Fresh vegetables, spicy smoked salmon, and homemade mayo come together in this Cajun Smoked Salmon Zucchini Pasta Salad to create a paleo, no-cook meal full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Serve it for a light lunch or nourishing dinner!
Beat the Heat with a No-Bake Dinner
Do you love salmon as much as I do? Whether I’m using it in recipes like Baked Salmon and Asparagus, Easy Paleo Salmon Cakes, my Superfood Baked Salmon, or this smoked salmon pasta, it never disappoints! However, with temperatures easily reaching 100 degrees and more in Utah during the summer months, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven and heat up the house even more. So, when the craving for salmon struck, I knew I had to come up with an alternative. Luckily, drawing inspiration from some of my favorite cold pasta salad recipes, I created the perfect no-bake smoked salmon salad!
Using fresh summer produce, I capitalized on the ever-popular spiralizing trend (Have you tried it yet? It’s a game-changer!) to create grain-free zucchini noodles. Then, all I had to do was combine the ingredients, whip up the sauce, and dinner was served! There was no sweating over a stove or standing for hours in a hot kitchen. Plus, clean-up was super minimal and done in a jiffy. I mean, does it get any better than that?
If you’re ready to learn how to prepare a nutritious meal in minutes, keep reading to find all my smoked salmon pasta secrets!
No Cook Fresh Ingredients
Given that all of the ingredients in this recipe are super fresh, the secret to creating crazy good flavor is utilizing all the amazing spices and homemade mayo. They combine with the fresh vegetables and savory salmon, to create an explosion of flavor in each bite! To get started you’ll need the following items.
- Zucchini – If you don’t have enough zucchini or have an abundance of squash, you can substitute 1 out for yellow summer squash. Or, if you aren’t following a low-carb diet, feel free to use regular, gluten-free pasta.
- Red Onion – I recommend red onion as it gives a nice tangy flavor, but you could also use fresh chopped shallots instead.
- Tomatoes – Sliced cherry tomatoes provide a sweet flavor in bite-sized pieces, but you could technically slice up any tomatoes you like best.
- Real Mayo – What is real mayo? It’s mayonnaise made with unrefined and cold pressed oils such as olive oil or avocado oil. I highly recommend you take the time to make your own mayo. It’s seriously unbeatable. However, if you’re looking for an egg-free alternative, you can swap it out with red pepper hummus.
- Smoked Salmon – Feel free to use either smoked wood salmon or hot smoked salmon. Just be sure the skin is removed!
Swap: If you swap the mayo out for hummus, the fat content will be slightly reduced.
How to Make No-Cook Smoked Salmon Salad
This smoked salmon pasta is perfect for those times when you “need food now”, busy weeknights, and everything in between. Seriously, you’re not going to believe how easy it is to make!
The first steps are to spiralize your zucchini and prepare (or buy) your paleo mayo. Then, place the zucchini in a bowl with all the other chopped veggies, and add a dash of fresh lemon juice and pepper.
Pro-Tip: Pat the zucchini noodles with a dry paper towel to remove any excess liquid before adding in the rest of the vegetables.
Once the veggies are combined, toss them all with the mayo making sure everything is well-coated.
To finish, add the sliced salmon and seasonings. For the best results, let it chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes, and enjoy!
How to Spot Quality Salmon
When it comes to choosing the best type of salmon to use, it is, of course, important to first consider what you have access to and which types will fit within your budget. However, if you’re looking to really get the most out of your salmon, not all varieties are created equal.
Nutrition Tip: Some smoked salmon varieties have sneaky ingredients. Be sure to check the ingredient list to ensure that there is no gluten, honey or sugar for Whole30 diets, or any other allergy triggers!
For this reason, I recommend using wild-caught salmon whenever possible. Also, make sure it doesn’t have any extra preservatives containing wheat. You’ll know a fresh, quality salmon when you see it by its looks. The best salmon will have firm and shiny flesh, a rich red/pink color, and a mild smell. No fishy odors here!
No Spiralizer? No Problem!
If you don’t have a spiralizer, I highly recommend you get one. Not only are they convenient, but they’re also super fun to use! In the meantime, there are several ways you can create zucchini noodles with the following tools. I’ll give you a brief overview below, but be sure to take a look here for a more in-depth guide.
- Julienne Peeler – Run zucchini through a julienne peeler to create zoodle sticks similar to noodles.
- Mandoline – Carefully slide sliced zucchini over the blade of a mandoline to create thin sticks.
- Paring Knife – Using a sharp paring knife, carefully create thin stips of zucchini resembling flat noodles.
- Vegetable Peeler – Slide a vegetable peeler lengthwise along zucchini to create long ribbon-like strands.
What to know about Salmon Pasta
If kept in an airtight container, this smoked salmon salad will stay fresh in the fridge for 2-3 days.
I would not recommend freezing this recipe. The high water content of zucchini would likely cause it to become soggy once defrosted, and the emulsion of the mayo would not thaw well.
Yes, while smoked salmon is a super convenient way to add tons of protein and healthy fat to this dish, nearly any protein source you prefer would work. If you’re looking for alternatives, I would recommend using chicken, shrimp, tuna, or another lightly flavored option that would not overpower the Cajun flavors.
