With salmon being one of the healthiest proteins around, why not spruce up your meal by adding in some delicious pasta for a side dish?
The 10 pasty side dishes for salmon provide an abundance of options that are sure to please any palate.
From simple everyday combinations such as penne with pesto to more exciting dishes like lemon-garlic angel hair, these recipes offer a wide range of flavor and texture to supplement your meal.
Whether you’re looking to experiment or just enjoy a traditional taste, any of these recipes are sure to complement your evening meal.
Why Consider Serving Pasta Side Dishes for Salmon?
When considering side dishes to serve with salmon, pasta dishes can be a great option.
Not only are these often readily available and easy to make, but they are also excellent sources of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for balanced nutrition.
Pasta can also work well as a complement to the flavor of salmon dishes — the saltiness and natural sweetness of the fish pairs nicely with the more neutral flavor of most pasta selections.
Furthermore, pasta is highly versatile in terms of ingredients — you can choose different types, add vegetables or cheeses for extra flavor and texture, or go with a classic like macaroni and cheese.
In addition to offering balanced nutrition, versatile flavors, and texture contrast for the salmon dish it complements – pasta sides bring something familiar yet new to any meal that includes salmon.
Here are 10 of the best pasta side dish recipes to serve with your next plate of salmon.
The 10 BEST Pasta Side Dishes for Salmon
Pasta side dishes provide an opportunity to expand your meal and make salmon dinners more interesting.
Whether you’re preparing a special occasion meal or just want to dress up a weeknight dinner, here are 10 delicious pasta dishes that pair perfectly with salmon.
1. Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce
A classic pairing of tomato sauce and spaghetti makes for the perfect side dish to accompany baked or grilled salmon.
Spaghetti is easy to make, doesn’t take a lot of time, and pairs well with salmon.
To make a simple spaghetti dish, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add chopped onion and garlic.
Sautee until fragrant and then add diced tomatoes (fresh or canned).
Simmer for a few minutes until heated through.
Finally add salt and pepper to taste, oregano if desired, and stir in some freshly chopped parsley before serving.
Serve on top of cooked spaghetti noodles along side your favorite prepared salmon dish for a tasty meal.
2. Creamy Garlic Shells
For a creamy and garlicky accompaniment to your salmon fillet, try this twist on a classic pasta side dish.
Cook up some jumbo shells according to the instructions on the packet, then strain and set aside.
Next, in a skillet, melt butter over medium heat and add chopped garlic.
Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant before adding heavy cream and parmesan cheese.
Let the mixture simmer for 4-5 minutes until it thickens before adding in cooked shells.
Stir to combine, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes then turn off heat and serve with your favorite salmon dish.
3. Creamy Pasta Carbonara
This classic Italian pasta dish is an indulgent side dish to serve with your salmon.
You will need a couple of beaten eggs, cubed pancetta or bacon, and freshly grated parmesan cheese to prepare.
You cook your desired pasta al dente, then stir the egg mixture into the hot noodles with the Parmesan added right at the end.
Pancetta gives it a distinct flavor, but if you want to keep it low-fat, you could swap that out with turkey bacon.
Finish off with more cheese and some chopped fresh parsley.
Enjoy this creamy, cheesy pasta as an accompaniment to your salmon fillets for a tasty meal full of texture and flavor.
4. Avocado Pasta
This creamy, healthy side dish is sure to please the most picky of eaters.
Combined with some cooked salmon, and you have a wonderful restaurant-worthy meal.
To make avocado pasta, cook roughly 8 ounces of your favorite fresh pasta until it reaches al dente.
While the pasta cooks, mash up a large ripe avocado in a bowl with ¼ cup of half and half and one teaspoon of garlic powder until it is creamy.
Once the pasta is finished cooking, strain it and pour it into the mashed avocado mixture.
Stir until thoroughly combined and serve hot.
5. Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli
This simple recipe packs a lot of flavor and nutrition into one dish.
To make this delicious side dish, cook the pasta according to package directions before setting it aside.
Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, heat some olive oil over medium heat and add in cubed red onion and minced garlic.
