This Cajun Salmon Pasta is an easy-to-make entree that's packed with delicious creamy flavor that your whole family will love! It's easy to customize to your tastes and perfect for a simple weeknight dinner.
Do you have any foods you try to eat every week? I like to make salmon for dinner at least once a week since it's packed with so much protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
But sometimes I get bored of the typical honey garlic salmon with a side of asparagus or green beans. Sometimes... I want pasta! Who doesn't??
Salmon and pasta are pretty much a match made in heaven (this Smoked Salmon Pasta is more proof of that!) and this is the kind of dinner that you'll likely even be able to get family members who don't love salmon to try.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
There are so many reasons to love this creamy Cajun salmon pasta, but the most obvious one is that it's delicious! It's also packed with heart-healthy salmon, red peppers, onions, diced tomatoes, and a super flavorful and creamy Cajun sauce.
The dish is also incredibly easy to make and makes for a great weeknight dinner when you want something tasty but not complicated.
If you have any family members who don't love salmon, try tossing it in this yummy pasta and see if they change their mind!
The ingredients for this entree are pretty simple and remember, it's easy to customize the dish to you and your family's tastes. Here's what I use (please see recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full instructions):
- Fettuccine: or the shape of your choice. You can use anything from penne to linguine. Whatever you like best!
- Olive oil
- Cajun seasoning: Store-bought or homemade mix
- Red bell pepper
- Fire-roasted tomatoes
- Heavy cream
- Scallions: For garnish
- Parsley: For garnish
🧂 What's in Cajun seasoning?
You can either buy a container of Cajun seasoning or make your own with the spices you have in your cabinet. I often use this pre-made one, but here are all the spices you need to make your own:
- Paprika (regular paprika or smoked paprika)
- Garlic Pepper
- Onion powder
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
Recipes may vary (lots call for white pepper, too), but if you want a great mix, follow the ratios in this recipe.
🐟 Skin on or skinless salmon?
It's up to you! Most pasta recipes seem to call for skinless salmon fillets, but I love leaving it on because of all the omega-3 fatty acids in the skin (source).
The flaked salmon probably doesn't look quite as pretty in the finished dish, but I'm all about leaving salmon skin on!
🍝 How to make Cajun salmon pasta
As I mentioned, this pasta dish is so easy to make. It's just a few steps until dinner is on the table!
I recommend starting by cooking your pasta. Add the pasta to a large pot of salted water that's boiling and let it cook according to package instructions, until just al dente.
Drain well, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water.
While pasta is cooking, pat salmon filets dry with a paper towel and season salmon with about 1 Tablespoon of Cajun seasoning.
Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add salmon skin side down (if skin is on salmon) and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Gently flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until salmon is flaky.
Move to a plate and set aside.
Add remaining Tbsp oil to the skillet. When hot, add onions and sliced red pepper.
Cook for about 4 minutes until veggies are softening. Add garlic, remaining 1 Tbsp cajun seasoning, and salt and cook for another minute.
Add the undrained diced fire-roasted tomatoes to skillet, along with ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes to reduce liquid.
Add cup of heavy cream to skillet and allow the sauce to return to a gentle simmer.
Simmer for about 3 minutes to let sauce thicken.
Add cooked pasta to skillet, along with scallions and parsley and gently toss to coat in sauce.
Flake salmon into bite-sized pieces and toss into pasta.
If needed, add in additional ¼ cup pasta sauce to thin out sauce.
You can garnish with additional parsley and scallions if you want. Sometimes I shake a little more Cajun seasoning over the top, too.
And dinner is served!
The pasta dish is such a fun and flavorful way to enjoy salmon, especially if you eat it every week and are looking for new ways to serve it.
It's made with a creamy sauce, but I love that it isn't too heavy or overly creamy. Plus, it's packed with all that deliciously healthy salmon!
While this makes 4 generous servings, it also works well as leftovers. I don't usually like re-heated salmon, but when it's mixed in a pasta dish, I love it!
💡Substitutions and additions
If you don't have all the ingredients or your family has specific preferences, there's lots you can do to make this dish your own. Here are some ideas:
- You aren't likely reading this post if you don't like salmon, but you are completely welcome to swap out the salmon for the protein of your choice! Chicken breast works well, as does shrimp. Or you can leave it meatless for a delicious vegetarian pasta.
- You can add any vegetables you have on hand. Use green bell peppers instead of red (or use both!), add baby spinach (I'd add this when you add the heavy cream), add broccoli (I'd blanch it first), try fresh cherry ttomatoes, etc.
- If you like the way this Cajun salmon pasta recipe sounds except for the Cajun part, no worries! You can use any kind of seasoning you want in the dish. If you really don't like spicy (though I promise this dish isn't too spicy!), you can use salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and oregano instead. Or the spice combination of your choice!
- For extra creaminess, you can stir a little bit of cream cheese into the sauce.
🍣 More salmon recipes
If you try to eat salmon often, too, you may be looking for new flavorful ideas to enjoy it. I know I always am! Here are some more of my favorite salmon recipes:
- Creamy Grapefruit Salmon
- Salmon Fettuccine with Sour Cream Caesar Sauce
- Chili Lime Salmon Over Coconut Rice
- One-Pan Creamy Chipotle Salmon
- Everything Bagel Salmon
- Winter Salmon Tacos
- Caesar Salad with Grilled Citrus Salmon
- Chipotle Rubbed Grilled Salmon Tacos
- Baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme (from Epicurious)
How often do you eat salmon?
Cajun Salmon Pasta
- 12 oz fettuccine, or pasta shape of choice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 Tbsp cajun seasoning, divided
- 1 lb. salmon
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 red pepper, cut into thin slices
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 15.5 oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (including juice)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup chopped scallions, plus more for garnish (if desired)
- ¼ cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish (if desired)
- Add pasta to a large pot of salted boiling water and let cook according to package instructions, until just al dente. Drain well, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water.
- While pasta is cooking, pat salmon dry and season with about 1 Tbsp of Cajun seasoning.
- Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add salmon skin-side up (if skin is on salmon) and cook for 3-5 minutes. Gently flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until salmon is flaky. Move to a plate and set aside.
- Add remaining Tbsp oil to the skillet. When hot, add onions and red pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes until veggies are softening. Add garlic, remaining 1 Tbsp cajun seasoning, and salt and cook for another minute.
- Add the undrained diced fire-roasted tomatoes to skillet, along with ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes to reduce liquid.
- Add heavy cream to skillet and allow the sauce to return to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 3 minutes to let sauce thicken.
- Add pasta to skillet, along with scallions and parsley and toss to coat in sauce. Flake salmon into bite-sized pieces and gently toss with pasta. If needed, add in additional ¼ cup pasta water to thin out sauce.
- Serve Cajun salmon pasta topped with additional chopped parsley and scallions, if desired.
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