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 creamy lemon sauce!

Easy weeknight Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon, and Peas

Farfalle with salmon is a quick weeknight dinner

It’s 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. The whole family loves salmon, and this is one way to make a half a pound stretch to feed four. 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.

The ingredient list is short:

  • farfalle ~ butterfly or bow tie pasta ~ we like it because it stays firm and has a nice chew.
  • salmon ~ can be freshly made or leftover.
  • peas ~ we use frozen.
  • cream ~ cream makes this dish special.
  • lemon ~ the juice and zest gives tons of citrus flavor to the sauce.
  • Parmesan cheese ~ other aged cheese like Asiago or Romano would work.

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 easy salmon pasta has restaurant quality flavor

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 can curdle with the addition of the acidic citrus juice.

making farfalle with salmon, lemon and peas

Use fresh or leftover salmon for this creamy pasta recipe

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

Why farfalle?

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.

More crave-able pasta recipes

3.21 from 250 votes

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!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 312kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 good rounded cups farfalle 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


  • 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.
  • 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, but reserve a cup of the water.
  • 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. Note: use a bit of the reserved pasta water if the sauce seems too thick.
  • Serve asap with extra cheese on the side.

Cook's notes



Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 489mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 627IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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  • Reply
    Gearoid Mor
    April 10, 2021 at 6:55 am

    5 stars
    This is a wonderful quick and easy dish. It packs tons of flavour into a very easy to prepare dish. And there isn’t that much cream – so don’t worry about the calories. One of our go to meals.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 10, 2021 at 7:07 am

      Thanks Gearoid ~ my youngest daughter will be visiting us soon for the first time since the pandemic began and this is the meal she’s specifically requested!

  • Reply
    Lori Schilling
    March 4, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    I need a non-dairy alternative for the cream. Would coconut milk work?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 4, 2021 at 4:37 pm

      I haven’t tried that, but I don’t see why not.

  • Reply
    Caroline P.
    November 6, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    5 stars
    Great recipe!
    I am planning to serve it for a ladies lunch… Substituting puff pastry shells instead of the pasta and adding some pearl onions with the peas and salmon. With a salad an crusty bread … Lunch is served!

    • Reply
      November 6, 2019 at 2:49 pm

      That sounds pretty amazing 🙂

  • Reply
    August 31, 2019 at 10:31 am

    5 stars
    Just finished eating this….delicious! Such a simple recipe, it is quick, easy, inexpensive to make and I can see how it would be simple to vary the protein and/ or the vegetable and the amount of lemon juice for a different dinner any night.

    • Reply
      August 31, 2019 at 11:18 am

      Thanks Judy, and yes, we’ve tried this with shrimp, and also chicken ~ yum!

  • Reply
    March 22, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    5 stars
    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

    5 stars
    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

    5 stars
    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
    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

    5 stars
    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 🙂

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