's a paste traditionally made with crushed garlic, pine nuts, coarse salt, basic, and hard cheese such as parmesan or pecorino sardo blended with olive oil.

More Tasty Salmon Recipes

Yield: 8 servings

Salmon Pesto Pasta

Salmon Pesto Pasta

Salmon and pesto pasta is a healthy, delicious dish loaded with flaky salmon chunks, pesto, spices, pasta, and cheese. It's quick and easy!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Rigatoni pasta
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound skinless salmon filet
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz basil pesto sauce
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan

Instructions

  1. Prepare rigatoni according to package directions.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  3. Season salmon filet with garlic powder and onion powder.
  4. When oil is heated, carefully place salmon filet in skillet.
  5. Cook on each side about 4 minutes or until salmon begins to brown and flakes apart with a fork.  Remove Salmon from skillet and set aside.
  6. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to hot skillet with minced garlic and yellow onion.  Cook until onions start to become transparent, stirring often.
  7. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring often.
  8. Add pesto sauce and stir together.  Allow to cook for an additional 2 minutes to heat the sauce.
  9. Add pasta and stir together.  Allow to cook for an additional 2 minutes until everything is well-heated.  Be sure to stir often and reduce heat if needed to reduce the chance of burning.
  10. Fork salmon apart and add it to the top of the pasta.  
  11. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and serve.

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 430Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 38mgSodium 251mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 21g

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