September 6, 2022| By

Cajun Salmon Pasta

Cook Time: 30 mins
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If you're looking for easy dinner recipes, look no further than this Cajun Salmon Pasta! Tender and flaky salmon, chopped bell peppers and onions seasoned with cajun spices and tossed in a flavorful creamy tomato and parmesan cheese sauce.

Best of all, these cajun pasta comes together in 30 minutes. Enjoy with a piece of crusty bread and you've got a delicious dinner for everyone to enjoy!

If you are interested in more seafood recipes, you have to try my Seafood Boil, Creamy Salmon Pasta Recipe and Salmon New Orleans recipe next!

cajun salmon pasta in a bowl on top of a serving board.
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This Cajun Salmon Pasta recipe is an irresistible seafood dish that will have your mouth watering with every bite! The deliciously pan-fried salmon on top of a super creamy and slightly spicy tomato sauce full of chopped bell peppers, onions, and garlic. The inclusion of cajun seasoning in the sauce elevates this from your basic pasta dish to one of the most delicious recipes ever.

Pantry staples like heavy cream, lemon, and parmesan make up the cream sauce (similar to an alfredo sauce) and balance the spiciness of this meal. The flavor is rich and robust without being overbearingly spicy.

Furthermore, this is an easy recipe that comes together in under an hour. You'll have dinner on the table in no time with this delicious creamy pasta!

Ingredient Notes

ingredients to make cajun salmon pasta - salmon, cajun seasoning, tomato paste, heavy cream, butter, onion, bell peppers, lemons, parmesan cheese, garlic, and pasta.
  • Salmon filets: You can use fresh salmon or thaw frozen salmon before using. You can leave the skin on or off depending on your preference but leave it on while cooking. It is easier to handle the filet when the skin is on.
  • Butter & Olive oil: Use these ingredients to pan-fry the salmon.
  • Cajun Seasoning: Choose your favorite one or make your own cajun seasoning by combining paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, pepper, and oregano.
  • Aromatics: Use a diced onion and diced garlic cloves.
  • Bell peppers: For an added kick of spice.
  • Tomato paste: Adds an enriched tomato flavor to the base of the sauce.
  • Heavy cream: For a luscious, creamy sauce, this ingredient is a must.
  • Lemon: Adds flavor to the noodles and enhances the acidity in the tomatoes.
  • Fresh spinach: For color and added nutrients, add some veggies!
  • Parmesan: Use grated parmesan instead of pre-shredded for the best results.
  • Reserved pasta water: This binds together the sauce, creating a silky smooth blend that is restaurant-quality.
  • Penne pasta: This is ideal since you want pasta that will sop up the sauce.
  • Salt and pepper as desired
  • Parsley chopped for garnish

Tips

  • Make Homemade Cajun Seasoning: If you're out of cajun seasoning, you can make your own from scratch. Try this cajun seasoning recipe.
  • Lighten it up: by using cauliflower rice instead of pasta.
  • The easiest way to tell when the salmon is done is to gently press on the top of the salmon fillets to see if the salmon comes apart/is flaky. For added assurance, you can also use a thermometer to check to see that the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. If so, it's done!
  • Make sure to get the pan nice and hot prior to adding the salmon, this will ensure a nice seared top! A hot pan is key.
  • Check the ingredients on your cajun seasoning to see if it contains salt. If so, you may want to adjust the amount of salt added to the recipe.

How to make Cajun Salmon Pasta

Cook Penne Pasta

Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.

Season & Saute Salmon

Pat salmon dry with a paper towel and season salmon with salt, black pepper, and 1 tbsp of cajun seasoning.

Melt butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Get the pan nice and hot and add seasoned salmon filets onto the pan, skin side down. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then turn over and continue to cook for 4-6 minutes, until salmon is cooked thoroughly. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Make the Creamy Cajun Sauce

Add diced onions and bell peppers to the pan. (add more oil if needed) Cook for 4 minutes, until fragrant and slightly softened. Then add garlic and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Then add tomato paste and mix together in the pan until the paste has warmed and mixed in with the onions and peppers, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the remaining 1-2 tbsps of cajun seasoning (depending on your preference), heavy cream, and stir together until a thick sauce forms, about 5 minutes.

