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This 30-minute salmon pasta with a creamy garlic sauce is quick and makes an easy and impressive meal! It has restaurant flair that you can duplicate in your own kitchen.
Why you’ll love it
This is one of those dishes that tastes like a lot of effort was put in, but it’s actually simple enough to make without a lot of fuss when you’re starving after a long day at work. Quickly pan searing salmon makes it extra tasty! And the best part is that you can finish off the bottle of wine while you’re cooking this. Just kidding. Sort of.
You’ll savor every single bite of this irresistible restaurant-quality salmon pasta. The delicious creamy sauce is loaded with garlic, and this easy pasta is going to be your new favorite date night meal.
What you’ll need
- Pasta – You can use any kind of pasta for this dish. I’d recommend a longer one like fettuccine, linguine, or spaghetti, but any kind you have in your pantry will work.
- Salmon – I prefer skinless, but if you can’t find it, you can easily remove it during the cooking process
- Onion powder – to infuse more flavor directly onto the fish
- Olive oil and butter – for pan searing
- Flour – to thicken the sauce
- Garlic – we’re generous, but add more if you’re a garlic afficionado
- White wine – for an elegant touch. Use a dry white wine like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio.
- Heavy cream – for a touch of richness
- Lemon juice – it brightens up the sauce and is a signature pairing with salmon
- Parmesan – grating your own parmesan cheese is key for texture of the sauce since it melts better than the bagged kind
- Parsley – a pop of freshness
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- Mince the garlic with one squeeze of a garlic press. You don’t even have to peel the cloves first.
- Parmesan is so much better when grated from a block with a zester like this Microplane.
- I like to toss the pasta easily with a pair of cooking tongs.
- A simple wire whisk is useful for making the quick roux.
- Store uncooked pasta in an airtight spaghetti keeper.
How to make creamy salmon pasta
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
While the pasta is boiling, pan sear the seasoned salmon in olive oil and butter. Transfer the salmon to a plate. Add flour to the skillet to make a quick roux, followed by the garlic and white wine. Whisk in the cream and lemon juice.
Stir in the parmesan, and then add the salmon back to the skillet, breaking it up with a spoon. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet along with the fresh parsley. Enjoy immediately!
- The sauce is fairly lemony, so if you’re on the fence about how much to add, halve the amount of lemon. You can then always squeeze more in when you’ve given it a taste if you think it needs more. I love the stuff, so I usually add even more than I suggest in recipes when I’m cooking for myself, but it’s totally up to you.
- This pasta serves 2-4 people, but you can make it with less pasta to make it even richer for two people. Or up the salmon to 3/4 pounds.
- You can easily double (or triple) this recipe for when you have guests over!
Substitutions and variations
- I don’t recommend substituting the heavy cream for anything else. The sauce may break because of the acidity from the lemon juice.
- If you’re unable to use the wine, simply swap it out for chicken broth and a touch of Dijon mustard.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers of this salmon pasta will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. However, it’s best eaten right away.
- Reheat on your stove over low heat slowly so the sauce doesn’t separate, and you can add a splash of cream if necessary.
- Recipes with cream generally don’t freeze well, so I don’t recommend doing that.
If you made this lemon salmon pasta with a creamy garlic sauce, leave a star rating and review. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!
Salmon Pasta with a Creamy Garlic Sauce
- 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti or other pasta
- 1/2 pound fresh salmon see note
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
- 3/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
- Juice from 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 tbsp)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Boil a large salted pot of water for your pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, season the salmon with the onion powder and some salt & pepper.
- Add the olive oil and butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, cook the salmon for a couple of minutes on each side. Transfer the salmon to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the flour to the skillet and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring nearly constantly.
- Whisk in the garlic and wine (let it bubble for 20 seconds or so), followed by the cream and lemon juice.
- Once the sauce is smooth, whisk in the parmesan.
- Add the salmon back in the pan and break it up with your spoon so it's in bite-size pieces. Gently mix it in with the sauce. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or so until the sauce is thickened and the salmon is cooked through.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, along with about 1 tablespoon of the water you cooked the pasta in (or more if you want to thin the sauce) as well as the parsley. Gently toss the sauce and pasta. Serve immediately with extra parmesan cheese if desired.
- If you can’t buy skinless salmon, you can easily peel off the salmon skin just before you add the salmon back into the pan. Or keep it on if you don’t mind it.
- The sauce is fairly lemony, so if you’re not into that, halve the amount of lemon, then add more in once you’ve tasted it if it’s not lemony enough for you.
- Serves 2-4. If you want a really decadent meal for two people, make less pasta (then each person gets more sauce and salmon). For 4 people, I recommend serving this with a side salad or some garlic bread and/or increase the salmon to 3/4 pounds or so.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.
This recipe was originally published on June 13, 2016. It’s been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!