Favorite Salmon Pasta with Peas
This easy Favorite Salmon Pasta with Peas is a nutrient-rich meal, not only for your toddler and kids, but for your whole family! Great for baby-led weaning and the finger food stage! 6+ months and up.
Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).
Pasta with Salmon & Peas
Sometimes you just need a few meals in your back pocket that are easy to get on the table, check all the nutrition boxes, and please the whole family. We think you’ll agree that this favorite salmon pasta with peas will be one you can add to that list.
Nutrients? We’ve got energy-building protein and omega-3 sources from our salmon and peas, satisfying carbohydrates and fats from the pasta and whole milk ricotta, and plenty of flavor from simple but classic ingredients like garlic, lemon and chives. Top it all off with a little parmesan and you might find yourself without any leftovers the next day.
Want more? You can find even more family-friendly recipes in my best-selling cookbook Little Foodies: Recipes for Babies and Toddlers with Taste.
Reasons to Love This Salmon Pasta with Peas
- Nutrient-packed meal for growing babies and toddlers
- Quickly gets dinner on the table – the whole recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes
- One Pot Meal
- Great for baby-led weaning or the finger food stage
- Easily customizable – change pasta and veggies based on dietary needs or what you have on hand
- A family-friendly meal that everyone can enjoy
- Works with both fresh or frozen veggies
- A yummy recipe for your baby or toddler’s lunch or dinner
Make sure to read the recipe card below for full ingredients and instructions!
- Pasta: any type or shape will work, you can use traditional pasta, or sub whole wheat or a legume-based pasta, such as lentil or chickpea
- Salmon: you can use fresh salmon or canned
- Ricotta: use whole milk ricotta for a creamy and light flavor that brings this dish together
- Peas: fresh or frozen work equally well, or sub finely chopped spinach or broccoli
- Lemon: gives this dish a refreshing taste
- Olive Oil: adds healthy fats and flavor
- Garlic: finely minced
- Parmesan: sprinkle as much or as little as you’d like!
- Chives: optional, but helps round out all of the flavors
Tip: to make this dish gluten-free, use any gluten-free pasta you prefer.
- Cook Pasta: Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. When you have 2 minutes left in your cooking time, add the peas to the pasta water.
- IMPORTANT: reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and the peas.
- Sauté Garlic: Place the same large pot back on your stove, and add the butter or oil. Add the garlic and let cook until tender. Stir in the pasta and the peas in the pot. Turn the stove off.
- Add Ingredients: Add in the ricotta, parmesan, and lemon juice and gently stir until combined. Add in the reserved pasta water a little at a time, until you have a smooth consistency.
- Fold: Gently fold in the salmon.
- Finish: Sprinkle on chives and pepper (if using).
- Serve and enjoy!
Benefits of Salmon for Baby, Toddler and Kids
Let me count the ways. There are so many!!
- One of the best sources of DHA, a type of Omega 3 fatty acid needed for cognitive development.
- One of the few excellent food sources of vitamin D, which is needed for healthy bone development.
- Canned salmon is a good source of calcium, also needed for bone development.
- Salmon is a low-mercury fish, which makes it a preferred choice over tuna.
- Excellent source of vitamin B12, needed for brain development and producing red blood cells.
How to Select Salmon
Wild Salmon vs. Farmed
Wild, Alaskan salmon is preferred to farm-raised salmon from the Atlantic ocean. Wild salmon is more nutritious because farm-raised salmon is fed a nutrient-poor diet that usually contains antibiotics and pesticides. When choosing salmon filets, you want to make sure they are moist, firm, have a vibrant color, and smell like the ocean. Make sure they don’t have any brown spots and the skin isn’t curling up.
Fresh Salmon vs. Frozen
Frozen, wild-caught salmon often tastes just as good, or even better than some “fresh” salmon that was farm-raised or not frozen shortly after being caught. Again, when deciding between fresh versus frozen, look more at how the salmon was raised. To thaw frozen salmon, first, puncture any vacuum-sealed package it’s in (or remove the salmon from its sealed package and place it in a resealable ziplock baggie). Put the salmon in a bowl and thaw overnight in the fridge for several hours.
