Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad

Sometimes I leave work exhausted with no desire to cook anything for dinner. I just want to pick up something on my way home. And there is one thing that I love, something that never disappoints me and always leaves me satisfied: the smoked salmon pasta salad from Whole Paycheck. I know it is ridiculous, but I just love it. Different Whole Foods locations make this differently. Fine, I confess I’ve probably had this at every single Whole Foods store in DC. Some locations make it with mayo, some make it with olive oil, some cook the veggies, and some don’t. This is my version, and yes, it is way cheaper to make it at home than to buy it pre-made.

I made some smoked salmon for April’s charcutepalooza challenge (more on that on my charcutepalooza post on Friday), it came out buttery, perfectly smoked, and it just melts in your mouth. I hesitated to make smoked salmon at home in a stove top smoker because I was afraid it would overcook and turn into fully cooked, hot smoked salmon. I really wanted the texture of cold smoked salmon. So with a little tlc and a very low flame I was able to get the texture of store-bought cold smoked salmon. I don’t think I’ll be getting pasta salad from the store for a very long time.

Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
Serves about 4

• 8 ounces farfalle pasta (about 2 cups)
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• ½ small red onion, sliced
• ½ small red bell pepper, chopped
• 3 tablespoons mayonnaise*
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon dill fronds, chopped
• 3 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
• 1 tablespoon pitted and sliced black olives

1. Cook pasta according to package directors to al dente. Rinse with cold water.
2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet heat olive oil and sauté red onion and red bell pepper until it softens slightly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, and smoked salmon. Add pasta, veggies, and black olives. Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.
*If you don’t want to use mayonnaise, you can make this with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil instead of the mayonnaise and maybe a bit more lemon juice.

Author: onevanillabean

I have loved cooking and baking since I was 5 years old. It was the one activity that I would share with all my extended family. Like most people, I love traveling. I love visiting the markets, exploring unknown ingredients, and bringing them back home with me for inspiration. I find that recipes with simple and pure ingredients yield the best results.

20 thoughts

  1. buttery. that’s exactly how I described your salmon too. and melts in your mouth.

    what a perfect salad! I think it’d be also good if you used potatoes instead of pasta as an alternative.

  2. Beautiful salad. Hoping to get some more hot smoking done on the weekend if NZ weather is up for letting me BBQ. Look forward to hearing how the challenge went for you.

  3. This looks great! Even more importantly, it looks like it might work with the massive amounts of smoked mackerel I have leftover from Charcutepalooza. Getting rid of meat is becoming a problem…

  4. When I saw the picture in my reader (before I read any text) I immediately thought of the pasta salad from whole foods. Hah, I love that stuff! I’m so glad to see a recipe for it, I’ve been craving it forever. I’d love for you to add this to the Hump Day Hoorah link party. I hope to see you there! 🙂

  5. This dish is simply divine!! I love that you smoked your own salmon, how difficult of a process is that?? Your photos are making my mouth water!! Have a great weekend- Paulie

  6. Mairi–Can’t wait to see what you make!
    Celia–I think it would be delicious with smoked mackerel.
    Ali–Thank you! It tried to link, but it the linking tool did not work for me 😦
    Paul–Thank you for stopping by! I used a stove top smoker, you can get it on amazon. It was so easy to use!

  7. Hello One Vanilla Bean,

    We’ve selected you as our Foodista Food Blog of the Day for this April 18, 2011! Your blog for Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad will be featured on the Foodista homepage for 24 hours.

    Since you are now a part of the Foodista Featured Blogger of The Day Community, we’ve created a special badge for you to display proudly on your blog sidebar. I couldn’t find your email on your blog to send you the access code for the special badge, but I want to make sure you get it if you are interested. Please send me an email and I’ll send it right away.
    We are really enjoying your blog and look forward to seeing your recipes, tips and techniques on Foodista! If you would not like to be recognized on Foodista please let me know and I will remove your blog from our queue.


    Christine @ Foodista

      1. How much is 2 cups pasta – 8 oz or less? The way you have the recipe her – how many does it serve? I want to make for a girls party on Friday. Aloha

  8. Love this recipe. I’d like to link to it on my blog but I can’t find an e-mail address to contact you directly. Can you please e-mail me back so I can send you proposal for permission to use photo and link to heidi at foodiecrush dot com ? Thanks!

  9. I’m eating this right now! Delicious! Took less than 30 minutes from start to finish. I’ve never done anything with smoked salmon before so I was a little skeptical but I had nothing to fear. I love it. This recipe will definitely go into my rotation.

  10. Made this last night. Except I had regular salmon that I seasoned & baked. I added a little more dill, mayo& lemon and I added sour cream. Yum! Used scallions instead of red onion (my taste preference). I used celery, no red pepper or olives. It was devilously delish

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