This creamy Cajun salmon pasta is done in under 30 minutes, and it's full of flavor. Spicy salmon is seared and baked in a creamy, cheesy buttery sauce with cherry tomatoes and spinach.
This Cajun salmon recipe is an easy meal to prepare, yet it doesn't lack flavor. I love seafood, and we often include salmon in our diet. This is one of my go-to recipes for a busy weeknight.
What You'll Need to Make a Creamy Cajun Fettuccine with Salmon
- Salmon: For this recipe, we need two salmon filets. Each piece is about 4-5 oz.
- Seasonings: I used a combination of smoked paprika, cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, and thyme. We are using this seasoning mixture for salmon, and we are also adding it to the sauce.
- Garlic: I love adding garlic to pasta. It will give a fantastic smell and taste.
- Onion: We need a little bit of onion to add flavor to the pasta.
- Olive oil: I used extra virgin olive oil. I like to use olive oil, which was produced by cold press.
- Butter: I used unsalted butter for this recipe. We need a little bit to simmer the onion and garlic.
- Heavy whipping cream: I used heavy whipping cream for this pasta recipe. It's terrific for creating thick sauces.
- Grated parmesan: I used grated parmesan to add thickness to the sauce.
- Cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes go so well with this recipe. That sweetness/sourness from cherry tomatoes goes so well with heavy cream and cheese. It will balance the flavors perfectly.
- Spinach leaves: We need a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach leaves.
- Pasta: I used fettuccine for this recipe. For ingredients substitutions, please refer to the ingredients substitutions and recipe variations.
- Parsley: You can use dry or fresh parsley to sprinkle just a little bit on top of the finished meal.
Why this Recipe Works
- Easy to make
- Delicious cajun parmesan buttery sauce
- Smoky and spicy
How to Make Creamy Cajun Salmon Pasta
- Cook pasta per package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water. Drain pasta and return to the pot. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and mix until evenly coated.
- Mix the seasonings and rub salmon fillets with half of the seasoning.
- Sear the salmon and set it aside.
- Simmer garlic and onion with butter. Add halved tomatoes and simmer for another minute.
- Add heavy whipping cream and parmesan. Mix until combined.
- Add spinach leaves and simmer until wilted. If you want to thin out the sauce, add a little bit of reserved pasta water.
- Return pasta to the skillet and mix until coated. Then, add salmon back to the skillet and simmer for a couple of minutes until heated.
- Remove from heat, sprinkle with dry parsley leaves (or fresh), and let it sit for a few minutes, so the sauce thickens.
What type of Salmon Should I Use
I used skinless salmon fillets. You can use salmon with skin on as well. Wild salmon is the best, but the organic farm-raised is fine if you can not find it.
Benefits of Eating Salmon
Some of the health benefits of eating salmon
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Great source of protein
- High in B vitamins
- Good source of potassium
- Loaded with selenium
- Can help fight inflammation
What kind of Pasta Should I Use
Whenever you make a creamy sauce with pasta, it's best to use thicker pasta, like fettuccine. I love using this pasta since it will soak up the juices, and the sauce won't be runny. For other pasta options, please look at ingredients substitutions and recipe variations.
What's the Best Skillet to Use
My favorite skillet that I always use is the cast iron skillet. When you sear the salmon and use this skillet, it will create a fantastic crust. If you don't have the cast iron skillet, no worries, the taste will still be the same. But you won't get that crispy crust on salmon.
Ingredients Substitutions and Recipe Variations
- Replace salmon with steelhead trout, shrimp, sausage, or even chicken.
- Smoked paprika vs. sweet paprika: You can use sweet paprika instead if you don't have smoked paprika. Please note that smoked paprika has a smoky flavor, and sweet paprika has a more sweet taste, as the name itself explains.
- Butter: Use plant-based butter instead of unsalted butter to cut down on calories.
- Use different pasta: linguine, spaghetti, or farfalle.
- Use half-and-half instead of heavy whipping cream to cut down on calories. Although, you might need to use a little less half-and-half since the sauce will be thinner.
Tips and Tricks for Success
- Searing the salmon: to sear the salmon, you will need a hot skillet, preferably a cast-iron skillet. When the oil starts to simmer, that means you have the perfect temperature. When you add the salmon fillets to the skillet, don't move them around. If you do, then the beautiful crust won't form.
- Don't forget to drizzle the pasta with a bit of oil; otherwise, it will stick. This is a crucial step. Otherwise, you will end up with a big lump of pasta.
- Let pasta sit for a couple of minutes in a creamy, cheesy sauce so that the sauce can thicken.
How to Serve
This creamy Cajun pasta with salmon goes well with fresh salad, like mixed greens salad, roasted lemon kale salad, or brussels sprout salad.
How to Store
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
More Recipes that You'll Love
Have you made this recipe? Please let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear your suggestions and recipe variations.
- 2 pieces salmon fillets (4-5 oz each)
- 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp dry thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- a pinch of black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or cut into small pieces
- 1/2 small onion, cut into small pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 7 oz Fettuccine
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 handfuls of spinach leaves, cut into smaller pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Dry (or fresh) parsley leaves, to sprinkle
Thaw salmon and pat dry with paper towels.
Cook pasta per package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Drizzle with olive oil and mix until evenly coated. *
Add all seasoning to a small bowl and mix - coat salmon with half of the seasoning and the other half set aside.
While pasta is cooking, add oil to a medium-size cast-iron skillet and heat on high heat until oil simmers. Sear the salmon for 2 minutes per side. (it will continue to cook once removed from the skillet and also when you add it back with the sauce and pasta ) Lower the heat to medium once you turn the salmon on the other side. Remove the salmon from the skillet and set it aside.
Add butter, onion, and garlic and sauté for 1 min. Add halved tomatoes and sauté for another minute.
Add heavy whipping cream, parmesan, and the other half of the seasoning. Mix until combined.
Add spinach and sauté until wilted (1-2 minutes). If you want to thin out the sauce, add a little bit of reserved pasta water.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add pasta back to the skillet and toss over until coated. Add salmon back to the skillet and simmer for a couple of minutes until salmon is warmed.
Remove from the heat and sprinkle with dry or fresh parsley leaves. Let sit for a few minutes and serve until the sauce thickens. Enjoy!
Depending on which pasta you choose, the cooking time might differ. Thicker pasta, like fettuccine, takes longer to cook.