When buying canned salmon, which is a great option, look for BPA-free packaging and “no salt added” or “low sodium” varieties.
How to Cook Salmon
While we love recipes that are freezer friendly, this salmon pasta is best eaten the day of or within a few days. Seafood and creamy sauces don’t tend to reheat as well from the freezer.
Yes! While we love the combo of peas, salmon and ricotta. You can use any veggie you have on hand – broccoli, chopped carrots, chopped green beans, etc.
If you are just starting out, larger, wider noodles or whole pieces of tubular pasta, such as penne, rigatoni, or ziti are easier for little hands to hold at this stage. Once your baby gets a little older, around 9-12 months, you can start to offer tubular pasta cut in half, macaroni, quartered ravioli, or chopped noodles to work on their developing pincer grasp.
How to Serve this Salmon Pasta with Peas
Baby: for baby-led weaning, offer large pieces of tubular pasta for babies 6-9 months; if using large, tubular pasta you can cut them in half, and use macaroni, or chopped noodles for babies 9-12 months. The sauce in this dish will help the small pieces of salmon stick to the pasta easily. Babies 9-12 months old will be refining their pincer grasp and be able to pick up small peas with ease!
Toddler: offer a pre-loaded fork with pasta or salmon pieces on it or feel free to continue to let your toddler finger feed by scooping up chopped pasta and salmon with their hands.
Kid: serve older kids this salmon pasta with peas as is, or let them play “chef” and add or swap a veggie of their choice.
Picky Eater: mixed dishes like pasta can sometimes be challenging for picky eaters to handle – but don’t let that stop you from continuing to expose them to new dishes! Try serving a very small portion (think 1 tablespoon) along with a couple of familiar sides to help them avoid feeling overwhelmed. Or try a “deconstructed” version of this salmon pasta with peas – set aside a small serving of the pasta, salmon, and peas when preparing and serve these items individually with a small bowl of the sauce for dipping.
Adults: feel free to add any extra veggies that you might be craving (or need to use up in your kitchen!) such as cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, or an extra helping of garlic.
- If you are using canned salmon, make sure to drain the excess liquid before using
- Be gentle when you go to toss your salmon with your pasta, so that you don’t end up with shredded salmon pieces
- Reheat slowly and on low heat, as the salmon can dry out a little the second time around. You can also add an extra bit of olive oil or a spoonful of ricotta and stir to help with this.
- This delicious pasta also pairs well with a side of garlic bread
Get the recipe: Salmon Pasta with Peas
- 8 oz pasta of choice
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
- 3 tbsp parmesan, grated
- 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup cooked salmon pieces, freshly cooked or canned (drained)
- pinch chives (optional)
- pinch pepper (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta, and cook according to the directions. When you have 2 minutes left in your cooking time, add the peas to the pasta water. IMPORTANT: reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and the peas.
- Place the same large pot back on your stove. Over medium-low heat, add the butter or oil. Add the garlic and let cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the pasta and the peas to the pot. Turn the stove off.
- Add in the ricotta, parmesan, and lemon juice and gently stir until combined. Add in the reserved pasta water a little at a time, until you have a smooth consistency (I added in 1/3 cup of pasta water).
- Add in the salmon, and gently fold in.
- Sprinkle on chives and pepper (if using).
- Serve and enjoy!
Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Place the salmon on the baking sheet and drizzle with oil and rub in any seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, basil, salt and pepper (for over 1 year), etc.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven, and cook for 8 minutes or until it is opaque, easily flakes off with a fork, and reaches an internal temperature of 125-130° F. Let cool slightly.
- With a fork, gently flake off the salmon from the skin and add to pasta.
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2 Comments on “Favorite Salmon Pasta with Peas”
Easy to make. We shared this meal with our 9 month old and everyone had full bellies afterward!! So good. I did Airfry our salmon and then add it to the pasta as opposed to baking the salmon.
I love that you air-fried the salmon – that sounds easy and delicious. So happy to hear the entire family loved this pasta! It’s one of my family’s faves.