Salmon Pasta Salad is one of my favorite pasta salads. I love that I can use either leftover salmon or canned salmon in this recipe, and the flavors are bright, not too lemony, and loaded with fresh herbs which really puts this easy salad over the top!

Salmon pasta salad in a black bowl.

Pasta salads are perfect for using up leftover ingredients, and this one is no different. You can use leftover grilled, baked, or even pan-fried salmon in this recipe, as long as the salmon is not too flavor-forward.

You can also use up bits of veggies from your produce drawer. I make this salad with cucumber, bell peppers, peas, red onion and celery, but see all my tips below for other veggies you can add in.

This easy Salmon Pasta Salad is perfect for potlucks, gatherings, and events of all kinds, but it’s also a great dish for lunch or dinner. It doesn’t make gallons of it – there’s enough for a dinner and lunches the next day.

Loaded with color, crunch, and fresh flavors, this Salmon Pasta Salad is my kind of eating!

Close up photo of salmon pasta salad.

What You’ll Love About Salmon Pasta Salad

  • It is versatile – you can use leftover salmon or drained canned salmon.
  • The combination of fresh herbs and creamy dressing brings life to the salmon
  • It’s perfect as a side dish or a fulfilling main course
  • You can mix and match the veggies to suit your preference.

Ingredients

  • Baby shell pasta – Cooked as per the directions on the package until al dente, then drained and chilled.
  • Cooked salmon – Or 2 cans salmon, drained.
  • Mayo
  • Sour cream
  • Cider vinegar
  • Fresh dill – Chopped.
  • Baby cucumbers or 1/2 English cucumber – Diced.
  • Red bell pepper
  • Green peas – From frozen and thawed.
  • Red onion
  • Celery – Sliced.
  • Chives – Optional, chopped.
  • Lemon juice
  • Zest from 1 lemon

How To Make Salmon Pasta Salad

  1. Boil the baby shell pasta according to package instructions, then drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set it aside.
  2. Flake the cooked salmon into bite-sized pieces, carefully removing any bones if using fresh leftover salmon.
  3. Mix mayo, sour cream, cider vinegar, chopped dill, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a large bowl to create the dressing.
  4. Add the cooled pasta, flaked salmon, diced cucumbers, red bell pepper, green peas, red onion, and celery to the bowl with the dressing.
  5. Toss everything together until well combined and evenly coated with the dressing.
  6. Garnish with optional chives before serving if desired.

Step-By-Step Process

Heather’s Tried-and-True Tips

  • Use fresh herbs. The fresh dill and chives really help give this salad a boost in the flavor department.
  • If using canned salmon, ensure it is thoroughly drained and flaked to avoid any excess moisture in your salad. I also like to pick out the bones and bits of skin. Some people eat that, but I don’t care for it.
  • This salad tastes even better after it sits for a few hours, allowing the flavors to meld together, so consider making it ahead of time.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta; keep it al dente so that it stays firm in the salad.

Make It A Meal

This Salmon Pasta Salad is delightful on its own or as a side to a light summer meal. Pair it with a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a light Pinot Grigio to enhance the flavors. For a more rounded dinner, serve with freshly toasted garlic bread or a simple green salad dressed with vinaigrette. It’s perfect for a picnic, potluck, or as a refreshing lunch during the warmer months!

Horizontal shot of Salmon pasta salad.

Storage

Salmon Pasta Salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days when stored in an airtight container. It’s best enjoyed cold, so simply remove it from the fridge and serve. Unfortunately, due to the creamy dressing and delicate ingredients like cucumber and salmon, this salad does not freeze well and is best enjoyed fresh.

Salmon pasta salad in a black bowl.

Salmon Pasta Salad

Heather S
Creamy, tangy, and loaded with plenty of veggies and salmon, this Salmon Pasta Salad is so easy and so good! It's terrific as a side dish or the main event!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 309 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 10 ounces baby shell pasta cooked as per the directions on the package until al dente, then drained and chilled.
  • 8 ounces cooked salmon or 2 cans salmon, drained
  • ½ cup mayo
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
  • 2 baby cucumbers or 1/2 English cucumber diced
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup green peas from frozen and thawed
  • cup celery sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chives optional, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon

Instructions
 

  • Boil the baby shell pasta according to package instructions, then drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set it aside.
  • Flake the cooked salmon into bite-sized pieces, carefully removing any bones if using fresh leftover salmon.
  • Mix mayo, sour cream, cider vinegar, chopped dill, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a large bowl to create the dressing.
  • Add the cooled pasta, flaked salmon, diced cucumbers, red bell pepper, green peas, red onion, and celery to the bowl with the dressing.
  • Toss everything together until well combined and evenly coated with the dressing.
  • Garnish with optional chives before serving if desired.

Notes

Heather’s Tips

  • Use fresh herbs. The fresh dill and chives really help give this salad a boost in the flavor department.
  • If using canned salmon, ensure it is thoroughly drained and flaked to avoid any excess moisture in your salad. I also like to pick out the bones and bits of skin. Some people eat that, but I don’t care for it.
  • This salad tastes even better after it sits for a few hours, allowing the flavors to meld together, so consider making it ahead of time.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta; keep it al dente so that it stays firm in the salad.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 309kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 11gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 113mgPotassium: 320mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 545IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 1mg
Keyword salmon, salmon pasta salad
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