Smoked Salmon and Dill Pasta Salad

February 9, 2017
Smoked Salmon and Dill Pasta Salad - Pasta with a creamy, greek yogurt orange sauce is spiked with fresh dill, tomatoes, scallions and smoked salmon

“What fun projects are you working on in the kitchen?”


Photo Credit: Harvard – Cooking Science

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Asked of me at a dinner party last weekend. If I didn't have an answer .. guaranteed she'd pass along some good ideas

“Hummm .. let's see. I'm brewing Kombucha .. started a batch of sauerkraut .. and am feeding a sourdough starter (a gift from a neighbor .. all the way from Germany)”

I also think of those I'm excited to try: aka the stacks of seed catalogs scattered around my nightstand.

As winter winds blow outside .. I'm under the electric blanket .. flagging their pages .. and dreaming of summer in the garden. I'm looking forward to hours in the sunshine with books on tape .. picking fresh flowers for the windowsills .. and all of the recipes I'm excited to make

Until last year I'd only been an herb gardener of sorts. A lifetime ago .. proudly amassing basil .. mint .. and what was the other? Not long after my son was born and all of their pretty green sprouts shriveled. It seemed my capacity for keeping something alive was limited to one .. and a newborn seemed an adequate top for the hierarchy

Last summer I became the official weeder of a plot shared with friends and officially caught the bug. Sometimes driving home I pass by. The grey ribbons of what .. just a few months ago ..

was so full of life

Smoked Salmon and Dill Pasta Salad - Pasta with a creamy, greek yogurt orange sauce is spiked with fresh dill, tomatoes, scallions and smoked salmon

There were so many wonderful things about growing up on our family's Iowa farm .. and my grandfather living close by was one of the best. Not only did he live (and farm) well into his nineties .. but he was a master flower gardener as well

As a child .. winter felt like something to wait and wonder through .. although it never seemed to bother him a bit. I remember the scraggly looking rose bushes covered with snow .. the planters whose edges were no longer softened by masses of daylilies .. the outlines of his flower beds dotting the yard.

He was my first employer .. and for every trip to the mailbox .. I earned a dollar. My burden was light .. until around mid-winter when .. along with the snow .. came the gigantic drifts of nursery catalogs

We'd often pass the afternoons together .. playing cribbage and eating circus peanuts. While waiting my turn I'd thumb through the latest offerings .. asking him questions .. hoping he'd read me a story from their pages. It was in those moments .. it seemed I'd discovered winter's beauty. Imagining what his gardens would look .. feel .. and smell like

in the summer

Smoked Salmon and Dill Pasta Salad - Pasta with a creamy, greek yogurt orange sauce is spiked with fresh dill, tomatoes, scallions and smoked salmon


“Did you know it can take sixty days for a tomato plant to bear fruit?” One of the questions she patiently answered while we were planting last spring

Then I'd water and wait .. water and think .. water and look .. water and search .. water and wait some more. (And if you can relate) .. I'd water and question some more.

Is it getting enough sun? Am I watering too much? Oh no .. the leaves are looking a yellow around the edges. Is a deer going to eat it all? Will this work? What if I kill off all of the lettuce?”

It seems to me now .. as I thumb through the catalogs .. that gardening (much like farming) is less an exercise in flowers or vegetables .. and more an exercise in faith. You realize the leaves will look yellow and limp on some days .. and lush and green on others. And still .. you water.

You stumble out of bed .. you brown the potatoes .. you walk the dogs .. you fold the socks. You offer what you know .. and tend to it while praying for sunshine and rain. Along the way trying your best to sprinkle in a few helpful nutrients:  patience .. kindness .. grace. Rational thoughts might help .. but honestly?

One can never tell

Smoked Salmon and Dill Pasta Salad - Pasta with a creamy, greek yogurt orange sauce is spiked with fresh dill, tomatoes, scallions and smoked salmon

I watch as a kitty gingerly surfs his way across the scattered sea of magazines .. and can't help but wonder if maybe I've stumbled upon a few of his secrets. The true beauty of a garden .. and how to live a life.

That growing season will come soon enough .. and along with it many happy moments to get dirt under my nails. Although who hasn't encountered an unreliable bulb .. a root that simply won't take .. ran for the hills because of the mosquitos .. felt slimed by layers of sunscreen .. or wondered how you're ever going to process all of its bounties?

It seems to me that the enchantment of gardening might lie most vividly in our imaginations. It's infinitely more beautiful in the dead of winter.

And in the summer .. when the rosemary's looking a little forlorn. When I wonder if perhaps I've done something wrong. Too much water? Too little sun?

I'll start to Google and instead, stop to think of him. I'm sure he'd concur that herbs .. and vegetables .. and flowers are an awful lot like people

There are good days and bad. Trust the process. Water + sun +

an awful lot of faith

Smoked Salmon and Dill Pasta Salad - Pasta with a creamy, greek yogurt orange sauce is spiked with fresh dill, tomatoes, scallions and smoked salmon

A fresh take on classic pasta salad .. one that reminds me not only of summer .. but of the friend who's a wealth of culinary project suggestions

If you invite her to a picnic .. barbecue .. housewarming .. or black party .. odds are she'll show up with a pasta salad. She'll wheel it around in a cooler and when the time is right .. she'll flip the top and pull a cornflower blue bowl from the ice.

