Creamy Lemon Pasta with Smoked Salmon

Creamy lemon pasta with smoked salmon is an easy 20-minute meal that is easy enough to make on a weeknight! This smoked salmon lemon pasta is rich and creamy, while also feeling light thanks to zingy fresh lemon and bright and peppery arugula. 

top down view of two plates of creamy lemon pasta with smoked salmon, ready to eat!

If you’ve been looking for a way to mix-up your usual pasta routine, this creamy lemon pasta with smoked salmon is an excellent choice!

Smoked salmon is a delicious and versatile protein that doesn’t require much preparation to enjoy, making it a great option for a weeknight meal. Plus, smoked salmon is packed with all kinds of good-for-you nutrients, vitamins, and omega-3s.

Make this quick and easy smoked salmon pasta recipe on a weeknight for a delicious, high-protein meal. Or make it on a weekend for a special pasta dinner to enjoy with family or friends!

TELL ME ABOUT THIS SMOKED SALMON PASTA RECIPE

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Flavor: Bright lemon is accented by zingy fresh arugula and rich smoked salmon.

Time: It will take you approximately 20 minutes to make this creamy salmon pasta recipe. 

ingredients needed to make creamy lemon pasta with smoked salmon.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

  • Water – for cooking the pasta. Some of the pasta water is reserved for the sauce as well
  • Whole Wheat Linguine (or long pasta of choice, see “Pasta Options for This Cream Salmon Pasta Recipe” section for alternatives)
  • Salted Butter
  • Minced Garlic
  • Fresh Lemons – juice and zest will be used
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chives
  • Fresh Arugula

PASTA OPTIONS FOR THIS CREAMY SALMON PASTA RECIPE

You have several options for the type of pasta to use when making smoked salmon pasta recipes:

  • Whole Wheat Pasta – this is the pasta I’ve chosen to use in this recipe because I try to incorporate more whole grains into my diet. Whole wheat pasta is also higher in fiber, higher in protein, and higher in vitamins and minerals than enriched pasta.
  • Regular Pasta – not into whole grain pasta? No worries! Select your favorite standard pasta and enjoy.
  • Gluten Free Pasta – selecting a gluten free pasta is a great option if you’re serving this dish to someone with celiac disease. 
  • Chickpea or Lentil Pasta – there are more and more plant-based pastas on the market these days. Selecting a lentil or chickpea pasta can be a great way to add more plant-based protein and fiber to your diet!

There are also several shapes of pasta that work well in this recipe. I recommend choosing a long and flat “twirling” noodle for this creamy lemon pasta with smoked salmon. However, any of the following noodle shapes would work wonderfully: 

  • Linguine – this is the shape I use in this recipe
  • Fettuccine – a little wider long and flat noodle that would be great in this recipe
  • Spaghetti
  • Bucatini 
  • Vermicelli
  • Angel Hair

Not seeing your favorite pasta shape on this list? You can still give it a try! Just make sure to review the cooking time recommended on your pasta’s packaging to ensure you do not overcook it.

12 image collage showing how to make creamy lemon pasta with smoked salmon

OVERVIEW: HOW TO MAKE CREAMY LEMON PASTA WITH SMOKED SALMON

  1. Cook pasta per package instructions, reserving 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  2. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large high-rimmed skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the minced garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds-1 minute).
  4. Add the lemon juice, half of the lemon zest, salt, pepper, and salmon to the skillet and heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream and ½ cup of pasta water. Simmer for 4-5 minutes until thickened slightly.
  6. Add the chives and cooked pasta to the lemon cream sauce. Gently toss the pasta to coat it.
  7. Toss the fresh arugula in with the pasta and serve immediately.

RECIPE VARIATIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Fresh chive alternatives: if you cannot find (or do not like) fresh chives, you could try sliced green onions or diced shallots. If using either of these options, sauté them with the butter prior to adding the garlic to soften them.
  • More veggies: if you’d like to add some additional vegetables to this smoked salmon lemon arugula pasta, here are a few suggestions:
    • Increase the amount of arugula used for serving
    • Add fresh spinach. I would recommend 1-2 cups, ribboned and mixed in with the lemon cream pasta sauce to wilt before the noodles are added
    • Green peas would also make a nice addition to this pasta. Start by adding 1 cup of cooked green peas (this would be a great use of those frozen steamer packs!) at the same time you add the noodles to the sauce to be coated
close up of a plate filled high with creamy lemon pasta with smoked salmon, ready to eat!

MODIFICATIONS FOR DIETARY RESTRICTIONS: GLUTEN-FREE

This smoked salmon pasta recipe can be modified easily to be gluten free.  

  • To make these into a gluten free pasta recipe by selecting a pasta that is certified to be gluten free. There is a wide variety of gluten free pasta options now, making this an easy substitution! 

Because this specific pasta recipe showcases smoked salmon and relies on butter and heavy cream for the sauce, I am not outlining ways to make this vegan or dairy free as it would just be a different recipe. If you did want to make this into a vegetarian lemon arugula pasta, you could just skip the salmon.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

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close up of a white plate filled high with smoked salmon pasta, with a fork twirling a big bite of pasta.

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Smoked Salmon

Creamy lemon pasta with smoked salmon is an easy 20-minute meal that is easy enough to make on a weeknight! This smoked salmon lemon pasta is rich and creamy, while also feeling light thanks to zingy fresh lemon and bright and peppery arugula.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 8 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Mains
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 733 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Water, for boiling pasta + reserving pasta water
  • 1 lb linguine*
  • 3 Tbsp salted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium lemons, juiced & zested
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 8 oz smoked salmon, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 C heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh chives
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh arugula

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta per package instructions, reserving 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  • While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large high-rimmed skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds-1 minute).
  • Add the lemon juice, half of the lemon zest, salt, pepper, and salmon to the skillet and heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream and ½ cup of pasta water. Simmer for 4-5 minutes until thickened slightly.
  • Add the chives and cooked pasta to the lemon cream sauce. Gently toss the pasta to coat it.
  • Toss the fresh arugula in with the pasta and serve immediately.

Notes

*Pasta options for this creamy salmon pasta recipe:
  • Whole Wheat Pasta – this is the pasta I’ve chosen to use in this recipe because I try to incorporate more whole grains into my diet. Whole wheat pasta is also higher in fiber, higher in protein, and higher in vitamins and minerals than enriched pasta.
  • Regular Pasta – not into whole grain pasta? No worries! Select your favorite standard pasta and enjoy.
  • Gluten Free Pasta – selecting a gluten free pasta is a great option if you’re serving this dish to someone with celiac disease. 
  • Chickpea or Lentil Pasta – there are more and more plant-based pastas on the market these days. Selecting a lentil or chickpea pasta can be a great way to add more plant-based protein and fiber to your diet!
 
*There are also several shapes of pasta that work well in this recipe. I recommend choosing a long and flat “twirling” noodle for this creamy lemon pasta with smoked salmon. However, any of the following noodle shapes would work wonderfully: 
  • Linguine – this is the shape I use in this recipe
  • Fettuccine – a little wider long and flat noodle that would be great in this recipe
  • Spaghetti
  • Bucatini 
  • Vermicelli
  • Angel Hair

Nutrition

Calories: 733kcalCarbohydrates: 92gProtein: 27gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 823mgPotassium: 487mgFiber: 5gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1069IUVitamin C: 30mgCalcium: 82mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. However, please know that I strive to provide links to products that I actually use and wholeheartedly recommend whenever possible.
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