More of Our Favorite
Zippy Zoodle Recipes
Cajun Smoked Salmon Zucchini Noodles Salad
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2-3 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
Smoked Salmon Zucchini Noodles Salad makes for a perfect no cook meal! A zippy cajun sauce tossed in chopped vegetables and zucchini noodles then topped with peppery smoked salmon. Paleo, low carb and real food deliciousness!
- 2 zucchini or 1 zucchini & 1 summer squash
- ½ large red onion, peeled and chopped (1 cup chopped)
- 1 cup diced/sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 5 ounces smoked wood salmon or hot smoked salmon of choice (skin removed and sliced)
- fresh cilantro (torn) to garnish (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons capers (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes to garnish (optional)
- ½ cup paleo mayo or red pepper hummus for an egg-free option
- ½ Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt/pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (Or use a cajun spice mix in place of cayenne and paprika)
- ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
- Wash the zucchini/squash and cut off stems.
- Spiralize using a spiralizer or use a peeler to create shavings (larger flat zucchini noodles) for the zucchini pasta. The zucchinis can be julienned as well.
- Place in bowl and pat with a paper towel to remove excess water from the noodles. Set aside.
- Prep/chop the other vegetables. Mix with noodles. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
For the Cajun Sauce:
- Whisk together ½ cup paleo mayo or red pepper hummus (if using the hummus, be sure to heat it for 20 seconds in a microwave-safe bowl to softened before mixing), olive oil, paprika, garlic, onion powder, cayenne, salt, and black pepper.
To Finish Salad:
- Toss the sauce with the zucchini, squash noodles, and other vegetables in a bowl. Reserve some sauce for extra topping if desired.
- Add peppered or cajun spiced smoked salmon sliced on top.
- Crushed red pepper, capers, and cilantro to garnish.
- Serve an extra lemon wedge on the side.
For the Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) Prep: Press with a dry paper towel to remove excess water before mixing
If you are using this as a Whole 30 friendly dish, please check the ingredients on smoked salmon. You will want to use smoked salmon without any added sugar/honey.
Estimated Nutrition shown below Per Serving, with mayo vs hummus – If you use hummus, the fat content will be reduced
- Prep Time: 10
- Category: main, sides, salads
- Method: mix
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 245
- Sugar: 2.5 g
- Sodium: 724.1 mg
- Fat: 19.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 9 g
- Fiber: 2.1 g
- Protein: 8.9 g
- Cholesterol: 21.5 mg
Keywords: zucchini noodles, smoked salmon, paleo, whole30, gluten free, low carb
There ya have it, the easiest meal prep recipe ever! Do you have any favorite no-bake meals? Let me know in the comments below.
This was delish! Dishes like this one have really helped grow an appreciation for salmon!
This is my new favorite dish! My kids love it too!
This was super easy and simple to make and the flavors are out of this world! Love it!
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I ate it at the restaurant and enjoyed it. I tried many times but failed. Today saw your guide I learned a lot and drawn many useful things. I believe this time I will succeed. Thanks a lot!
Alia | Everyday Easy Eats
Hi Lindsay! I have a salad practically every day for lunch and this one would be such a good change from my usual mixed greens salad! The combination of ingredients sounds delicious, I love Cajun spices and salmon. Great photos too! 🙂
I’ve been eating my weight in desserts lately, so I could definitely use this salad to bring my blood sugar back to reality, lol! This is such a gorgeous plate! that salmon’s driving me berzerk, and I haven’t had nearly enough zucchini noodles this season. This meal’s a mega win!
Haha I feel ya! All those summer ice creams!
We love salmon and are always looking for new ways to make it. Great idea!
Glad to find you and like the idea ! Thank you !
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
I’m down for anything salmon! I cannot WAIT to have my kitchen back. This is going on the to-make list!
You can borrow my kitchen anytime! Just bring wine. Mmm k?
You had me at CAJUN! This salmon looks amazing!
I love this “pasta salad” and that smoked salmon is such a great addition!
Oh my goodness…YES! This is everything! Smoked salmon is one of my favorite treats, and I love how you’ve paired it with the zesty Cajun seasoning and the creamy zucchini noodles. Genius!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
Wow Lindsay! Prettiest zucchini noodle salad ever! And it sounds like it packs a huge flavor punch. That cajun sauce sounds amazing! Need to give this one a go!
I bet this is such a refreshing meal especially with 100 degree days. I just received a spiralizer for my birthday, and I’m excited about potentially doing more of these types of recipes!
I’ve never seen zoodles look so creamy and delicious! And the smoked salmon is just the icing on the cake!!
Indeed! Smoked salmon is my FAV during summer. Haha, I’m also a seafood addict!
Susie @ Suzlyfe
I don’t liek pasta salad, usually, but I do love zoodles, so mayhaps I would love this!
This is so packed with flavor, taste and nutrition. Love it.
This looks incredible… do you the FED EX man would deliver to my doorstep 😉
Lisa | Garlic & Zest
My husband doesn’t like to eat too much pasta (it undoes his gym workouts), but if I gave him zoodles and sqoodles — I don’t think he’d mind at all! This salad has everything I love in one bowl. Wish you lived next door!
Oh my goodness this looks incredible. Love the zoodles!
This looks absolutely delicious, the photos are just gorgeous!
This is the kind of dish I could eat everyday. I love the cajun flavor
I so do! Haha!