Mediterranean Salmon Pasta Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing

This fresh, citrusy Mediterranean Salmon Pasta Salad with Lemon Dill dressing tossed with green beans and feta is delicious; ready in 25 minutes and uses canned salmon for a budget bonus.

January 27, 2023

Mediterranean Salmon Pasta in a bowl with dill and lemon on a cutting board

Salmon Pasta Salad on the Table in 25 Minutes

This lemon dill pasta recipe is irresistibly delicious and features crunchy green beans and red onion in a lemon dill dressing topped with creamy feta. An easy pasta dish that does not need a side dish for a fuss-free meal with easy clean-up. It’s ready in 25 minutes, making this pasta salad recipe a great weeknight dinner or potluck dish. 

More Reasons to Love Mediterranean Salmon Pasta

  • Budget Meal – this recipe is included in my Budget Meal recipe collection because it uses canned salmon and frozen green beans, and many commonly stocked grocery items. 
  • Versatile Make Ahead –  this recipe can be served immediately as warm pasta or a Make Ahead meal as a cold or room temperature salad. It’s great for a potluck or picnic because it contains no mayonnaise. 
  • Leftovers – It serves five but can provide Great Leftovers for lunch or another dinner later in the week. Don’t worry about making too much if you have a small household – it will get eaten!
  • Healthy – each serving contains a whopping 31 grams of protein and 160% RDA of Vitamin D and 26% of Calcium, and 5 grams of fiber. Check out the nutritional panel below for more nutritious canned salmon recipe attributes.
  • Easy Staple – This recipe is a part of Panty Meals because the items can be easily stored on hand. By using frozen green beans, pasta, and canned salmon, most of the ingredients can be kept in stock.
  • Beginner Cook Meal – If you are a beginner cook or have a family member that wants to help, this is a Family Friendly Meal. The only cooking required is making the pasta, and the prep work entails chopping an onion and juicing and zesting a lemon.
  • Easy Clean-Up  – This One-Pot Meal requires no side dish. If you want to get fancy, serve it with minestrone soup or a salad.
  • Mediterranean Diet – For the sixth year in a row, the Mediterranean diet has been named #1 by U.S. News & World Report. The diet features fish, seafood, other lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, and legumes. This nutritious salmon pasta salad recipe is packed with many Mediterranean diet ingredients.

Main Ingredients for Mediterranean Salmon Pasta Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing

  • Pasta – I like to use colorful tri-colored spirals because it makes the dish looks appetizing. The ridged pasta shape also holds the dressing well. (See more information below in ingredient tips).
  • Canned salmon – look for wild salmon at the grocery store or use leftover fresh salmon. (See more information below in ingredient tips).
  • Green Beans – fresh or frozen work well in this recipe
  • Red Onion – I prefer the color and taste of red onions over yellow or white. 
  • Fresh Lemon and Zest – Use fresh lemon so the zest can be included. The burst of fresh lemon and peel adds a spectacular citrus punch. 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • Dijon Mustard – for a flavorful kick
  • Dill – fresh or dried is a classic herb with salmon
  • Feta – buy feta in block form and crumble just before serving. (See more information below in ingredient tips).

Recipe TIPS

Cook green beans cook with pasta
1

Save a dirty dish and add green beans to the pasta pot while cooking.

Rotini and green beans in the colander
2

This recipe can use frozen or fresh green beans. Frozen vegetables are a great budget option.

Ingredient Tips

  • Why Use Canned Salmon?  Don’t snub your nose at canned salmon; it has slightly higher levels of two omega-3s than fresh and contains small bones that are edible and very high in calcium.  Consumer Reports states that both canned and fresh salmon are nutritious because they are high in protein and nutrients. Purchase the best quality canned salmon you can afford but consider purchasing wild-caught salmon. It’s worth the expense because it contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids and a large amount of vitamin D—two nutrients that can help reduce inflammation. Another bonus is that wild salmon contains less mercury according to some research.
  • Pasta – I use gluten-free brown rice vegetable spirals. This tri-color pasta adds fiber and color from the spinach, carrot, and tomato than traditional pasta.  Other swap-outs are whole wheat pasta or bean flour pasta like lentil or chickpea.  

What type of Feta Cheese is Best in Recipes?

  • Feta Cheese Ingredients – Feta, a flavorful creamy cheese cured in brine, is a staple in Greek cuisine and the Mediterranean Diet. It has a tangy, sharp flavor and is a source of protein, calcium, and healthy fats. Feta cheese made in the EU is from 100% sheep’s milk but may contain up to 30% goat’s milk. Feta produced in the United States and other countries could be made from cow’s milk or a combination of kinds of milk. Look at the package if you have an ingredient preference.
  • Feta Cheese Containers – The best quality taste and freshness is from a block of feta stored in a plastic lidded container with brine. Crumble what your recipe needs and store the remainder in the brine. Feta blocks are sold wrapped in plastic without brine (vacuum pack). This is an excellent option if you use all the cheese in one recipe. Leftover pieces will dry out quickly if they are not stored in brine. I don’t recommend buying pre-crumbled feta cheese. The taste is lower quality and only saves you three seconds. 

How to Store and Reheat?

Store leftovers in a lidded glass container for up to three days. You can eat the leftovers cold or heat them in the microwave. Warm on reheat or 80% for one minute at a time until it has reached your desired temperature. You want to take the chill off the dish but not so long that the feta cheese melts. If it seems a little dry, add some water or olive oil.  

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Mediterranean Salmon Pasta in a bowl with dill and lemon on a cutting board

Mediterranean Salmon Pasta Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing


Description

This fresh, citrusy Mediterranean Salmon Pasta Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing tossed with green beans and feta is delicious; ready in 25 minutes and uses canned salmon for a budget bonus.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 12oz rotini pasta, traditional or gluten-free.
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces or 12-oz frozen green beans
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 14.75-oz can of wild-caught pink or red salmon, drained.*
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 lemon, juiced 1/4 cup**
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 24 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped or 1 teaspoon dry; reserve some for garnish
  • 4oz feta cheese block, crumbled***

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in boiling pasta water according to package directions, adding cut green beans (fresh or frozen) during the last 5 minutes of pasta cooking. Before draining, scoop 1 cup of salted water into a coffee mug. Drain and rinse for a few seconds with cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, Combine Salad. Combine onions, dill, salmon, and half of the crumbled feta in a large serving bowl. Note: Mix in any bones and skin from the can since they have great nutritional value.
  3. Make Dressing while the pasta cooks: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, juice, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add pasta and green beans to the salmon in the large serving dish. If you need a little moisture, add some of the pasta water, one tablespoon at a time.
  5. Combine salad dressing and mix all ingredients.
  6. Garnish. Top with remaining feta cheese and sprinkle extra dill to garnish.

 

Notes

* Most canned salmon contains small bones that are edible and very high in calcium, and easily break apart. If this is an issue, look for pouches.

**More juice is expressed from a room-temperature lemon

***For the best flavor, do not use fat-free or pre-crumbled feta

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Category: Fish and Seafood
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: canned salmon, dill, lemon, green beans, feta, Mediterranean diet, weeknight meal, potluck recipe, picnic dish

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