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June 22, 2023

Salmon Pasta with Homemade Pesto

Blushing pink roasted salmon and crisp green beans tossed with fresh pesto and perfectly al dente orecchiette make for a healthy, one-bowl dinner you and your family will love.


salmon pasta with homemade pesto tossed with green beans and lemon zest and sprinkled with parmesan cheese in a serving bowl
Photography by Gayle McLeod

A Four Ingredient Salmon Pasta Recipe

Roasted salmon and pesto sauce are a tasty 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. Serve it up on its own, or alongside a Kale Caesar Salad and crunchy Garlic Bread for a real meal deal.

salmon filet, green beans, pasta, pesto, salt, lemon zest and parmesan cheese in prep bowls

Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Pesto Salmon Pasta

Born on the Italian riviera, fresh basil pesto sauce is a natural partner for fish, and that classic pairing inspired us to create this simple 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 – Fragrant basil and fresh garlic, whirled together with plenty of rich 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. Green beans add a nice crunch and love pesto, like in our simple Pesto Green Beans recipe.

a salmon filet on a parchment lined baking sheet being seasoned with salt
baked salmon being flaked with 2 forks on a parchment lined baking sheet
pasta and green beans being cooked in a large pot of boiling water
baked salmon, green beans, lemon zest, pesto, pasta and parmesan in a large bowl

How to Make Salmon Pasta with Fresh Pesto Sauce

  1. Turn up the heat! While you get a big pot of salted water—it should be as salty as the sea—boiling, preheat the oven.

  2. Make the pesto sauce. As things heat up, lay your salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet, and whiz the pesto sauce together in a food processor.

  3. Pop that salmon in the oven to bake and pour your pasta noodles of choice into the boiling water.

  4. Add the green beans. 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. Stir it up. Toss the drained green beans and pasta and baked salmon with your freshly-made pesto, and finish grate some bright lemon zest and a dusting of parmesan cheese.

  6. Eat up!

salmon pasta with homemade pesto tossed with green beans and lemon zest and sprinkled with parmesan cheese in a serving bowl

How to Store Salmon Pesto Pasta Leftovers + Tips

  • Pesto freezes really well. You can store any leftover pesto sauce in the fridge for a few days, and up to six months in the freezer. Salmon is best within a couple of days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer. Pasta doesn’t do great in the freezer, so best to eat that as quickly as possible!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Skip the green beans. One less thing, no less delicious.

  • 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 serving bowl next to a jar of pesto and a bowl of shaved parmesan for topping

More Great Salmon Recipes From The Modern Proper

Salmon Pesto Pasta, Please

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Salmon Pasta with Homemade Pesto

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 528


  • 1 (1-pound) salmon filet
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound orecchiette (or medium pasta of your choice)
  • ½ pound green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup basil pesto, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center position. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil.

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the package directions. When the pasta has 1 minute left, add the green beans to the pot. Drain the green beans and pasta and return to the pot.

  3. Meanwhile, place the salmon on the prepared sheet pan. Season all over with the salt. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, or until the fish easily flakes with a fork.

  4. In a large bowl, toss the pasta, green beans, and salmon with the pesto and lemon zest until the fish is flaked into bite-size pieces.

  5. Divide between bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan to serve.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories528
  • Protein28 g
  • Carbohydrates48 g
  • Total Fat25 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol23 mg
  • sodium488 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Salmon Pasta with Homemade Pesto

Questions & Reviews

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  • Carol

    What an easy way to make use of leftover salmon! I used asparagus and frozen peas because I needed to use those up too. I did use a little pasta water to bring everything together, because I was using leftover salmon. Easy and delicious meal!

    Thanks Carol, so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Jenn

    This was wonderful! Loved the combination of salmon, green beans and pesto!

    Thanks Jenn, we love this combo too!