This creamy salmon recipe can be made with penne or any other short pasta (linguine or spaghetti will also do). The sauce is made without cream but it's still delicious!
You won't believe that this creamy salmon pasta is made without cream.
This healthy recipe uses a sauce made of Greek strained yogurt and some white miso which provide the desired flavor and creaminess without the extra calories and fat.
If mixing yogurt with miso sounds strange, I urge you to just try it because it's a revelation! Really.
I also use it in this creamy cucumber salad and it works like a charm.
Another added health benefit, according to healthline.com is that both yogurt and miso are in the top 11 of the best foods rich in probiotics. Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that can improve your health and especially your gut.
To make the sauce extra savory, you have to use some finely chopped onion. It makes for a heavenly combination. Even if you don't like raw onion, I bet my money that you'll like it in this recipe. The quantity is not much after all.
The refreshing character of this dish is completed with the addition of some juicy tomatoes, dried oregano and fresh herbs (dill, parsley or chives).
What you'll need – Ingredients
Pasta. If you follow the Mediterranean Diet it's best to use whole grain pasta to make this recipe extra healthy.
Cooked salmon. It can be pan-seared, baked in the oven or air-fried. If you lack time, you can also use salmon from a can.
Tomatoes. They provide freshness, sweetness and juiciness. Cherry tomatoes are best for this recipe because if you cut them in half they will not lose much of their juice. If you use regular tomatoes I suggest you chop them and place them in a strainer for 5-10 minutes.
Chopped red onion. Please try not to omit this since it flavors the sauce beautifully.
Chopped parsley or dill or chives. Herbs are almost always used in Mediterranean cuisine not only for their flavor but also for their health benefits. You can use one of them or a mix.
Dried oregano. Dried oregano is more readily available but fresh will also do.
Capers. They pair perfectly with the rest of the ingredients. If you don't have capers you can also use sliced black olives or chopped pickles. These quick pickled onions will also do.
Olive oil. For this recipe it's best to use extra virgin olive oil.
White miso. White miso transforms the yogurt-based sauce and flavors the salmon beautifully. I don't suggest using darker types of miso because the flavor will be too intense.
Greek strained yogurt (full fat or 2%). I use Greek yogurt in may recipes, like this baby potato salad. This type of yogurt is extra thick and full of protein. If you can't find Greek strained yogurt you can use regular yogurt or Labneh mixed with a bit of pasta water.
How to cook the Salmon
For pan-seared salmon:
Place a non-stick skillet over high heat and add a drip of olive oil and the salmon.
Sear for 2-3 minutes each side or until the exterior is charred.
Flake with a fork.
For salmon in the oven or the air-fryer:
Please visit this article about baked or air-fryed salmon.
How to make the healthy and creamy yogurt & miso sauce
If your miso is not very soft it can be difficult to be completely mixed with yogurt or other ingredients. That's why it's important to first mix it with a small quantity of yogurt until homogenized, and then add the rest of the yogurt.
Once a smooth mixture is formed, add the chopped onion, the herbs, the capers and the olive oil.
Some notes about the sauce:
Greek strained yogurt is thicker than normal yogurt but how much can vary depending on the brand. I usually add 2-3 tablespoons of pasta water to thin it out. If you use regular yogurt you may not need to add the pasta water.
Don't skip the chopped onion and the dried oregano. They make the sauce perfectly savory and pair perfectly with the salmon.
The pasta should be warm but not very hot when mixed with the sauce. This is for two reasons.
First, it's for preserving the probiotics of the miso and the yogurt.
Secondly, if the pasta is hot it will absorb some of the moisture of the sauce making the dish seem less creamy.
What type of pasta is best for this salmon recipe?
Any short-length pasta like penne, fusilli, farfalle, macaroni will do (however, I've also made this with linguine and spaghetti and it was still delicious).
Whole wheat pasta works really well with this recipe but you can also use regular pasta or gluten-free pasta (if you follow a GF diet).
If you want to make this dish even healthier you can use lentil or chickpea pasta. I personally don't prefer this type of pasta because I find the flavor weird.
Creamy salmon pasta (healthy too!)
- 1 package (16 oz / 500 grams) penne pasta (whole grain or regular)
- 4 salmon fillets (about 6 oz / 170 grams each), cooked and flaked
- 2 cups (320 grams) cherry tomatoes
For the yogurt -miso sauce:
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) white miso
- 1 cup (250 grams) Greek strained yogurt
- ½ cup (60 grams) chopped red onion
- ¼ cups chopped parsley or chives or dill
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ cups capers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 tablespoons pasta water
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packaging. Reserve some of the pasta water and drain.
- Make the sauce: Transfer the miso to a bowl and mix it with a small quantity of the yogurt until homogenized. Then add the rest of the yogurt and mix well.Once the mixture is smooth, add the chopped onion, the herbs, the oregano, the capers and the olive oil. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water until you get a thick but runny sauce.
- Make the salmon pasta: Transfer the pasta, the salmon and the tomatoes to a large bowl (you can also use the pot where you cooked the pasta). Add the yogurt sauce and mix to combine. Serve immediately.
- Use gluten-free pasta if you follow a GF diet.
- You can quickly pan-sear the salmon fillets while the pasta is being cooked or you can check this post for how to cook salmon (in the oven or the air fryer).
- If you can't find Greek yogurt, use 1 ¼ cups regular yogurt and omit the pasta water.
- You can use sliced (and pitted) black olives or chopped pickles instead of capers.
- If the pasta and the salmon are adequately salted you won't be needing any extra salt.
- The pasta should be warm but not very hot when mixed with the sauce.