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Easy Smoked Salmon Pasta with Spinach & Lemon [15 minutes]

This creamy salmon spinach pasta is filled with hot smoked salmon, lemon juice & zest, cream & crème fraîche and done in less than 15 minutes. A perfect weeknight dinner or a quick way to impress at your next dinner party or date! Just follow the video and have a delicious meal on the table in under 15 minutes.

slamon spinach pasta in a pan with lemons in the background

This post was originally published September 16th 2018 and updated with new pictures, some new text and a video on October 20th 2019. The recipe remains the same yummy one I’ve made for years, but the instructions have been clarified slightly.

I’m not sure when I made salmon spinach pasta a part of my repertoire, but I seriously can’t remember a time when it wasn’t one of my go-to recipes. Why? Well, let’s talk about it…

Why I love this Smoked Salmon Spinach Pasta

  • It’s quick and comes together in under 15 minutes. I just love using ingredients like smoked salmon or rotisserie chicken to make cooking a much quicker process, without sacrificing any of the flavor.
  • It’s so tasty and full of great flavors like lemon and smoked salmon. I don’t think there’s a single dish I have craved more often than this one, and missed more on the occasions I’ve been without a kitchen! (To be honest, it might be a tie with my creamy chicken pasta with feta cheese but maybe two favorites can be OK?)
  • It doesn’t leave a lot of dishes – basically just a pot for your pasta & a pan for your sauce. And your plate, unless you enjoy eating out of the pan because then by all means – go ahead.
  • It’s a lighter kind of pasta dish – not as heavy as a red wine chicken pasta for example, but you still get to have your pasta.
  • It has a lot of spinach – and you know I love to add greens to my pastas to make them a bit healthier.
  • It has loads of lemon, and lemon – lemon is probably the best flavor. As well as full of vitamin C, which is so good for you!
  • It’s perfect for a weeknight – but tasty enough for the weekend. And who doesn’t love a dinner party-approved 15-minute dinner??
spinning a fork in salmon spinach pasta

Expert tips for making Smoked Salmon Pasta

  • Add your lemon juice in portions to minimize the risk of the cream curdling.
  • Don’t add any salt before mixing in your pasta & pasta water – if you cooked the pasta in sufficiently salty water (ie water that tastes like the sea) you shouldn’t need to add any. But if you do, just do it when everything has been mixed together.
  • And yeah, salt your pasta water a lot.

Possible substitutions and variations for Smoked Salmon pasta

  • Cream and crème fraîche can be switched completely or in part for each other.
  • And speaking of cream and crème fraîche – you can use full fat, low fat, cooking cream, half and half or any kind you prefer
  • Vary the amount of lemon juice to suit your taste – with the full amount stated in the recipe this dish tastes a lot of lemon, so if that’s not your thing then just use less and taste as you go
  • Use cold smoked salmon or pan seared salmon (or why not oven baked lemon pepper salmon?) instead of hot smoked salmon for a less smoky but equally delicious taste
  • Add some white wine for a fancier version
  • Add dill for a tasty twist
  • Fresh tagliatelle can be substituted for another type of fresh or dried pasta
a forkful of salmon spinach pasta

Frequently Asked Questions about this Smoked Salmon Pasta

Can you reheat smoked salmon pasta?

Yes, you can definitely reheat this dish. I love having it for lunch the day after and it makes a perfect lunchbox meal for school or work.

Can you freeze smoked salmon pasta?

Yes, you can freeze it – and while it will still be tasty, the pasta will easily get overcooked when reheating. For best results, thaw slowly in the fridge before reheating.

Can I use another type of salmon?

Yes, this recipe is delicious with cold smoked salmon and pan fried salmon as well. However, the cold smoked salmon will not fall apart as much in the sauce but remain in pieces.

What can I use instead of cream?

You can use only crème fraiche or milk mixed with cream (or in a pinch – just milk) instead of cream.

What can I use instead of créme fraîche?

You can use only cream or, if that’s all you have, milk, instead of crème fraîche.

Can I make smoked salmon pasta without dairy?

Yes, you can make this dish without dairy. Just switch out the crème fraîche and cream for a non-dairy alternative of your choice.

How to make Smoked Salmon Pasta with Spinach & Lemon

You don’t need to do a lot of prep for this recipe. Just chop your hot smoked salmon, zest your lemon and squeeze out your lemon juice. You can do both the zesting and the squeezing straight over the pan as well, but I prefer to just do it beforehand.

And cook your pasta, but you can do that while making the sauce as well. Either way, cook it about 1 minutes less than done, then drain it but remember to save the pasta water.

heating cream and crème fraîche in a pan

Then start the sauce by heating up cream and crème fraîche in a pan over medium-high heat. When it starts boiling, it’s time to add the spinach.

cooking spinach in cream and crème fraîche and adding lemon zest

Add all the spinach and mix well. Keep on mixing until it has wilted down like in picture 7 above. Then add the lemon zest and mix.

adding lemon juice, pepper and hot smoked salmon to pasta sauce with spinach

Add half of the lemon juice, mix and let simmer for a short while – 30 seconds or so – then add the rest and mix. Follow with black pepper and mix. let it simmer for a few minutes before adding the smoked salmon.

adding pasta and pasta water to salmon spinach pasta

Let the sauce simmer for another minute before adding in the pasta and pasta water. Mix well, let cook for 2 minutes all together, and then serve.

serving salmon spinach pasta

How did you like this salmon pasta recipe? Do you have a massive-craving-recipe like this of your own? Let me know in the comments below!

All the love & lemons,

Emmeline

Easy Smoked Salmon Pasta with Spinach & Lemon [15 minutes]

5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: European
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 483kcal
Author: Emmeline Kemperyd

Ingredients

  • 2.5 dl cream full fat, low fat, half and half or a mix of milk and cream
  • 1 dl crème fraîche
  • 150 g fresh spinach
  • 1 lemon zest of
  • 1.5 dl lemon juice fresh squeezed, 1.5 dl/0.6 cups = ~2 lemons
  • 0.5 tsp black pepper
  • 300 g hot smoked salmon chopped, can be substituted for cold smoked or pan fried salmon
  • 250 g fresh tagliatelle cooked 1 minute less than package instruction in heavily salted water
  • 1.5 dl pasta water

Instructions

  • Heat up the cream and creme fraiche in a pan large enough to hold all the sauce and pasta.
  • Add the spinach and cook until it has wilted down significantly, stirring often.
  • Add lemon zest followed half of the lemon juice. Mix, simmer for about 30 seconds and then add the rest of the lemon juice followed by black pepper. Taste test and let simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add the salmon to the sauce, mix, and let simmer for a minute.
  • Add the pasta together with the pasta water. Give it all a good mix and let it cook for 2 minutes. Done!

Video

Notes

Calorie content assumes you are using half and half for cream and a full fat crème fraîche.
  • Cream and crème fraîche can be switched completely or in part for each other.
  • And speaking of cream and crème fraîche – you can use full fat, low fat, cooking cream, half and half or any kind you prefer
  • Use cold smoked salmon or pan seared salmon (or why not oven baked lemon pepper salmon?) instead of hot smoked salmon for a less smoky but equally delicious taste
  • Fresh tagliatelle can be substituted for another type of fresh or dried past
Nutrition Facts
Easy Smoked Salmon Pasta with Spinach & Lemon [15 minutes]
Amount Per Serving
Calories 483 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 106mg35%
Sodium 679mg30%
Potassium 685mg20%
Carbohydrates 55g18%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 3995IU80%
Vitamin C 40.2mg49%
Calcium 167mg17%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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