This Creamy Canned Salmon Pasta is the perfect dinner to make on a busy weekday night! It's restaurant worthy and takes less than 30 minutes to make. I highly recommend choosing tagliatelle pasta. Serve it on its own or with a side salad.
Why This Recipe Works
Restaurant-worthy - We all want amazing dinners but we don't always have the time to cook complicated dishes. With this pasta, you can say no to take-out and still have a restaurant-worthy dinner on your table ready in less than 40 minutes! If you want something even quicker, try my Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino. It takes only 15 minutes!
So creamy - The combination of milk (I used cashew) and parmesan (or pecorino) always creates a luscious, creamy pasta that instantly becomes everyone's favorite and the ultimate comfort food! Try my Creamy Broccoli Pasta if you have leftover cashew milk or parmesan and want to try a similar recipe to this one.
Packed with flavor - There are lots of different flavors in this dish that perfectly balance each other out. Sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh dill, capers, and salmon all go really well together and make for a delicious dinner or lunch.
- Pasta - I went with tagliatelle for this recipe but pretty much any pasta shape you prefer works here! Spaghetti, fettuccine, fusilli, penne, farfalle, rigatoni, the list goes on!
- Canned salmon - I usually go with pink salmon without skin or bones or any added salt. Both sockeye and pink salmon are great choices. Wild, sustainably sourced salmon is always the best choice. Go with salmon with skin and bones for more flavor, protein, and nutrients, if you don't mind the texture. The bones in canned salmon are soft and totally safe to eat.
- Sundried tomatoes - Tomatoes packed in oil are the best choice here. They have a ton of flavor and are much softer than dry ones. If you only have dry sundried tomatoes, soak them in hot water for 30 minutes before using to soften them up.
- Capers - I recommend using capers in vinegar, not ones in salt. They add more flavor and much-needed acidity that balances out the creamy sauce perfectly. If you can't find capers, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice instead.
- Fresh herbs - Fresh dill is the best choice here but parsley or chives would also work great. Add a mix of all three for even more flavor!
- Cheese - Parmesan cheese is a classic but pecorino is my personal favorite. Pecorino is usually made with sheep cheese which is great for those avoiding cow's dairy. It also has a stronger and saltier flavor than parmesan which I always prefer. Use vegan parmesan if preferred.
Variations and Substitutions
- Make it vegan - If you want to make this pasta without the salmon, I highly recommend you check out this Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Capers and Dill. It's very similar to this recipe but it's vegan.
- Fresh salmon - If you prefer to cook your salmon yourself, the easiest way would be to roast the salmon with avocado oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic, and your favorite herbs (oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, etc).
- Tuna - If you don't have canned salmon, you can use canned tuna instead. Drain it and use it as you would canned salmon.
Sautee finely chopped onion with avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes. You want it to just turn translucent, not caramelized.
Add minced garlic and tomato puree and saute for another minute stirring constantly, just until it's fragrant.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add sundried tomatoes, capers, fresh dill and stir everything together.
Add drained canned salmon and mix again breaking up the salmon into smaller pieces.
Add milk to the sauce and mix everything to make sure any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan are released. Sprinkle in the cheese and mix again allowing the cheese to melt before you add the pasta.
Once the pasta finishes cooking, reserve one cup of the cooking water for the sauce and drain and rinse the pasta to stop the cooking process.
Add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce and salmon and gently toss everything together. Add a splash or two of the pasta water and toss again. Add more pasta water as needed to reach desired consistency.
Serve the pasta with an extra sprinkle of parmesan or pecorino cheese and fresh dill for garnish.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Always wait for it to cool completely before closing the container with a lid. The pasta will taste the best eaten within the first 2 days.
To reheat the pasta, transfer it to a skillet or a saucepan and heat over medium heat with a splash of water to make sure the pasta doesn't stick. When you're reheating pasta, there's always a chance it will start falling apart but it will still be safe to eat. Gluten-free pasta always falls apart easier than wheat pasta when reheated.
I have a very similar recipe on the blog that's fully vegan! Head over to this Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Capers and Dill post to check it out!
Just like with any pasta dish, this one is best made right to serving. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for about 2 days and can be reheated.
More Pasta Recipes
If you're looking for even more pasta dishes, definitely check out these four recipes below! If you like fish and seafood, the pesto orzo is a must-try! To see all the latest pasta recipes, head over to the Pasta recipes category.
Creamy Canned Salmon Pasta
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 2-4 1x
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 200g dry pasta (I chose tagliatelle)
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (approx. ½ cup)
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained, rinsed, and chopped
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1-2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
- 2 cans of salmon, drained (two 142g cans)
- 1 cup milk (I used cashew milk)
- ½ cup parmesan cheese (or pecorino, plus more for serving)
- Cook pasta in a large pot of water with a generous pinch of salt according to package directions.
- Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add finely chopped yellow onion and cook stirring often for 4-5 minutes until translucent.
- Add minced garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute just until fragrant.
- Mix in chopped sundried tomatoes, capers, fresh dill, and salmon. Stir everything together.
- Pour in the milk and stir until well combined into a sauce. Bring the sauce back to a simmer and add the parmesan cheese.
- Once your pasta is cooked, save 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water.
- Add the pasta to the pan with sauce and toss gently to coat. Add pasta water as needed to thin out the sauce.
- Serve sprinkled with extra parmesan.
Serve any leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
This dish can easily be made dairy-free by using vegan milk (I like cashew for a neutral flavor) and any vegan parmesan you like.
The same sauce can also be made with canned tuna if you don’t have any salmon or want to change things up.
Keywords: salmon, creamy pasta
Hello! Would like to make but curious.. 1/2 what of sun dried tomatoes? :-)
Veronika | thehealthfulideas
1/2 cup! Sorry about that, thank you for pointing it out. The recipe card has been updated :)
Delicious! I've tried the similar vegan version of this recipe you made and I like this one just as much!
How big are the salmon cans that you are suggesting? Salmon comes in many tin sizes in Aus. Thanks
Veronika | thehealthfulideas
One can is 142 grams. Thank you for bringing that up! I'll add it to the recipe card.
Mine did not get creamy at all. The flavor was good, and even added a full cup of past water. Seems it should have heavy cream or more milk.