Sauté the onion and garlic for about 4 minutes until the onion is soft, then mix in 2 cups of bite-sized broccoli florets.
Season the vegetables with salt, pepper and dried Italian herbs.
Sautee until the broccoli is bright green and just tender – about 10 minutes or so – stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
Once cooked through, add in 8 ounces of prepared pesto and stir until everything is well combined.
Reduce the heat to low and gradually stir in 1/3 cup of creamy ricotta cheese until everything is evenly coated.
Serve over cooked pasta with grated Parmesan cheese on top if desired.
6. Simple Mediterranean Olive Oil Pasta
This simple Mediterranean olive oil pasta is the perfect addition to any salmon dish.
The combination of garlic, lemon zest, olives and freshly grated Parmesan cheese adds a burst of flavor without overpowering the delicate flavor of the fish.
Begin by cooking a box of preferred pasta al dente according to package instructions.
Once cooked, drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl.
Whisk together 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley in a separate bowl.
Pour the mixture over the cooked noodles and toss together until everything is combined.
Stir in 10 chopped olives and ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
This dish can be served warm or at room temperature alongside your favorite salmon dish for an easy yet elegant side dish.
7. Southern Macaroni and Cheese
This classic Southern dish is a great accompaniment to grilled or pan-seared salmon.
The creamy and cheesy pasta bake is packed with flavor that enhances the delicate taste of salmon.
To make this remarkable side dish, cook elbow macaroni according to the package directions.
Once cooked, mix in diced bell peppers, chopped onion, garlic powder and butter.
In a separate bowl beat together cream cheese, milk and eggs until light and fluffy and combine with the macaroni mixture.
Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish and top generously with shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F or until golden brown on top.
Garnish with parsley flakes before serving for an irresistible presentation.
8. Vegetable Garden Pasta
Vegetable Garden Pasta is a colorful and flavorful side dish that pairs perfectly with salmon.
This one-dish meal features a mix of fresh vegetables, garlic, herbs, and a light roasted tomato sauce to bring out the natural flavors of your meal’s main event.
Boil the pasta in boiling salted water until cooked al dente, then add in a mixture of frozen or fresh peas, carrots, corn and mushrooms.
Sauté the vegetables in olive oil along with garlic and fresh chopped parsley or basil.
Add the cooked pasta back into the pan along with tomato sauce and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Allow to heat until bubbly before serving with your favorite steamed or seared salmon filet prepared according to your favorite recipe or method.
9. Easy Summer Pasta Salad
When it comes to American-style pasta salads, less is more.
The goal here is to keep the focus on the pasta and to allow the tender flavors and textures of pasta, salmon and other ingredients to shine through.
This easy summer pasta salad keeps things simple with a blend of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and basil pesto, with a light balsamic dressing that ties it all together.
To make this delicious dish even simpler, you can purchase pre-prepared basil pesto from your grocery store.
The creamy balsamic dressing balances out the tangy flavor of the Gorgonzola cheese while adding an extra punch of flavor that pairs perfectly with salmon.
Think outside the box for this one — there are plenty of variations on this classic dish that use different vegetables or types of cheese — just be sure to try them all.
10. Tomato, Arugula and Goat Cheese Pasta
This flavorful and simple side dish can be prepared in minutes to accompany your salmon entrée.
Begin by boiling water and add the desired amount of pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, sauté garlic in olive oil until slightly golden, then add in a handful of arugula and diced cherry tomatoes.
Toss until combined, then turn off the heat and briefly stir through crumbled goat cheese.
When the pasta is ready, drain and combine with the other ingredients before serving – A refreshing accompaniment to a succulent salmon dish.
At the end of the day, side dishes serve to enhance the flavor and texture of your main meal.
When you’re making pasta as a side dish for salmon, look for recipes with bright colors and flavors that complement the taste of salmon without overpowering it.
Try roasting some vegetables or tossing them in a flavorful sauce.
Keep things simple with some fresh herbs tossed into a light cream sauce.
Or jazz things up by adding some unexpected ingredients like capers or olives roasted with garlic and rosemary.
Whatever pasta side dish you choose, it will make your salmon dinner even more memorable.