Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon, and Peas

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This Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon, and Peas is a deliciously easy pasta recipe with chunks of tender salmon, and garden peas in a to-die-for creamy lemon sauce!

Easy weeknight Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon, and Peas

This quick weeknight dinner is an old family favorite, I’m not sure why I’ve never posted it here before.  The dinner comes together in the time it takes the pasta to cook, and the flavor is wonderfully lemony.   I love salmon, and this is one way to make a half a pound stretch to feed four.  The ingredient list is short: farfalle (or bow tie pasta,) salmon, frozen peas, cream, lemon, and a dash of Parmesan cheese.  A little salt and pepper is all you need to finish off a wonderful family meal that is hearty but manages to be light and bright at the same time.  You can thank the fresh lemon juice and zest for that.

Pasta with Salmon, Lemon, and Peass

This is a homey meal that has a restaurant ‘feel’ to it.  I think it’s the heavy cream that’s responsible, which also means that this is not low calorie dish.  But the cream does so many good things for this pasta, I think, once you taste it, you’ll agree the calories are worth it.  For one thing the cream allows you to add as much lemon as you need to get great lemony flavor.  With anything short of heavy cream, the sauce would curdle with the addition of the acidic citrus juice.  This is also a kid pleaser and a great way to introduce fish to picky eaters…my girls grew up loving ‘pink fish’, and this has been one of their most requested meals over the years.

making farfalle with salmon, lemon and peas

You can use leftover cooked salmon, but I usually buy a small piece and poach it especially for this dish.  I put the fish in a saucepan and add water, almost to cover.  I bring it to a boil, then cover tightly and turn off the heat.  The salmon cooks to perfection in about 10 minutes.  I drain it, remove any skin, and gently break it apart with clean hands.  The fish flakes naturally into large pieces which retain their integrity in the sauce.  You want to be able to see and taste that beautiful salmon, so don’t break it up too much.

Farfalled in a Salmon Cream Sauce

Farfalle is the perfect pasta shape for this, it retains a bite, and the lemony cream sauce nestles in the crevices of the bow.  I think pasta shapes like this are so much better for creamy sauces, everything just mixes together better and doesn’t clump like strand pasta can.

Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon and Peas
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96 ratings

Yield: serves 4

Homey and comforting Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon, and Peas


  • 2 good rounded cups farfalle, (bowtie pasta) uncooked
  • 1/2 lb salmon fillet or leftover cooked salmon
  • juice and zest of 1 large or 2 small lemons
  • 1 cup frozen peas (no need to defrost)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste


  1. If your salmon is not cooked, place it in a saucepan and almost cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover tightly and remove from the heat. Let it poach for 10 minutes. Drain and remove the skin, then gently pull the fish into large flakes with clean hands. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta to just al dente. I usually cook it a couple of minutes LESS than the package tells me to, this way the pasta retains some bite. Drain.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the cream in a large saute pan. Add the frozen peas, the flaked salmon, the lemon juice, zest, and the salt and pepper to taste and heat everything through. Add the cooked pasta and a good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Mix everything well and make sure the sauce is good and hot. Take the time to give it a taste, and adjust the salt and pepper, and maybe add more lemon or cheese if it needs it. Serve with extra cheese.

Make it your own ~

  • Use any pasta shape you like for this recipe, I like it with linguine or angel hair, too.
  • You can substitute shrimp for the salmon.


Don’t forget to pin this Easy Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon, and Peas!

This Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon, and Peas is a deliciously easy pasta recipe with chunks of tender salmon, and garden peas in a to-die-for creamy lemon sauce! #dinner #recipe #bestsalmonpasta #fish #seafood #salmon #comfortfood #familydinner

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  • Reply
    March 22, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Sue…Thanks! This is so good and so fast to make. I had left over Salmon and found this recipe. The one item I didn’t have on hand was the heavy cream (and I knew even half and half would curdle) so it was off to the store. The 4 servings with 1/3 cup of heavy cream comes up to 1 tbsp of cream per serving (to me no big deal). This is a keeper and will work well with left over chicken. i used noodles and took your advice of cooking them 2 minuets less than the instructions. Thanks again, Chet PS: I plan on trying your other recipes.

    • Reply
      March 22, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks Chet, I’m so glad you found us here :)

  • Reply
    October 26, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Sue, Thanks for this great recipe! It has been on my wish list for a while. Tonight, I cut the recipe in half (except for that delicious sauce). Perfect! Enough for tonight and tomorrow, too. I can’t thank you enough for all the wonderful, taste-tempting work you do.

    • Reply
      October 27, 2018 at 8:41 am

      This is a favorite of my girls, Judy, and I’m so happy you loved it :)

  • Reply
    Donna Hardwick
    September 14, 2018 at 8:27 am

    This was absolutely glorious!!! Delicious to eat and beautiful to look at!!

    • Reply
      September 14, 2018 at 9:00 am

      Thanks for the report back Donna, glad you liked it, it’s a family favorite of ours :)

  • Reply
    September 6, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Can I use sour cream? No heavy cream on hand

    • Reply
      September 6, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      Sour cream is harder to work with, Shefali, since it can curdle, but you can certainly try. I would avoid high heat, for sure.

  • Reply
    Simple Salmon Salad
    April 22, 2018 at 4:00 am

    […] Try these Cajun Baked Salmon Cakes,  Salmon & Avocado Stuffed Lettuce Wraps or this Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon and Peas. […]

  • Reply
    March 1, 2018 at 5:56 am

    I was thinking I might be able to use Condensed Non-Fat Milk instead of cream to make it healthy as well as yummy. Has anyone tried that?

