Creamy Cajun Salmon Pasta recipe pairs flaky salmon with fettuccine in a rich, creamy Cajun sauce. It's made with butter, garlic, and shallots, followed by white wine, homemade Cajun seasoning, heavy cream, and greens. Finish with lemon juice, fresh parsley, and seasoning for a taste of Louisiana.
If your family is sick of spaghetti with marinara sauce, bolognese or carbonara on repeat, try this flavorful, slightly spicy Creamy Cajun Salmon Pasta. My kids are huge pasta lovers so I'm always looking for new pasta sauce ideas.
This one I love because it's a great opportunity to include more fish in your daily diet. The creamy sauce plus aromatic Cajun spices make it very tasty and comforting. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments!
Looking for more comfort food? Try this one-pan Ricotta Mac and Cheese!
What's to love about this recipe
- Easy to make dinner ready in 30 minutes
- One pan meal (aside from boiling pasta separately)
- Super flavorful thanks to Cajun spices
- Healthy and nutritious: rich in protein, omega-3s (from salmon) and fiber (from greens)
- Customizable: swap salmon for shrimp or chicken if you prefer
- If you like Cajun flavors, try this Cajun Shrimp Salad, too!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Salmon: I use good quality fresh or frozen skinless salmon filets
- Pasta: I really like fettuccine pasta or this recipe but linguine or spaghetti will also work
- Cream: heavy whipping cream will give you thick and rich sauce but if you prefer, swap it for light cream or half and half
- Oil: I like avocado oil but any plant oil will work
- Butter: for additional depth and flavor
- Arugula: baby arugula works great. You can swap it for baby spinach if you prefer.
- White Wine: any leftover white wine will work. If you don't want to use wine, swap for seafood or chicken broth
- Cajun seasoning: I have a great homemade mix I make (see below) but you can also use storebought Cajun seasoning to save time
- Garlic and Shallot: fresh is best
- Lemon: fresh lemon juice works best
- Fresh Parsley: for garnish. Swap for chives or dill, if you prefer.
- Salt and pepper: I like sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to finish off this pasta dish
Homemade Cajun seasoning
- This is my favorite blend that I also use in my Cajun Salad Dressing. Simply mix together the following spices:
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (reduce to ½ if you want milder seasoning)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Store in a jar or airtight container in a cool and dry place.
If you like the idea of homemade seasoning blends, try my Mild Taco Seasoning.
How to make Creamy Cajun Salmon Pasta
Step 1: Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of water. Once cooked, drain it and set it aside.
Note: Save about ½ cup of pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce if you prefer a saucier dish.
Step 2: Season both sides of the salmon fillets with 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (Image 1).
Step 3: In a large pan or skillet, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Cook the salmon until it's seared and mostly cooked through (Image 2), approximately 3-4 minutes per side (4-5 minutes if your filets are thick). Then, transfer the salmon to a plate, and using two forks, flake it apart. You can also choose to flake the salmon just before serving.
Step 4: In the same skillet, which is now empty, melt butter, add chopped shallot, and minced garlic (Image 3). Cook these ingredients for 1-2 minutes, or until they become fragrant.
Step 5: Pour in the white wine and let it cook for about 5 minutes, allowing it to reduce.Stir in the heavy cream and the remaining 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (Image 4). Cook for approximately 1 minute.
Step 6: Then, add the arugula, lemon juice, Continue to stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until the arugula wilts (Images 5 & 6).
Step 7: Combine the cooked pasta with the sauce in the skillet and toss it to ensure it's evenly coated (Image 7).
Note: If you want the sauce to be thinner, add the reserved pasta cooking water or more cream.
Step 8: Add the flaked salmon to the mixture, garnish the dish with parsley leaves, and season with salt and pepper if desired (Image 8).
Serve and enjoy your meal, preferably accompanied by a glass of white wine.
How to store it
If you have leftovers, you can either refrigerate them or freeze for another night.
- Fridge: transfer the pasta into an airtight container, let it cool completely and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: transfer the pasta to airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Ensure you remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the containers with the date and use within 2-3 months for the best quality.
- Thawing Frozen Leftovers: When you're ready to use frozen leftovers, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. This gradual thawing process helps maintain the pasta's texture and flavor.
- Reheating: to reheat use a microwave or stovetop. If your leftovers were frozen, make sure they are completely thawed. Heat until the pasta reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure it's safe to eat. Add a splash of cream or milk if the sauce has thickened too much during storage to restore creaminess.
- I like to serve this creamy salmon pasta with a bowl of big green salad such as Strawberry Spinach Salad with Feta or this simple Chopped Salad.
- If you like bread, a piece of baguette or homemade biscuits will work well.
- To add some more veggies to the meal, you can also go with roasted vegetables as a side. My favorite way to roast them is in the air fryer - try these Butternut Squash Fries or my Air Fryer Eggplant. Asparagus, brussel sprouts or broccoli are also great options.
More salmon recipe inspiration
More expert tips
- Cook the pasta al dente: it should be cooked but not mushy, especially that it will sit in hot pasta sauce which will soften it further.
- Sear but don't overcook the salmon: you want a nice brown sear on the outside but it should be flaky and soft inside. To achieve that, make sure to use a non-stick pan or a well seasoned cast iron skillet.
- Taste the sauce before serving: some Cajun seasoning has salt in it while other kinds don't. Check if the dish is salty enough and add more salt, if needed.
- Save some pasta water: if the final sauce is too thick or not saucy enough, add a splash of pasta cooking water to loosen it. You can also add more cream but pasta water works well and isn't as fatty.
Yes! To make this salmon pasta dairy-free, swap the cream for coconut cream or cashew cream and swap butter for plant oil.
Absolutely! Add chopped up red bell pepper to the shallots and cook together. Or, add some halved cherry tomatoes, chopped up sun-dried tomatoes or frozen peas at the end. You can also double the amount of fresh greens in the sauce.
Cajun cuisine is deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of Louisiana, particularly the Cajun and Creole communities. Cajun cuisine is known for its bold and unique flavor profile. It incorporates a rich blend of spices and seasonings, including ingredients like cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic, and onion, which create a distinctive and spicy taste that appeals to many palates.
Sure! If you want the sauce to be more cheesy, like creamy Cajun alfredo sauce, add some cream cheese with the cream and/or a generous amount of grated parmesan. You can also serve it with some freshly grated hard cheese, such as pecorino or parmesan.
Shrimp or chicken breast would work the best. For an extra special meal, you can also use lobster meat.
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- 10 oz salmon fillets skinless
- 10 oz fettucine or other pasta, such as linguine or spaghetti, uncooked
- ⅔ cup heavy cream or light cream
- 1 tablespoon oil I used avocado oil
- 1 tbps butter
- 2 cups arugula or spinach, packed
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 shallot diced small
- salt and black pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- ½ lemon juiced
- Cook pasta according to package instructions in salted water. Drain and set aside.
- Season salmon fillets with 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, on both sides.
- Heat up oil in a large skillet. Cook salmon until seared and mostly cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, flake with 2 forks and set aside. You can also flake the salmon right before serving.
- To a now empty skillet, add butter, chopped shallot and minced garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add white wine and cook for about 5 minutes to reduce.
- Pour in heavy cream, stir and cook for about 1 minute. Add arugula, lemon juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning. Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until arugula wilts.
- Add cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
- Add flaked salmon, garnish with parsley leaves and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve and enjoy, preferably with a glass of white wine.