Add Veggies and Cheese

Remove from heat and add spinach and parmesan. The residual heat will cook the spinach, stir together until spinach is fully incorporated into the sauce. Then stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and ½ cup pasta water to thin the sauce. Add an additional if you prefer a thinner sauce. Stir everything together until the sauce is creamy.

Combine the Remaining Ingredients & Serve Cajun Salmon Pasta

Add the cooked pasta and salmon into the pasta sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley.

up close photo of cajun salmon pasta in a bowl garnished with fresh parsley.

Variations

I love this creamy Cajun Salmon Pasta because it's so versatile and easy to customize. Here are some ideas:

  • Pasta: You can use long pasta like linguine and fettuccine, or another short pasta like rigatoni. Just be mindful that cooking times may vary depending on the pasta type.
  • Vegetables: in addition to baby spinach, try adding asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, or cherry tomatoes.
  • Protein: Not a fan of salmon? Add cajun shrimp, chicken, catfish or tilapia instead.
  • Gluten-free: Swap out the penne for gluten-free pasta.
  • Dairy-free: Want to take it easy on the dairy? Use coconut milk instead of heavy cream. Your sauce will still have plenty of flavor and body. Skip the cheese and butter or use dairy-free alternatives.
  • Keto-friendly: Instead of pasta, use zucchini spirals or spaghetti squash noodles.
an up close photo of cajun salmon pasta.

Recipe FAQs

What type of salmon should I use?

I recommend using wild caught fresh salmon fillets. They have the best flavor.

How can I make Cajun Pasta not so spicy?

Although this recipe isn't super spicy, you can cut the amount of cajun seasoning in half for less spice. Alternatively, you can omit the bell peppers.

How can I store leftovers?

Add leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. However, it is best to reserve some sauce before combining if you know you will have leftovers. That way you can cook fresh pasta and add it to the sauce when you are ready to reheat it.

More Pasta Recipes!

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cajun salmon pasta in a bowl on top of a serving board.

Cajun Salmon Pasta

Cajun Salmon Pasta is spicy, tender salmon, fresh spinach, and penne pasta tossed in a flavorful creamy, tomato, and parmesan-based sauce. This impressive weeknight dinner can be prepared in just thirty minutes.
Serving: 6
Cook Time: 30 mins
Calories: 802kcal

Equipment

  • Large Skillet

Ingredients

  • 4 Salmon filets
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Cajun Seasoning
  • ½ Onion diced
  • 2 Bell peppers diced
  • 5 Garlic cloves diced
  • 6 oz Tomato paste
  • cup Heavy cream
  • 1 Lemon juiced and zested
  • 2 cups Fresh spinach
  • 1 cup Parmesan grated
  • 1 cup Reserved pasta water
  • 16 oz Penne pasta
  • Salt and pepper as desired
  • Parsley chopped for garnish

Directions

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
  • Pat salmon dry and season with salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp of cajun seasoning.
  • Add butter and olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Allow it to melt and then add salmon filets onto the pan, skin side down. Cook for 4 minutes, then turn over and continue to cook for 4-6 minutes, until salmon is cooked thoroughly. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add diced onions and bell peppers to the pan. (add more oil if needed) Cook for 4 minutes, until fragrant and slightly softened. Then add garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Then add tomato paste and mix together in the pan until the paste has warmed and mixes in with the onions and peppers, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add remaining 1-2 tbsps of cajuns seasoning (depending on your preference), heavy cream and stir together until a thick sauce forms, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add spinach and parmesan. The residual heat will cook the spinach, stir together until spinach is fully incorporated into the sauce. Then stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and ½ cup of the pasta water to thin the sauce. Add an additional if you prefer a thinner sauce. Stir everything together until sauce is creamy.
  • Add in penne pasta and salmon and garnish with fresh parsley.

Notes

Tips
  • Lighten it up: by using cauliflower rice instead of pasta.
  • The easiest way to tell when the salmon is done is to gently press on the top of the salmon fillets to see if the salmon comes apart/is flaky. For added assurance, you can also use a thermometer to check to see that the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. If so, it's done!
  • Make sure to get the pan nice and hot prior to adding the salmon, this will ensure a nice seared top! A hot pan is key.
  • Check the ingredients on your cajun seasoning to see if it contains salt. If so, you may want to adjust the amount of salt added to the recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 802kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 646mg | Potassium: 1339mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4422IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 312mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Dinner, Pasta
Cuisine: American, Cajun

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