Salmon Pasta with Homemade Pesto

Salmon Pasta With Homemade Pesto in a bowl with green beans, orecchiette, basil, lemons and parmesan cheese.
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At once sophisticated and simple, this salmon pasta with homemade basil pesto is delicious hot, but we also love to serve it cold as an elegant riff on pasta salad. Blushing pink roasted salmon and crisp green beans tossed with fresh pesto and perfectly al dente orecchiette make for an easy, healthy weeknight dinner.

Salmon and Pasta and Pesto, Oh My!

So many salmon pasta recipes rely on cream-based sauces, but we prefer our salmon pasta without cream. We think roasted salmon and pesto sauce are a much better match—toss them with some al dente orecchiette pasta, lemon zest and some freshly grated parmesan cheese for an easy salmon pasta that is both healthy and satisfying.  

Ingredients for Salmon Pasta With Homemade Pesto lemons, orecchiette, parmesan cheese

4-Ingredient Salmon Pasta Magic:

Born on the Italian riviera, fresh basil pesto sauce is a natural partner for fish, and that classic, summery pairing inspired us to create this easy salmon pasta recipe. With only four main ingredients, it’s easy enough for a weeknight but elegant enough for company. All you’ll need to make our lemon-kissed salmon pasta recipe is:

  • Pasta! We like orecchiette noodles for this, but any noodle you love will work. Keep in mind that if you’re planning to serve it cold as a salmon pasta salad, typically small pasta shapes—think penne, rigatoni or bowties—work best.
  • Salmon. Simply bake a one-pound filet of salmon for 12 minutes. This pasta is also a great way to use up leftover salmon.
  • Pesto sauce—our salmon pasta sauce of choice! Fragrant basil and fresh garlic, whirled together with plenty of rich, golden, heart-healthy olive oil—homemade pesto simply can’t be beat. 
  • Green beans. Because tossing some vegetables with your salmon and pasta rounds this one-bowl salmon pasta out into a meal.
pasta, green beans, salmon, pesto, parmesan and lemon zest in a bowl ready to be tossed.

How To Make Salmon Pasta with Fresh Pesto Sauce

If you’re a skilled multi-tasker—and what home cook isn’t?—you can pull this salmon pesto pasta recipe together in about 15 minutes. Here’s how:

  1. While you get a big pot of salted water—it should be as salty as the sea—boiling, preheat the oven.
  2. As things heat up, lay your salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet, and make your pesto sauce.
  3. The water will come to a boil right at the same time that your oven comes to temperature because you (much like this salmon pasta recipe) are JUST THAT GOOD. Pop that salmon in the oven to bake and pour your pasta noodles of choice into the boiling water.
  4. When the pasta has just about a minute left, add the sliced green beans to the salted, boiling water right along with the nearly-done pasta. That’s right—your salmon and pasta and green beans should all be done at the SAME MAGICAL MOMENT. You rockstar, you.
  5. Toss the drained green beans and pasta and baked salmon with your freshly-made pesto, and finish it off with some bright lemon zest and a dusting of parmesan cheese.
  6. EAT UP!

Make This Easy Salmon Pasta Even Easier:

Because sometimes you just need dinner to be really, really, really easy. Our salmon pesto pasta recipe can be made even easier than it already is in a couple of ways:

  • Swap store-bought pesto sauce for homemade pesto. It’s not going to be *quite* as good, but if you’re having the kind of day where you just need your salmon pasta sauce to come out of a jar, we totally get it. BEEN. THERE.
  • Use leftover salmon instead of baking it day-of. Obviously this only works if you are lucky enough to have leftover salmon. But if you’re one of those people who sits down on Sunday night and plans out a week of meals, might we suggest that you plan to make this salmon Niçoise on Tuesday and use the leftover salmon the next night in this salmon pasta. That’d be pretty genius of you now, wouldn’t it?
  • Skip the green beans. One less thing, no less delicious (and only a little less healthy.)
  • Plan to serve it cold! If you serve this chilled as a salmon pasta salad, you can make it up to one day ahead of when you plan to serve it. All you’d have to do on the night you want to eat it is open up the fridge and serve.
Salmon Pasta With Homemade Pesto in a bowl with green beans, orecchiette, basil, lemons and parmesan cheese.

Tools You’ll Need:

Other Fish Recipes We Love:

Salmon Pasta With Homemade Pesto in a bowl with green beans, orecchiette, basil, lemons and parmesan cheese.

Salmon Pesto Pasta, Please! 

We hope you make this salmon pasta recipe, and that you love it, too! Snap a photo of your finished salmon pasta and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Salmon Pasta with Homemade Pesto

Serves 6


1 lb salmon filet
1 lb orecchiette, or any pasta you love
½ lb green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup pesto
1 tbsp lemon zest
½ cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Roast salmon on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet at 375°F for 10 min.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water—it should be as salty as the sea to a boil.
  3. Cook pasta according to package. When the pasta has just about a minute left, add the green beans to the pot.
  4. Drain the blanched green beans and pasta then toss is with the pesto, lemon zest and salmon broken into pieces.
  5. Sprinkle it with the parmesan cheese and serve.