Flaky salmon, crisp tender green beans, crunchy pistachios, and a zippy vinaigrette come together for the perfect flavor combo. Salmon and green bean pasta salad is the ultimate summer meal!
Say hello to the ultimate summer dinner. It’s fresh, tasty, requires minimal time in the kitchen, and it’s even a bit odd. Odd because who adds salmon to pasta salad? Anyone? Or just me?
If you’re thinking salmon in pasta salad is weird, you’re not alone. I received a strange look from my husband the first time I made this. So many questions… like, “Wait, salmon in pasta salad?” Or, “Is the salmon cold?”
Yes the salmon is cold, but it doesn’t have to be. You could do room temperature or warm if you prefer. And this isn’t your run of the mill pasta salad. (Not that there’s anything wrong with the classic) We’ve got a fun pasta shape, a zippy champagne vinaigrette, pistachios, green beans, shaved parmesan, and of course the salmon.
And you guys, it’s SO GOOD.
I’ve been a loyal subscriber to Cooking Light magazine (which sadly is no longer in print) since I was in high school. A few years ago there was a recipe for gemelli salad with haricot vert and I was obsessed. I’ve been making it for years and sort of evolving it into my own.
Last summer I had a bunch of green beans from my garden and decided to whip up the pasta salad. I also had a thawed piece of salmon that I had planned on making the day before, but didn’t (anyone else do this?!). So I grilled it up and mixed it in and OMG.
We have lots of good stuff going on here – gemelli pasta (one of my favorite shapes), champagne vinegar, lemon, shallots, dill, the flaky salmon, crunchy pistachios, and shaved parmesan.
I know the whole cheese and seafood combo is taboo. BUT, I make an exception for parmesan. It’s nutty and slightly salty and it just works in here! If you’re not into (or want a dairy free option) you can leave it out.
Adding the salmon amps up the protein, fat, omega 3s, and overall makes this more of a main dish. Any green bean will work, but haricot vert (French green beans) are my favorite. They are thinner and mix in perfectly, but regular ole green beans work just as well!
This pasta salad is perfect for summer as it’s light and requires minimal time in the kitchen. Plus, you can make it ahead for those nights when you just don’t want to cook but want to feel a little fancy.
Grab a bowl of salmon and green bean pasta salad and glass of crisp white wine and BAM! Fancy dinner. And I promise, salmon in pasta salad is totally delicious.
- 2 6 oz. Salmon Filets
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive Oil
- 12 oz. ¾ lb. Gemelli Pasta
- 8 oz. Haricot Vert (French Green Beans), cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ Cup Shelled Pistachios, roughly chopped
- ½ Cup Shaved Parmesan Cheese, plus extra for garnish
- ¼ Cup Champagne Vinegar
- Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill
- 1 Large Shallot, thinly sliced
- ½ Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
Season the salmon filets with salt and pepper and cook using preferred method (stove top, grill pan, oven, etc.) until fish is opaque and flakes easily. I use a grill pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness.
Set the salmon aside to cool and then flake into bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a few large pinches of salt and then the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package, but adding 1 minute past al dente. During that last minute of cooking add the green beans into the pot with the pasta. Drain and rinse with cool water.
Toss the cooled pasta with the pistachios, parmesan, and cooled salmon pieces.
Make the vinaigrette by adding all of the ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine.
Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss well to combine. Serve the pasta salad with extra parmesan cheese and enjoy!