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This smoked salmon pasta salad recipe is simple but feels a little fancy! You’ll love the bright and zesty creamy lemon dressing. It’s quick & easy to prepare. 

smoked salmon pasta salad in a beige serving bowl

I made this cold orzo salad with lox bagel flavors in mind. We’ve got dill, capers, red onions, and a creamy lemony dressing (the lemon zest really makes it shine!). The dressing does have mayo in it, but it’s still fairly light. 

This is the perfect dish to enjoy during a summer evening on your patio with a nice glass of white wine (or rosé!). It would also be great for a BBQ or dinner party.

smoked salmon pasta salad ingredients in a glass prep bowl

This smoked salmon pasta salad is a cinch to make… just prep everything while the orzo cooks. I recommend rinsing the orzo with cold water and letting it drain thoroughly for best results. Also, seafood tastes best when it’s nice and cold, so I recommend taking the salmon out of the fridge as late as possible. 

Love salmon? Try my Salmon Pesto Pasta, this Easy Smoked Salmon Pasta, or my tasty Smoked Salmon Dip.

collage of smoked salmon in its packaging and the salad dressing in a metal prep bowl

Recipe notes & tips:

  • If you don’t want to use smoked salmon, try grilled salmon or baked salmon, and just break it into bite-size pieces.
  • I used the thinly sliced smoked sockeye salmon that you can find in the frozen fish section of most grocery stores. You could definitely use thicker pieces if you wanted to!
  • I use my Microplane zester to zest the lemon. It’s also handy for grating hard cheeses. 
  • This salad will last a few days in the fridge, but you may need to add a little more lemon juice to sort of “revive” the dressing after it’s been in the fridge for a while. 
  • If you don’t have fresh dill, start with 1/2 tablespoon of dried dill, give the dressing a taste, and add more if needed. 
  • I know some people aren’t fans of Dijon mustard, but it’s a way to give the dressing an extra little something-something, and it doesn’t make the dressing taste mustardy. You don’t need to buy a whole jar just for this recipe, but it really does add a yummy umami taste to so many dishes, so I recommend giving it a try if you haven’t. I use it in many of my recipes.

More pasta salads to try:

close-up of smoked salmon pasta salad (orzo)

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve made this smoked salmon orzo salad or if you have any questions. 

smoked salmon pasta salad in a beige serving bowl
5 from 7 votes

Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad

This smoked salmon pasta salad recipe is simple but feels a little fancy! You'll love the bright and zesty creamy lemon dressing.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 mini cucumbers (or 1/2 English cucumber) chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • 6 ounces sliced smoked salmon (tear into bite-size pieces)


  • 2 heaping tablespoons mayo
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Boil a salted pot of water for the orzo and cook it al dente according to package instructions. When it's done, rinse it with cool water and drain it thoroughly, then add it to a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile, combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Prep your other salad ingredients and add them to the large bowl.
  • Toss the ingredients together (I also like to add plenty of salt & pepper as there's quite a lot of pasta and you don't want it to be bland - be sure to taste and season as needed). You can serve the salad right away or chill it for a while first. This pasta salad is best served cold vs. room temperature.


  • Feel free to add more/less of any ingredient (like onions or capers). 6 oz. smoked salmon is the size of the package I bought, but you could definitely add a bit more!
  • This salad is pretty filling, so I'd say it serves 4-6, especially if you're serving it with other dishes. 
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.


Calories: 266kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 501mg, Potassium: 199mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 85IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 1mg

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.

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Hi! Iโ€™m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

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  1. We love orecchiette pasta so can that be used instead of orzo pasta ? Looking forward to making this . Looks delish ๐Ÿ˜‹

    1. Hi Felisha! One serving is 1/4 of the recipe as listed. Your individual ingredients and quantities may vary, and we’re not nutritionists, so the nutrition info is just a courtesy. Hope you enjoy the salad ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 5 stars
    What a deliciois recipe. Thank you for sharing it. I have recently gotten into smoking salmon, and was looking for new recipes to make. I used shallots because i was out of red onion and it worked well. The dressing is just perfect.
    I think next time when I’m hot smoking i might try it with warm salmon fresh out of the smoker.

  3. 5 stars
    My world has changed since finding this recipe! I have made it with and without the salmon, and it is fabulous each time. The dressing is so flavorful and doesnโ€™t make the orzo soggy. This salad is a regular part of my lunch rotation now that I have gone back to work. Thank you for sharing it!

  4. Do you do anything to the red onions prior to throwing them in the salad to take the bite out? Iโ€™ve heard some people soak in ice water?

    1. You can definitely do that, Alexa. I admit I usually don’t bother, but that is a good method of making them less sharp. Hope you enjoy the recipe! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 5 stars
    I just made this salad with dittalini pasta and some leftover broiled salmon. I used a shallot because I didnโ€™t have the red onion. The dressing is the bomba! Absolutely correct about the Dijon mustard- Delicious. The recipe leaves much leeway to suit the taste buds. Thank you.

    1. You’re very welcome!! I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. I love that dressing too! Thanks for taking the time to write a review. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 5 stars
    I had to work with the vegetables I had on hand, but I think anything would taste good with this dressing. My husband immediately requested that I make this again, and I couldnโ€™t stop eating it. Excellent! A keeper!

      1. I just made this salad and it is so delicious – the dressing is so so yummie! Thank you for that receipe!

  7. 5 stars
    My new favorite summer salad! Itโ€™s fresh and crisp.
    So many good flavours mixed together. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’›โ˜€๏ธ
    I canโ€™t get enough of your delicious recipes.