Our simple Salmon Pasta Salad recipe has tender chunks of salmon, pasta and green peas mixed with creamy Greek yogurt, lemon and dill dressing. Serve it as a summer side salad for a cookout or picnic or as a lighter dinner or lunch.

Why We Love This Recipe For Salmon Pasta Salad

This pasta salad with salmon takes 30 minutes to make. Simply toss the cooked pasta with leftover salmon, creamy dressing and a few simple seasonal additions. Make it for a quick dinner or a satisfying lunch on a hot summer day. It’s the perfect side dish to bring to a potluck, backyard barbecue, or picnic in the summer.

Recipe Highlights

  • High in protein
  • Made in just 30 minutes
  • Greek yogurt makes the mayonnaise-based dressing even lower in calories
  • Calls for leftover salmon, simple pantry staples and ready-to-use ingredients to create a dish that is greater than the sum of its parts
  • A favorite for the whole family!
  • One of those pasta dishes that is just what you want when it is too hot to for hot pasta!

Menu Planning Tip: If you are planning your weeknight menu- make a little extra salmon one night then use the leftover salmon for this pasta salad the next night!

Key Ingredients for Pasta Salad with Salmon

ingredients for salmon pasta salad including greek yogurt, cooked salmon, chives and dill, farfalle pasta, mayonnaise, peas, lemon, dijon, and salt and pepper.
  • Cooked Salmon: I like to make this pasta salmon salad with leftover grilled cedar plank salmon or seared salmon but you can use any leftover salmon. Just make sure to choose one of the salmon recipes that doesn’t have a strong marinade or glaze with contrasting flavors that wouldn’t go with the lemon and dill in this recipe.
  • Pasta: Farfalle (bowtie) pasta is our favorite, but penne pasta or spiral pasta also work well. Feel free to choose another pasta shape that you have on hand.
  • Greek Yogurt: Plain, non-fat or full-fat.
  • Mayonnaise: In combination with the Greek yogurt, mayo will make this dressing extra creamy.
  • Lemon: Both zest and juice.
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Seasonings: Salt and ground pepper (preferably white pepper).
  • Herbs: Chopped dill and chives.
  • Peas: Frozen and thawed, or fresh peas.

How To Make Pasta Salad with Leftover Salmon

cook pasta and make creamy dressing

Step 1: Cook Pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. Drain thoroughly, and then run cold water over the pasta to cool.

Step 2: Make Creamy Dressing

Meanwhile, whisk Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon, salt, dill and pepper together in a large mixing bowl.

coat the pasta with the dressing and then add the peas, salmon, and chives

Step 3: Combine Pasta and Dressing

Add the cooked pasta to the Greek yogurt mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Step 4: Add Remaining Ingredients

Add the peas, salmon and chives. Toss to coat with the dressing and disperse throughout the pasta. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 4 hours in advance. 

close up look at salmon pasta salad in a white bowl with extra peas on top and a wooden spoon on the side

FAQs and Expert tips

Can I use canned salmon in this pasta salad?

You can make this recipe with canned salmon. We like the refined texture of canned pink salmon for this recipe over the varieties that are packed with skin and bone. If using canned salmon, drain it well and remove any large pieces of skin or bone (if it has any.)

Do I have to rinse my pasta after cooking?

Yes, for a couple of reasons. One, it stops the cooking process when you run it under cool water so it keeps it perfectly al dente. It also washes away some starches and makes sure the pasta won’t stick together and clump in the pasta salad.

Can I make this gluten-free?

Yes you can make this recipe gluten-free. You can use gluten-free pasta instead of the wheat pasta. Make sure to cook the pasta according to the package instructions and do not overcook it.

Make Ahead

We think this salmon pasta salad is best when it is freshly prepared. Due to the fact that this dressing is made with mostly Greek yogurt instead of a traditional mayonnaise pasta salad dressing, it is lower in fat and can take on a dryer texture after a little while. After testing, we found that after a few hours, the dressing really gets absorbed by the pasta. So we suggest:

To Make Ahead: Prep the salad components ahead but do not stir everything together until just before serving. Keep the dressing in a jar or resealable container and keep the veggies/herb and salmon combo separate from the cooked pasta. To keep the pasta from clumping, toss it with a little oil before transferring to a glass storage container or ziplock bag.

Storage: Stir together in a large bowl when you are ready to serve. If you are prepping ahead for company, once the salad is combined keep refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container for up to four hours. 

Leftovers will keep for two days. Keep refrigerated in an air-tight container.

Variations To Try

This pasta salad with salmon is incredibly versatile. Try it with one or more of these variations:

  • Add in finely chopped garlic scapes or grate a garlic clove into the dressing.
  • Serve on a bed of lettuce with tomato wedges.
  • Instead of frozen peas, use garden fresh shelling peas or sliced snap peas.
  • Use flaked smoked salmon (use hot smoked salmon, not lox.)
  • Try a dairy-free variation and use our lemon vinaigrette instead of the creamy dressing.
  • Add in a little crumbled cooked bacon for a smoky and savory bite.

Summer Luncheon Menu

White Bean Bruschetta

Salmon Pasta Salad

Tossed Greens with Lemon Vinaigrette

Grilled Greek Chicken Thighs

Watermelon Sorbet

Additional Pasta Salad Recipes To Try

At Healthy Seasonal Recipes, we specialize in cooking with fresh veggies and creating weeknight meals. Sign up HERE to get more produce-forward dinner ideas for FREE! If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought! Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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salmon pasta salad with pee in a large white bowl and a wooden spoon set on the side

Salmon Pasta Salad


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 4 reviews

Description

This Salmon Pasta Salad is creamy and lemony with both lemon juice and lemon zest in the mayonnaise-based dressing. The bright taste of fresh dill along with Dijon mustard and a hint of white pepper add nuance to this simple summer salad. 


Ingredients

Scale

4 cups uncooked farfalle (bowtie) pasta

1 cup plain Greek yogurt, non-fat or full-fat

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chopped dill

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, preferably white pepper

1 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

6 ounces cold cooked boneless, skinless salmon, flaked (can sub canned drained salmon if desired)

1/4 cup chopped chives


Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain thoroughly. Run cold water over the pasta to cool.
  2. Meanwhile whisk Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon, salt, dill and pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the Greek yogurt mixture and toss to coat. 
  4. Add peas, salmon and chives. Toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 4 hours in advance.

Notes

Storage: Serve your salmon pasta immediately or store it in an airtight container for up to four hours in the refrigerator. 

  • Active Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 244
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 15 g