Recipe: Cilantro Pesto Salmon Pasta (Gluten Free & Dairy Free)

This happens to be the ultimate brain-food meal for summer! It’s so refreshing, nourishing, and loaded with good for you (and your brain) ingredients – like antioxidants, omega 3’s, and all sorts of vitamins & minerals!

I find my body often craves this exact meal in the summer time! This take on cilantro for the pesto makes it incredibly fresh and tangy tasting – not to mention super antioxidant rich!

You can decide if you want to lightly saute the veg or keep them fresh for more of a ‘pasta salad’ version of this dish. You can also pick if you want to serve it warm or eat it room temp/ cooled (nice for super hot sunny days).

This recipe is completely dairy free and can easily be made gluten free if you use brown rice or bean based noodles.

As always, when eating salmon I encourage everyone to ALWAYS consume wild salmon only! Wild salmon is much better for us as well as the oceans 🙂

I hope you enjoy this Cilantro Pesto Salmon Pasta as much as I do!


Serves 2

For the Cilantro Pesto:

– 1 cup fresh cilantro
– 1 cup arugula
– 1 clove of garlic (or 2 small)
– Juice of 1/2 a lemon
– 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
– 1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil
– 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
– 3 Tbsp water (plus a few Tbsp more while blending)
– 1 to 2 tsp sea salt (start with 1 tsp and adjust to taste)

For the Salmon:

– 2 wild salmon filets (approx. 4-6 oz. per filet)
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
– 1 Tbsp. lemon juice (or the juice of 1/2 a lemon)
– 2 Tbsp. olive oil
– The zest of 1 lemon
– Freshly ground salt & pepper

For the Pasta:

– 1 quart cherry tomatoes
– 3-4 large handfuls arugula
– 150g noodles of choice (I like using a bean based noodle like Chickapea)
Optional: capers and/ or olives (not necessary as the dish is already highly flavourful but a nice touch nonetheless!)


For the Pesto:

– Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until well incorporated
– Feel free to add a touch of additional water and a dash more oil for easier blending
– Set aside until it’s time to add to the noodles!

*NOTE: it’s best to zest your lemon (that you’ll need for the salmon) before you juice it 🙂

For the Salmon:

– Pre-heat oven to 400 F
– In a small bowl or jar, add the garlic, lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, and lemon zest. Mix until well combined
– Next, pour equally over the salmon filets, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper
– Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes before placing in the oven
– Bake for 12 minutes, and then check to see how it’s doing. The length of baking will depend on the thickness of the salmon and how cooked you like it. I typically need to bake mine for 15-16 minutes.

For the Pasta:

– As the salmon is baking, bring a large pot of water to boil
– Once boiling, add your noodles and cook according to package directions. Once finished cooking, strain and rinse well
– In the mean time, chop your cherry tomatoes into quarters
– You can choose if you’d like to lightly saute your tomatoes and arugula in a pan with olive oil – or if you’d like to keep fresh. If it’s a hot summer day I like to keep fresh 🙂

To Assemble:

– Once the salmon is done baking, the noodles are done cooking, and your pesto is made – it’s time to assemble everything
– Generously disperse the pesto over your noodles, adding the tomatoes and handfuls of arugula. Mix until the pesto is distributed throughout. If adding capers and olives – add them here too
– Place the pasta into serving bowls and then put your salmon filet on top – you can always serve with an extra dollop of pesto on top of the salmon if desired or another fresh squeeze of lemon
– Enjoy!

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