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salmon pesto pasta (with penne)

Salmon Pesto Pasta

This salmon pesto pasta recipe comes together fast and makes an elegant meal that's great for a quick weeknight dinner. You can either use jarred or homemade pesto.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword salmon pesto pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 567kcal


  • 1 pound fresh salmon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth or dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup pesto (click for my recipe or use your fav jarred variety)
  • 1/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice optional
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese optional
  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta


  • Boil a salted pot of water for your pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
  • Sprinkle the salmon with the garlic powder and some salt & pepper. Coat it in flour on all sides.
  • In a skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Cook the salmon for about 3 minutes/side until lightly golden.
  • Take the pan off the heat. Remove the salmon to a plate and set aside. Pour the fat out of the skillet, but leave the nice browned bits that are stuck on the bottom of the pan (don't wipe the pan out).
  • Add the chicken broth and pesto and return the pan to the burner. Cook for about 30 seconds while scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add in the cream and lemon juice and let the sauce bubble for about a minute. Add the salmon back in and break it into pieces with your spoon. Reduce the heat and let it gently cook for another 5 minutes or so (the sauce will thicken up as well).
  • Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce. Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.


  • I don't recommend subbing the cream for milk or half-and-half because the sauce won't be the same, and they are likely to curdle. You can leave it out if you need to.
  • The lemon juice is optional because some jarred pestos already have lemon in it, and the sauce can end up too tangy.  
  • 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: 567kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 709mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 768IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg