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Mar 3, 2021

Linguine with Salmon and Cilantro Pesto

This linguine with salmon and cilantro almond pesto comes together quickly and is a simple yet elegant dinner for two. 

Pesto Linguine with salmon in bowls

I used a cilantro and almond pesto for this linguine and salmon. I loved the fresh flavor of the cilantro. Plus, the almonds go so well with the cilantro, garlic, and Romano cheese. 

You will have plenty of leftover cilantro pesto, perfect for spreading on crackers or topping a steak or burger. Be sure to bring leftover pesto to room temperature before serving to bring out all of the flavors. 

A secret ingredient in the pesto is a little bit of chicken broth in the pesto. You use less oil in the pesto, and get a nice savory flavor from the broth. I like to mix a small amount of Better Than Bouillon chicken base so that I don't have to open a whole can of broth. 

Salmon and Cilantro Pesto Linguine

To make the salmon, you can either grill it or pan fry it. I used "frozen on the dock" 1-inch thick salmon filets (from wild caught salmon). I left the skin on while cooking the fish because I love how the fatty skin keeps the salmon moist. You can peel it off just before serving. 

The only seasoning I used on the salmon filets was salt and pepper. 

I used linguine for the noodles. If you don't have any on hand, you could probably substitute your favorite pasta shape. Just cook it al dente according to the package directions. 

Before draining the pasta, be sure to reserve a small amount of the simmering water to thin the pesto if necessary. 

Linguine with Salmon and Pesto in bowls

While this recipe serves two, this salmon and pasta recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a weeknight family dinner or a weekend dinner party. It's so simple and elegant. 

Serve this salmon and linguine with a leafy green salad and crusty bread for a delicious meal. Set out extra pesto for spreading on the bread. 

You can also garnish this dish with more cilantro and/or extra grated cheese. 

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Linguine with Salmon and Cilantro Pesto

Linguine with Salmon and Cilantro Pesto

Linguine with Salmon and Cilantro Pesto
Yield: 2 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
This linguine with salmon and cilantro almond pesto comes together quickly and is a simple yet elegant dinner for two.


For the Pesto
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
For the Linguine with Salmon and Cilantro Pesto
  • 4 ounces uncooked linguine
  • Salt for the pasta water
  • 2 four-ounce 1 inch thick salmon filets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of the pesto plus reserved pasta water if necessary
  • Lemon wedges, more pesto, and extra cheese for garnish


To Make the Pesto
  1. Add the cilantro, almonds, garlic, and chicken broth to a blender or mini food processor. Pulse until smooth. 
  2. With the machine running, add the olive oil until combined. 
  3. Add the cheese and pulse a few times until combined. 
To Make the Linguine with Salmon and Cilantro Pesto
  1. Prepare the linguine according to package directions in salted water. Drain, after reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.  Set aside. 
  2. Pat the salmon filets dry and and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. 
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Cook the filets, skin side down, for 4 minutes. Flip the salmon over and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until fully cooked. Remove from the pan and tent with foil. 
  4. Divide the linguine between two bowls and top each with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pesto and toss. Add some pasta water if the pesto needs thinning. 
  5. Cut the salmon into bite sized pieces, add to the bowls and stir slightly to incorporate the salmon. 
  6. Serve with lemon wedges, more cheese, and more pesto for garnish (optional). 
salmon, pesto, pasta
Main course
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Would you like to comment?

  1. I love everything about this dish, Karen. Wild salmon has the best flavor and I can't wait to try your cilantro and almond pesto.

  2. I too love the fresh, robust flavor of cilantro. Would love to try this!

  3. I'd use the extra pesto on pizza. If I had any leftover. It sounds fantastic with the salmon pasta.

  4. Such an elegant pasta perfect for date night! So many great flavors, especially with that cilantro pesto.

  5. The pink salmon gives this pasta dish an extra Oomph, love it!!

  6. lovely ingredients and a great recipe but the pasta must be cold before the salmon is cooked ?? I would be cooking the salmon & pasta simultaneously so they were both hot to serve

    1. If you are a good multi tasker, by all means cook them all at the same time =)

  7. Look at that beautiful color of the salmon against the pesto coated pasta - it's gorgeous!


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