This 30-minute Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad is really easy to make and so delicious! It's made with fresh spring vegetables and creamy yogurt dressing. The perfect healthy lunch or a light dinner!
Why This Recipe Works
Only 30 minutes - This pasta salad is really easy to make and very simple. If you chop your veggies and make the dressing while the pasta is cooking, it can take you even less than 30 minutes to make!
Packed with flavor - The creamy yogurt dressing really makes the salad. It has both lemon juice and lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, fresh herbs, and garlic. All the flavors pair perfectly with the smoked salmon.
Light but satisfying - The smoked salmon and Greek yogurt add protein to the salad while olive oil adds healthy fats. Everything together makes this salad filling while keeping it light and healthy.
- Pasta - Practically any pasta shape will work in this salad. Generally speaking, you want smaller shapes. The one I used in the photos is Vesuvio pasta.
- Asparagus - Choose firm bright green asparagus spears and don't forget to snap off the woody ends.
- Green peas - Frozen peas work great here. No need to defrost them, just toss them into the boiling pasta water!
- Smoked salmon - Choose pink or sockeye salmon based on your preference.
- Shallots - The milder flavor of shallots goes great with the salmon and creamy dressing but red onion can also be used.
- Cucumber - I chose small Persian cucumbers but English cucumber also works, just chop it into smaller pieces.
- Greek yogurt - Thick Greek yogurt works best here but you can use a vegan unsweetened yogurt if you want to keep the salad dairy-free.
- Dijon mustard - It adds spice and flavor to the dressing. It can't be replaced with any other mustard. I highly recommend adding it but you can replace it with apple cider or champagne vinegar if needed. Add a smaller amount and add more to taste.
Variations and Substitutions
- Quinoa - If you want to keep the salad gluten-free, you can either use gluten-free pasta or quinoa. Quinoa is also a great grain-free option.
- Roasted salmon - If you don't have smoked salmon or want to change it up, you can roast some salmon at 400F for 10-15 minutes.
- Dairy-free - Make the dressing dairy-free by using vegan unsweetened yogurt.
Start by making the dressing. Whisk together Greek yogurt, extra virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, lemon zest, lemon peel, fresh herbs, minced garlic, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper in a medium bowl.
Keep in the fridge until ready to eat. You can make the dressing ahead of time and store it in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Next, cook the pasta according to the package instructions and while it's cooking, chop all your veggies.
When the pasta is almost done, toss in chopped asparagus and allow the water to come back to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes and then add frozen peas. Let the water come back to a boil again and cook for another minute just to blanch the peas.
Drain and rinse the pasta, asparagus, and peas well. The colder the water, the quicker the pasta will cool. It's best for it to be as cool as possible so that it doesn't warm up the rest of the salad.
Add the pasta, asparagus, peas, cucumbers, shallots, and smoked salmon to a large bowl. If you want to serve the salmon on top instead of mixing it into the salad, keep it aside for now.
Drizzle everything with the creamy dressing and toss gently until everything is well coated. You can reserve some of the dressing for serving or add all of it to the bowl.
I recommend waiting for the pasta, asparagus, and peas to cool down before mixing them with the rest of the vegetables and the dressing. You can speed this up by rinsing them all under cold water well. If you add them warm, they might warm up the rest of the salad but it can be done if you don't have time to wait for the pasta to cool.
I usually mix the smoked salmon together with the rest of the salad but you can also serve it on top to make sure each portion gets the same amount of salmon.
Once you mix everything together, you can serve the salad right away or keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.
This salad has no green so it stores well without wilting down but it does have smoked salmon and dairy which cuts down the time of how long it stays fresh a lot. If you keep the salmon separately, the salad with the dressing will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you mix the salmon into it, it will be only 1-2 days.
Yes, just use a dairy-free yogurt!
Other Salmon Recipes
If you want to try more salmon recipes, definitely check out the two below! If you're a fan of seafood, I highly recommend this Pesto Orzo with Lemon Garlic Shrimp, it's very similar to this salad! To see all the latest pasta recipes (not just fish and seafood ones) head over to the Pasta category.
This pasta salad is creamy, tangy, and so easy to make. It makes a great lunch or a light dinner!
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 heaping tablespoon lemon zest (1 lemon)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
- 2-3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, dill)
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 3 cups dry pasta
- 0.5 lb asparagus (200g or about 20 spears), woody ends trimmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Persian cucumbers or ½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped or sliced
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1 cup green sprouts or arugula (optional)
- 5 oz cold smoked salmon
- To make the dressing, simply add everything to a jar or a bowl and whisk together until combined. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to the package directions.
- Towards the end of cooking 3-5 minutes before the pasta is done, toss in the chopped asparagus.
- For the last two minutes of cooking, add the frozen peas. Wait for the pasta to come back to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Strain the pasta, asparagus, and peas, and run under cold water.
- Add to a bowl and drizzle it with a teaspoon of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking. Allow it to cook for 5-10 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the cucumber, shallot, capers, and sprouts (if using) to the pasta.
- Drizzle everything with the dressing and toss gently to coat well.
- Tear the smoked salmon up into bite-sized pieces, add them to the salad and toss again. Alternatively, you can serve the salmon on top of the salad.
- Enjoy right away or store in the fridge until ready to eat.
The salad is best eaten right away but any leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days. Store in an airtight container.
You can make the salad dressing ahead of time and store it in an airtight jar in the fridge until ready to use (1-2 days).
Keywords: smoked salmon, pasta salad