    • Reply
      March 1, 2018 at 9:37 am

      That’s such an interesting thought, I bet it would work, as long as there wasn’t a ‘canned’ flavor…but the lemon would probably mask that.

  • Reply
    Glendale Carrara
    August 8, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight using others recommendations.It is Fantastic.I even posted the pics on Fb as I made it. I did use the mini pasta insted b of the large. It gave me a great smount b of sauce to cart the pasta with. This is a keeper.!!!!

    • Reply
      August 8, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Yay, I’m so glad, I’ll go see if I can find your pics!

      • Reply
        Janet Geisler
        September 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm

        Mine was so sour! I expected white sauce with a delicate hint of lemon so you can enjoy the salmon! Next time I make it I will ad lemon a teaspoon at a time

        • Reply
          September 9, 2017 at 6:15 pm

          It’s always good to taste as you go, for sure, and adding the lemon a little at a time is smart, since everyone has such different taste. I’m definitely on the side of more lemon is better, but I hope you try this again with a little less :)

  • Reply
    September 27, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Don’t know what I did but I seem to be the only one who couldn’t make it right! The cream curdled as soon as I put the lemon in. I threw away the first batch and tried again. Curdled again.

    • Reply
      September 27, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Cream should not curdle when you add lemon, Renee, I’m confused. Is it possible the cream was past it’s fresh date? And was it regular cream, not half and half?

    • Reply
      July 1, 2017 at 6:08 am

      try lower heat, mine curdled the first time (still taste okay, just looks ugly) and was delicious next time made on low heat. Hope it helps!

  • Reply
    September 27, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Really wonderful and easy dish. I’m making it again tonight for the second time. Wouldn’t change a thing! Thanks! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    made it! But, just slapped it together without measuring anything. Came out great! Will add this to list of keepers.

    • Reply
      June 24, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      I’m totally a fan of slapping it together :)

  • Reply
    February 9, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I just made this with leftover grilled salmon, and it was delicious. However, I found that I had to use much more than the 1/3 cup liquid as published. I was using half and half, and just kept on adding more and more (I didn’t measure). I usually dislike leftover salmon, but I will most certainly use this recipe again.

    • Reply
      February 9, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      There is always a little leeway in recopies to allow for variation for whatever reason, I’m glad you liked this Cory.

      • Reply
        February 9, 2016 at 7:07 pm

        Oh I agree! My pasta must have been extra thirsty :-)

  • Reply
    November 15, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    I just made this! Just finished eating it about 5 minutes ago and had to leave a comment on how delightful it was. Creamy, yet light. Poached the salmon per the instructions. Only thing I left out was the zest. Either because I don’t have a zester or because I’m too lazy and just used bottled lemon juice…take your pick. Very good, though! I’ll be making again.

  • Reply
    Tammy Wexler
    August 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Yay, Sue!! Made this tonight with leftover salmon that had a little balsamic glaze on it, and it was great! Used half & half instead of heavy cream and added (at Jenna’s suggestion) dill! FABulous! Keep ’em coming! xo

    • Reply
      August 6, 2015 at 5:47 am

      Thanks so much for the feedback Tammy — I’m interested that you used half and half, I would love to do that, but I was afraid that the lemon would curdle it, so I guess I’m going to try it that way next time!

  • Reply
    February 16, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    This sounds great. How many people do you think it serves as a main course – assuming there is also a salad? I have to make a light lunch for 50 people – don’t want it to be too expensive – and thought this would work. Is it ok to serve an hour later room temperature? Or does the cream sauce get thick and yucky at room temp? thanks!

    • Reply
      February 16, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      As the recipe is written, it would serve about four, I just added that to the post, thanks, Louise. I allow about 1/8 lb of salmon per person. Not sure about the room temperature…if you could have it in chafing dishes that might be better, but as long as you don’t refrigerate the pasta, the sauce should be ok for an hour.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Anyone tried this with plain unsweetened almond milk in place of heavy cream?

  • Reply
    February 2, 2015 at 4:49 am

    Nice and easy! What more do you want? ;)

  • Reply
    January 21, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I am so partial to farfalle. I think those bow ties just taste better because they are so cute. Love this dish, Sue! Lemon, salmon, peas and cream. One just can’t go wrong!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I love this dish! I make something really similar, but never thought to use lemon. I will, though. :-) Thanks for this.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    January 20, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    I love these light and bright flavors, the perfect meal to enliven a cold January day!

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    January 20, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    what a wonderful light and flavorful dish. The green peas add a nice touch of color and I love that sauce.

  • Reply
    January 20, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Creamy pasta is one indulgence worth the calories. Plus, I figure the salmon and peas infuse it with so much health, they pretty much cancel each other out!

    • Reply
      January 20, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      Of course :)

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    January 20, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Oh I bet that salmon is tender – I love to poach chicken that way too. Beautiful dish that has it all! Very nice Sue :)

    • Reply
      January 20, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      I do my boiled eggs that way too!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I Have always made it with smoked salmon..I prefer yours.
    Not a big ss fan here…

    • Reply
      January 20, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      Nice idea, though, to make it with smoked salmon, then it’s a complete pantry meal…

  • Reply
    January 20, 2015 at 10:02 am

    This is my partners favorite pasta. He’s mad for peas. GREG

    • Reply
      January 20, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Mad for Peas… sounds like a good blog name :)

  • Reply
    January 20, 2015 at 7:57 am

    I am going to make this tonight! YUM.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    January 20, 2015 at 5:51 am

    What a beautiful pasta and a great way to add more salmon to the weekly meals. I’ll be making this :)

  • Reply
    January 20, 2015 at 3:20 am

    This is my kind of healthy comfort treat, Sue.

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