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Salmon Pasta Salad combines cooked salmon, pasta, peas, red bell pepper, and slivers of red onion in a flavorful, creamy dressing.
We’re sharing a really delicious Salmon Pasta Salad today – and it’s made from the leftover salmon we had on hand after enjoying this recipe from earlier in the week.
You can use any cooked salmon you have (including canned) to make this recipe. And, we chose penne pasta – but any sturdy pasta shape will work equally as well.
How do you make Salmon Pasta Salad?
You’ll start by mixing up a delicious dressing made with mayonnaise, sour cream, spicy brown mustard, apple cider vinegar, and a touch of sugar, celery salt, white pepper and garlic powder.
Next, cook your pasta – adding in frozen peas to the pasta cooking water just before draining. Drain the pasta and peas, removing as much excess moisture as possible. Then pour the pasta and peas into the bowl with the dressing. Toss gently to coat the pasta. Add diced red bell pepper and thinly sliced red onion, tossing again to combine.
Finally, add pieces of the cooked salmon – folding gently into the pasta salad so the salmon pieces don’t break up.
As we do with our Macaroni Salad and Jack’s Potato Salad – we then pour the salad onto a flat sheet pan to chill in the refrigerator. Doing so allows the pasta salad to cool off quickly and evenly. (*See more Notes about this in the recipe card below.)
Once chilled, pour the Salmon Pasta Salad into a large serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate for another hour or two until completely chilled.
How do I serve Salmon Pasta Salad?
You can serve this Salmon Pasta Salad on a bed of lettuce as a cold entrée. Or, it can be served as a side dish with grilled meats.
This recipe makes a generous amount of Salmon Pasta Salad – so it’s a great party dish, and leftovers can be packed up for a lunch on-the-go the following day.
You may enjoy these other pasta salad recipes:
1 pound box penne pasta, or other favorite pasta shape
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, coarsely chopped
If using canned salmon, pick the salmon meat from the bones and skin and set aside. If using cooked fresh salmon, break into large, bite-sized pieces.
The cooked pasta will be added to the dressing while it is still hot so make the dressing and prepare the vegetables before cooking the pasta.
Make the dressing in a very large bowl by combining the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, sugar, celery salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Measure out and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Place a large pot of salted water on to boil and cook the pasta to al dente.
Just before pouring the pasta into a colander, add the frozen peas to the water then immediately pour the pasta and peas to drain into the colander.
Shake off as much water as possible and dab the pasta with paper towels to soak up any last drops.
*Pour the hot pasta and peas into the large bowl that has the dressing and gentle toss to combine.
Add the red bell pepper and the onions and toss again.
Finally add the cooked salmon and gently fold to combine without breaking up the salmon too much.
Pour the mixture onto a sheet tray in a single layer* and place in the refrigerator uncovered for a quick cool down.
After an hour, remove the tray from the refrigerator and pour into a large serving bowl and refrigerate again until completely chilled, about 1-2 more hours.
Serve as a cold entrée over a bed of lettuce or as a side dish with a grilled meat.
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*Adding hot pasta to cold mayonnaise is acceptable as long as the finished pasta salad is chilled in a single layer for a quick chill before adding to a deep bowl. This method makes for a creamy salad since the hot pasta will absorb some of the dressing as it cools down. The trick to keeping this safe is to get the temperature of the salad below 40 degrees F as quickly as possible and cooling on a sheet tray will speed the cool down process before it gets added to a bowl.