The bowl is what I noticed first .. ceramic with a flower detail on the inside rim. It's part of a set I remember seeing in my grandmother's kitchen .. so very long ago. Hers is medium-sized and always makes its appearance with plastic wrap across the top .. secured with a rubber band.

Macaroni salad has been on the menu a couple of times this week .. and this is by far the favorite. A sauce with a base of greek yogurt .. its bright flavors from dill and orange. Beyond that, I added some smoked salmon .. celery.. tomatoes .. scallions .. and stopped there.

A final note:  I'd encourage you to really taste and adjust as you toss this salad. The general amounts in the recipe are a great place to start .. but keep adding sea salt .. pepper .. dill .. and orange until the flavors really pop off of the pasta.

It'll happen



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~ Adapted from Lunds and Byerlys | Real Food Summer 2016

4.5 from 8 reviews
Smoked Salmon + Dill Pasta Salad
Serves: 6 Servings
  • 8 oz bow tie pasta ** Choosing a gluten-free pasta will make this recipe gluten-free overall
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh dill weed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • ½ tsp fine grain sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz smoked salmon
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 medium scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions
  2. In a large bowl, combine the greek yogurt, dill, orange zest and juice, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and combine
  3. Chop the salmon into bite-sized pieces and add them to the bowl
  4. Add the celery, scallions, and tomatoes
  5. Add the pasta and toss to coat
  6. Chill until ready to serve
Nutritional Data by %
% Protein: 20
% Carbs: 72
% Fat: 10
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙ Total Recipe Calories: 196 Fat: 2.36 Carbohydrates: 35.53 Sugar: 4.83 Protein: 10.4

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  • Reply Nina February 10, 2017 at 2:31 am

    I’ve never really thought about how much faith farming would take. You are so right, though. You just have to do your best and trust the process. I also love this recipe. Anything with pasta is my favorite!

  • Reply Rhian February 10, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Yum, I absolutely love smoked salmon so this sounds incredible x

  • Reply Miss Kim February 10, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Food freshly picked from the garden is the best! I pick fresh stuff from our garden (at the restaurant) every day to cook with. I just wish I had my own lovely garden at home!

  • Reply Elizabeth O. February 10, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    It would be so nice to grow up in a farm and just help with growing the produce. I’m sure it was a lovely experience. I think this salad is great! It’s fresh and the flavors are so natural, not like your usual store bought salad dressings. It would be perfect for Spring and Summer!

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus February 12, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Wow I had no idea you grew up in Iowa. I also come from a family of farmers, my parents are from Madeira and their parents owned farms and land. I hail from a little village in the south of England originally and lived next door to a farm and of course chickens! This salad looks fresh xx

  • Reply Rose Sahetapy February 12, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Love you recipes including this one! The way you write is beautiful and charming. What a way to introduce a recipe.

  • Reply Chris February 12, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    This looks delicious! Definitely saving this recipe. Can’t wait to try it, as salmon is one of my favorite fish!

  • Reply Keith February 12, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    I did not know you were from Iowa. I visited Iowa when I have family in Cedar Rapids. I love the recipe. It is one I have to try for my wife. She loves Salmon and pasta.

  • Reply E. Roman February 13, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Fresh ingredients are the best and salmon is so YUMMY!!!

  • Reply Jae February 13, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Now this is a combo I have never thought of but sounds very interesting! Great post xo

  • Reply Allison February 13, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I love dill, it’s one of my favorite flavors. This pasta salad looks phenomenal!

  • Reply Cori February 13, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    This sounds like such a refreshing meal!

  • Reply Maggie Unzueta February 13, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    I might be drooling. This looks like the most perfect lunch.

  • Reply Leah February 13, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    This sounds delicious! I love salads with dill in them, and I bet with the salmon, this is perfection! Yum!

  • Reply Ashley February 13, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Yum!! This looks delicious!! I love the flavor of dill! I will have to give this a try.

  • Reply Sharon Samuel February 13, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Salmon has been my newfound favorite food, and everyone loves pasta. The two together sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Bella February 14, 2017 at 12:01 am

    Yummy yummy in my tummy this looks super goof, I love pasta salad!

  • Reply cara February 14, 2017 at 10:34 am

    This looks so yummy! I can’t wait for the spring/summer months where I can incorporate fresh produce more into pasta salads! 🙂

  • Reply Sally February 14, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    You had me at dill! I love how it can add brightness to a dish and this pasta salad is a must make! Thank you for posting!

  • Reply Ana Ojha February 14, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Pasta salad sounds yum and Smoked Salmon and Dill adds extra perks in this recipe. It looks incredibly delicious!

  • Reply lex February 14, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    yumm if am to say, looks good and healthy, good recipe for the best of both worlds.

  • Reply Sara February 14, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    I” take a few bites please, it looks so good; although I probably would not cook it myself

  • Reply Aarika February 14, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    This looks really incredible! I love the combo of salmon and dill. Brilliant!

  • Reply Mary February 15, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I can’t wait to make this recipe for my husband he is going to love it. Samon and dill a delicious combination.

  • Reply kathryn Maher February 16, 2017 at 4:14 am

    I love pasta dishes they are quick and versatile. I’ve never used salmon and pasta combined before however its something i’m going to try . Also the herb dill even though it goes beautifully with fish is another food I haven’t used a lot of so will be including that too.

  • Reply Miriam February 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Woow! very happy to discover your blog. that looks very tasty, love the eneldo on the top 😉

  • Reply Lindsey March 6, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    Loving that you have a plot and grow your own. Plus this is a tasty looking dish

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