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Under 30 Minutes

Salmon Pasta

This method of cooking salmon makes for such tasty fish that you might want to serve it on its own. Just follow the first two steps, and serve the fillet with a green vegetable.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Yield: Serves 4
Salmon Pasta

Source: Everyday Food, January/February 2003


  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 one-pound salmon fillet with skin (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1 pound corkscrew or other short pasta
  • 10 ounces spinach, stems trimmed and leaves washed well
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Heat the broiler. Put fennel seeds in a small, self-sealing plastic bag, and crush with a rolling pin. Add parsley, brown sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the bag, and shake to mix.

  2. Press the mixture onto the skinless side of the salmon. Broil salmon, skin side down, until it is no longer red in the center, about 8 minutes.

  3. Flake the fish with a fork. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente, about 13 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup cooking water, and drain pasta. Return it to the warm pot, add spinach, and toss.

  4. In a bowl, mix together sour cream, lemon juice to taste, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons pasta water.

  5. Put pasta on plates, top with salmon, and drizzle with the sour-cream mixture. Or simply toss pasta and spinach in the pot with the salmon and the sour-cream mixture, adding pasta water as needed, and serve.

Cook's Note

You can use baby spinach or its mature counterpart in this recipe. Corkscrew-shaped pasta is fun to eat, and it's great for holding sauce. Penne, fusilli, or shells would also be good choices.

Reviews (22)

  • medawson7 10 Sep, 2014

    Just saw the video for this recipe. Pasta and some of the ingredients are not mentioned for this dish.

  • dandeber 26 Aug, 2014

    My family loves this recipe and I have made it many times over the years. I do agree that the fennel might be too flavorful for some kids. The dish, however, comes out great consistently. I do cover the fish with aluminum foil towards the end of cooking to make sure the topping doesn't burn. I have used the salmon recipe to make salmon cakes and they also came out delicious.

  • Crystald424 28 Oct, 2013

    I successfully made this dish tonight, and it's delicious! However, I did modified the ingredients based on previous responses. I only added half of the fennel seeds asked for in this recipe & the other half I replaced w/extra parsley. I baked my salmon at 475o for about 20 minutes & once the pasta was completely drained and back on the stove, I added in the spinach & a couple pinches of salt for taste. Overall, this dish was easy to make. Just make sure you cook the Salmon to perfection first!

  • rularkin 13 Oct, 2013

    I really enjoy fennel, but I suppose the seeds with the fish and was just too much for me. As other people have said, use less pasta. I can appreciate the idea but I didn't enjoy it.

  • marlenebroady 9 Apr, 2013

    This was just ok. The fennel was too much. Would not recommend for children. Like the concept but will replace the fennel seasoning next time. Also these recipes make a ton of food. I've stated this before. If you eat recommended daily portions you'll want to cut recipe in half.

  • kristen marie reece 31 Jan, 2013

    This was super tasty! I cooked the salmon on a baking sheet on foil at 450 for about 15 mins to reduce the risk of the topping burning, and it was a success! I love how the topping comes apart in the pasta and flavors the whole dish. Next time I'm going to try this with a little bread crumb/ parm topping for some crunch. Definitely making again!

  • hammacher 27 Dec, 2012

    We love this recipe and make it often, but does anyone have the issue of the topping charring under the broiler? I end up scraping it off every time. How do you compensate?

  • hornstjl 23 Sep, 2012

    Wasn't a hit at all.

  • cyrcyp 6 Feb, 2012

    This method of cooking Salmon has become one of our favorites. I love the fennel and it adds a piquant flavor to the salmon. I often don't cook the pasta as I'm allergic to milk products but serve the pasta and spinach separately.

  • cyrcyp 6 Feb, 2012

    This method of cooking Salmon has become one of our favorites. I love the fennel and it adds a piquant flavor to the salmon. I often don't cook the pasta as I'm allergic to milk products but serve the pasta and spinach separately.

  • EmnNatesMom 4 Jan, 2012

    I left out the fennel and used dried parsley, it turned out SO yummy!

  • npiolatto 12 May, 2011

    Unfortunately, I have a strong aversion to fennel. The recipe sounds delicious with out it, but any suggestions for a substitute that would compliment the recipe?

  • mss4038 25 Sep, 2010

    This dish is excellent; super easy to prepare and company worthy. I've made it several times-definitely adding this meal to the rotation. My husband prefers this tossed with fresh baby spinach. And I've used dried parsley as well as fresh parsley and got the same flavor and results.

  • ecollins 5 Aug, 2010

    I made this last night, and it was delicious. The leftovers were good, too. I kept everything seperate when storing it. I used low-fat sour cream and whole grain pasta. I also used collared greens in place of spinach. It was wonderful in texture. And yes, there was way too much pasta.

  • fruitvalekid 6 Jul, 2010

    I made this nice pasta salad today and liked it, only I made half for husband and myself and it still was a lot of pasta.

  • ryantsmile 12 Jan, 2009

    Twizz1ler, has great low cal and fat recipe's.

  • vmsullivan 10 Jan, 2009

    Looks very interesting and I can't wait to try it. But four ounces of pasta per person?? I'd recommend 2 ounces of pasta per person, or 1/2 pound in total.

  • Twizz1ler 9 Jan, 2009

    This looks good - I think I might try it with the LF sour cream or yogurt and whole wheat pasta. I would love more healthy but comfort recipes for the cold Chicago winter - anyone know more sites to look?

  • patricia melody 9 Jan, 2009

    Jenava...Most of the fat comes from the salmon, which is good fat. Use reduced fat sour cream and really 1 TBL spoon of light brown sugar, not much and it adds to the flavor of this recipe. I like Ram9270's version, too

  • ram9270 9 Jan, 2009

    This dish is very popular in Italy,where I live. This version of the recipe is much more complicated than necessary. You can use smoked salmon instead of fresh, cut into slivers, cooked in regular cream on the stove, and then added to the cooked pasta. Salt is only necessary in the pasta. None of the other ingredients are needed and will make the dish just as tasty, and much faster to prepare.

  • tobijest 9 Jan, 2009

    Jenava, thanks for the additional information! very helpful.

  • Jenava 9 Jan, 2009

    Nutrition Facts:
    Serving Size 341 g
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 703
    Calories from Fat 162
    Total Fat 18.0g
    Total Carbohydrates 91.4g
    Dietary Fiber 12.4g
    Protein 43.2g

    While this IS healthy if you use whole wheat pasta, use nonfat plain yogurt instead of sour cream, and omit the sugar, I have to wonder if this really is for only 4 people...700 calories?

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