This Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta recipe is a real special dish for any season! The perfect easy weeknight meal on any given day for the entire family that comes based with a delicious creamy Alfredo sauce and paired with semi-thick pasta and chunks of roasted salmon meat, which all work together so deliciously. Truly a comforting recipe with every bite. Meatless, Dairy-free + Gluten-free options.
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Honestly, when it comes to salmon, I'm in deep love! There's just something about the versatility that salmon has that makes it such a delicious option, especially with pasta. This Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta is a rendition of one of my favorite sauce----Alfredo sauce and although I chose not to use cream cheese, the creaminess and velvety texture is still present and makes it worth it.
It's DAY 2 OF LOVE WEEK on Orchids + Sweet Tea and I couldn't be more excited for the deliciousness coming your way all week long---in honor of Valentine's Day next week! Be sure to watch all recipes via IG Reels for a nice visual.
OK, so traditionally, Alfredo pasta features fettuccine, which tends to be a bit thinner, but I wanted to fully enjoy everything with a nice soak up, which is why I chose to use this rigatoni pasta. Tagliatelle pasta----my go-to is thinner than my fave Pappardelle and would also be perfect for this dish.
It's SO GOOD! Plus, the little "ridges" on this pasta really makes it have a great texture in every bite. Besides, I ensure that there's a nice dairy-free option for all of my dairy sensitive folks out there or those who just want to give dairy a break for a moment as well as a gluten-free option. This recipe is fairly quick to make, especially since the salmon bakes in the oven which gives you time to boil the pasta then make the sauce, toss, and wallah! Seamless!
Overall, this pasta is definitely comfort food in a bowl, includes simple steps, and can totally be personalized based on preference----i.e. sub with shrimp, lobster, scallops, or another meat like chicken or non-meat like mushrooms, cauliflower, etc.
Basically, Alfredo is a creamy pan sauce made form butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. As it has become popular, there have been several adaptations and substitutes to the ingredients, however, either way-----Alfredo sauce is usually best when made + eaten right away! Classically, Alfredo is often paired with Fettuccine, but as you can see, I chose to use rigatoni and there are an array of other pastas that can be used.
REASONS WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS SALMON ALFREDO PASTA!
First and foremost, the flavors in this simple and creamy Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta is enough to convince anyone, however, here are a few more reasons why you’ll love this pasta dinner:
It’s absolutely delicious—-creamy + velvety. I always try to ensure that my creamy pastas are just that----creamy! So, using cream-based ingredients like a high-quality heavy creamy and freshly-grated parmesan + sharp cheddar helps to achieve this best!
Super easy to make and quick! I literally love making the most delicious weeknight meals that don't take a ton of time and effort and this recipe is it! Plus, no crazy clean-up! Can we say–Everything on a baking sheet and skillet?
Full of flavor + well seasoned! (The best reason). This by far is one of my biggest reasons for making this pasta. I enjoy adding spices + herbs to create a bold flavor profile that works with rigatoni.
Perfect for any time of day—Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast (if that’s your thing), whatever! Most of all, this is my biggest plus! I love pasta during anytime of the day, especially whenever there are leftovers. The good thing is that this pasta reheats nicely once done over the stovetop---slow and warmed through.
How to Make Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta
Start making this recipe by patting fry and seasoning the salmon, then baking it for a few minutes until 'flaky' and done. Then you begin boiling your pasta. In the meantime, you make your creamy sauce by sautéing a few garlic cloves, and then adding in the seasoning, heavy cream, veggie stock, and cheeses. Next, toss in your cooked + drained pasta, salmon, and wallah.
Here’s what you need for this Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta:
Salmon fillets. I like to use wild-caught Sockeye salmon for a tastier flavor. If yours are fresh, defrost them in the refrigerator prior to making pasta and when ready to use, let them sit at room temp. for 30 minutes or so before seasoning + baking. you can also use shrimp, lobster, or a non-meat option like mushrooms or tofu!
Olive oil. you can also use avocado oil, coconut oil, or Grapeseed oil, if you prefer.
Chicken or vegetable or seafood stock. Use store-bought organic, low-sodium broth or make your own! For a dairy-free or vegan option, use veggie stock.
Heavy cream. I recommend organic–always! Of course, for a dairy-free option, just use full-fat coconut cream/milk.
Garlic. I prefer fresh, but you could substitute with ½ teaspoon garlic powder in a pinch.
Herbs + Seasonings. A great addition of flavor. You'll need salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, + parsley. You can make your own Italian herb blend if you'd like!
Parmesan cheese. You could also use pecorino romano. For a dairy-free option, So Delicious Dairy-Free or Violife cheese shreds tastes great.
Sharp Cheddar. Optional. I chose to use sharp cheddar instead of cream cheese, however, you can use either.
Flour. This is used as a thickener, however, you can sub with GF flour for that option or tapioca flour, arrowroot, etc.
Butter. Use unsalted butter to control the flavor of the Alfredo sauce.
How to Make Homemade Italian Seasoning
If you're thinking about making your own Italian seasoning blend, then look no further! All you need is handful of herbs + spices, mix them together, and wallah! You'll need 2 teaspoons of each simple ingredient:
Red pepper flakes
How to Store Homemade Italian Seasoning
You can keep leftover seasoning in a small tightly sealed jar and at room temperature for up to 6 months like your other herbs + spices.
BEST TYPES OF PASTA TO GO WITH ALFREDO
If you're thinking of serving Alfredo sauce with pasta other than Fettuccine, then I'm so with ya! When it comes to pasta, you can use long pastas like Bucatini, Pappardelle, Tagliatelle, etc. if desired.
However, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated. Otherwise, other pastas such as Penne, Rigatoni, Paccheri, Orecchiette, etc. are perfect.
HOW DO YOU THICKEN THE ALFREDO SAUCE?
It’s important to thicken your Alfredo sauce so it gets nice and sticky. Personally, I love using arrowroot starch (which is a great gluten-free option). However, if you don’t have this on hand, using other subs like all-purpose flour, regular cornstarch, or tapioca flour work just fine. Just be sure to always stir your thickener with warm water until it becomes a ‘milky’ liquid before adding it to the sauce OR you can add the dry thickener to your skillet with the seasonings, right before adding the liquids, whisking until smooth and thickened.
SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR COOKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS PASTA!
Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta. Everything from my fave baking sheet, parchment paper, food processor, high-powered blender, skillets, and more. SEE THEM HERE!
What Makes this Dish SO Creamy?
While you might think that most of the creaminess of this pasta comes from the heavy cream added (from my go-to brand Organic Valley by the way), the truth is that most of it actually comes from the parmesan cheese. Yup, that's right.
Personally, I love using the full brick of parmesan cheese as opposed to the powdered version. For one, you're able to cut off a lot more cheese as opposed to the finely grated Parmesan cheese that you would normally purchase, which is usually almost invisible like powder and takes a TON to bring forth this kind of creaminess (granted, there isn't anything wrong with this version, don't get me wrong!). Plus, I like to add an addition of grated sharp cheddar cheese for extra creaminess as opposed to cream cheese, which is what others use for Alfredo pasta!
Adding Protein to this Creamy Alfredo Pasta
If you'd like to add protein to this creamy Alfredo pasta dish, it's easy to do, regardless of your diet!
Plant-based protein options:
Crispy seared or baked tofu cubes
Crumbled stir-fried seitan
Crumble vegan bacon on top
Sautéed cauliflower florets or broccoli
Sautéed asparagus, Brussels sprouts, etc.
Non-vegan protein options:
Chicken (breast sliced)
Fish (fried, jerked, grilled, etc.)
What Greens Can I Add to this Creamy Pasta?
Although, kale is the most common veggie that I like to add to this Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta, you can definitely use other greens such as spinach, collard greens, bokchoy, etc. for a nice twist! When it comes to vegetables, there are so many benefits as we all know. While some veggies pack a greater punch when it comes to nutrients, we’ve curated a special list of our Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables! Most of these are super popular while others are under utilized in many dishes. Lettuce Eat, Shall We?
What Are Delicious Foods to Pair This Creamy Alfredo Pasta With?
With most pasta dishes, I often enjoy them with a side of bread of some sort. Most times, I make my own homemade Garlic Bread, however, you can choose to spruce things up with many other options such as:
A delicious Salad
How to Store Leftover Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta
Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
Can I Make This Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta Dairy-Free or Gluten-Free?
Absolutely! To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta and ensure that the coconut cream/milk is GF-friendly. However, To make this sauce dairy-free, simply use vegan butter instead of the regular butter. Then swap the cream with full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. And use your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese or nutritional yeast instead of parmesan and sharp cheddar.
Other Creamy Pasta Recipes You’ll Love
If you are a fan of my Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta, you will also love these other creamy pasta options also!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
Season your washed and patted dry salmon with the olive oil + homemade jerk seasoning: salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, parsley, mined garlic, and thyme sprigs, rubbing everything atop salmon until completely coated. Add all salmon to baking sheet and roast (on the top rack) for 15-20 minutes or until fully cooked through. NOTE: When done, salmon should "flake apart" when touched gently.
Remove from oven and using two forks, gently pull the flesh apart until entirely "shredded" and in medium to large chunks. Set aside. NOTE: If preferred, you can place whole salmon fillets atop pasta without shredding.
COOK THE PASTA:
Cook pasta according to packaging. NOTE: rigatoni cooks about the same time as other pastas, usually 8-10 minutes, depending on brand.
TO MAKE THE CREAMY ALFREDO SAUCE:
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and butter until melted. Add the garlic cloves and sauté for 1 minute or so, until fragrant.
Add the salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and flour, stirring until combined.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly add in the heavy cream, and stock, stirring until combined. Let it slightly bubble for 1-2 minutes and then add in the grated parmesan and sharp cheddar, whisking until fully melted and sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
When the rigatoni pasta is done, drain it and add it to the sauce, tossing until sauce fully coats + sticks to pasta. Feel free to add shredded salmon (if you're actually shredding it) to coat them, if desired. If not, add pasta to prepare plate(s) or bowl(s) and top with salmon fillets. Serve immediately!
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
OIL: You can also use coconut oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil, instead of olive oil.
PASTA: You can use long pastas like Pappardelle, Tagliatelle, Fettuccine, etc. however, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated. Otherwise, other pastas such as Penne, Rigatoni, Paccheri, Orecchiette, etc. are perfect.
GREENS: To add a bit more flavor to this dish, you can always feel free to add in your favorite greens such as kale, spinach, broccolini, collards, or asparagus.
OTHER MEAT OPTIONS: If you'd like to switch things up, see post for more alternatives!
GLUTEN-FREE: To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta and ensure that the coconut cream/milk is GF-friendly.
DAIRY-FREE OPTION: To make this sauce dairy-free, simply use vegan butter instead of the regular butter. Then swap the cream with full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. And use your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese or nutritional yeast instead of parmesan and sharp cheddar.
EQUIPMENT: Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta. Everything from my fave high-powered blender, baking sheets, wooden spoons, mixing bowls, and more.
LOVE THIS RECIPE?
LET US KNOW!
Just made this dairy free and it was the bomb!
Hi Mia! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed this! Thanks so much for choosing to make this! 🙂