Cheesy, comforting, Fresh Salmon Casserole. Kids love the shell-shaped pasta. I love the fresh salmon. This salmon casserole recipe with crackers is easy for a weeknight and even the leftovers are SO GOOD.
So I am going to blub on for a bit because it’s my blog and I can, but if you don’t feel like reading just clickity click the little Jump To Recipe button above.
Confession: I have not touched this blog since April. Nope, not a lick. Because this past April, my family suffered a loss that has shut me down hard and zapped my motivation to do anything other than triathlon training which is the one thing that has saved me.
And even that is screwed up because I’m injured — age-related, overuse injury I type as I roll my eyes so hard — and after 5 months of training, I had to defer Ironman Florida from this November to next in 2020. #$&%
I know this sounds out of the blue, and “Jeez Erica, What the hell does this have to do with a salmon casserole?” I get it.
But I have to say this because it’s here with me, all the time, and I just can’t jump right back in saying “Heyyy world, I’m still here. Here’s another great recipe” without the disclosure that 2019 has been the suckiest of suck suck years. Ever.
So here I am again. Hi! And jumping back in, hopefully, so I opted to take an old recipe and overhaul it, love on it, republish it, and do all the blogger things to it.
So here we are.
Fresh Salmon Casserole
So why this recipe in particular. Why a raw salmon recipe….
Well, because this dish is comfort. It is easy – weeknight easy. Leftovers reheat really well. It is a perfect take along, give to someone, pot-luck casserole.
And this recipe uses FRESH salmon, not canned, and we need more wild salmon recipes in our lives.
Because you know what… There are those times when I go totally gourmet – cooking something just for the sake of wanting it to be literally pretty and tastefully beautiful.
Then there are those times when I cook just for the health of my family (like, say, wild coho salmon recipes – which would totally work here, or sockeye too). And then there are those times when I just want a cheesy yummy easy quick casserole and call it a night.
That last note is it here – to get the blog ball rolling again, I went with the quick casserole, family favorite, that I love.
Steps for Making Fresh Salmon Casserole
- Season the salmon simply, and bake in the oven.
- Cook the pasta shells. Add the carrot to the pasta water with the pasta halfway through the pasta cooktime.
- Assemble the onion, peas, cheese, condensed soup, mayonnaise, milk while the salmon and pasta are cooking.
- Add the flaked salmon and cooked pasta and carrot mixture to the other ingredients.
- Pour into a casserole dish, top with crackers, and bake.
- Be happy.
Unlike Tuna Casserole, which I make with canned tuna, I really prefer fresh salmon for this casserole. And I cook salmon every week for my lunches or for dinner anyway, so it is no effort to tack on an extra half pound at the grocery store.
A night or two before I plan on making this Fresh Salmon Casserole for my family, I’ll take the fish, throw it on a small baking sheet, season with kosher salt, pepper, and Old Bay, and bake at 400F for ~15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
And I line the baking sheet with foil, so there isn’t even any cleanup. This recipe is delicious and feeds the four of us (2 adults and 2 kids) for 2 nights.
Tips for Making this Salmon Casserole with Crackers
- Only half a pound of salmon is needed. This doesn’t look like much, but it is plenty for this casserole.
- Salmon goes on sale often, so watch the sales to plan this dinner for a weeknight. ..Speaking of sales, this is a great Aldi salmon recipe for when they have sales just saying.
- Be generous with the milk – i.e. use the condensed can to measure, and add a full can full. The pasta will absorb much of the liquid, and we don’t want a dry casserole.
- If fresh salmon is not available, yes you can substitute canned.
- The peas do not have to be thawed actually, even though I say that in the instructions. Peas thaw quickly, just go with it and everything will be fine.
- If you are making this casserole for elderly people, I know from my experience cooking for older people they often can not handle onion. So in that case, substitute the fresh onion for 2 tsp dried minced onion.
- DO add the carrot to the cooking pasta. The carrot will retain texture, but this casserole doesn’t bake long enough to cook the carrot unless we give it this little precook.
- You can substitute light mayonnaise for full fat mayonnaise. I do not recommend substituting light varieties for the cheese or the condensed soup.
Equipment and Kitchen Tools for Making Fresh Salmon Casserole
- Pasta pot or large soup pot.
- Large holes of a cheese grater for shredding the carrot.
- Knife and cutting board for the onion.
- Bake sheet for the salmon.
- Measuring cups: 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup.
- Large mixing bowl.
- Rubber spatula.
- 13×9 baking dish.
See, nothing major. Just everyday kitchen stuff is all you need.
For more fresh salmon recipes, check these out:
- Easy Baked Salmon over Orecchiette with Raw Tomato Sauce
- Smoked Sockeye Salmon with Arugula, Spinach, and Walnut Pesto
- Cajun Salmon Sliders with Remoulade
- Sweet Balsamic Salmon Kabobs
- Healthy Frittata with Smoked Salmon, Baby Kale, and Sweet Potato
- Orzo Power Salad with Salmon, Walnuts, and Greens
- Honey-Soy Salmon over Edamame Couscous
- Salmon, Cucumber, and Greek Yogurt Salad
- Seared Salmon over Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale, Garlic, and Pine Nuts
- Pecan-Crusted Maple Salmon
- Smoked Salmon Tartlets with Arugula and Dill
And every one of these ^^^ recipes uses fresh salmon. Life is too short to do otherwise.
And here we are, before and after cooking in the 350F oven. Easy to assemble and then you get that bubbly golden goodness…
So by now you should have noticed two ingredients that kind of stand out and make this salmon casserole with crackers different from other seafood casseroles.
Hint: peas and carrots.
And you know you just totally read that in your head with your inner Forest Gump “We went together like peas and carrots” HAhahha.
But yeah, I totally sneak vegetables into dinners for my family like this. And I guess in this case, not even sneaking – the green and orange are pretty much right there. In your face.
And Not. One Complaint.
DO it guys: marinara, casseroles, taco meat. Shred shred shred (or chop, like spinach) that good stuff in where they’ll never even notice.
Now let’s talk garnish for a second, because I believe that pretty much anything you take the time to cook needs that extra little bit of love at the end.
Foodie rule of thumb: add green. Literally. And just a bit. Doesn’t matter what you have slaved over and cooked and are ready to share – put some green on there.
My habit of late is to buy the semi-dried, chopped herbs in the grocery produce section.
One little thing of chives or parsley lasts so much longer than fully fresh, and I can throw a pinch on everything I make finishing it the way all food should be finished.
Then of course, we need a bit of Old Bay. Because this is a seafood casserole, after all.
So, even though this was super easy and even though we are throwing it at our family on a busy weeknight, just take the literal 10 seconds, and give your beautiful fresh salmon casserole that last bit of love.
It’s the little things like this that matter in home cooking – the little tips here and there that add up to take a dish somewhere special.
So that’s it kids. Fresh Salmon Casserole to love on when life gets busy, hard, sad, tough, whatever. Easy to make, affordable, ready with little effort, and with leftovers you can love on the next day.
Click the P for Pinterest button at the bottom of this post to save this recipe. If you make it, post a pic on Instagram and tag @ericasrecipes.
- 8 oz small shell-shaped pasta
- kosher salt
- 1 large carrot shredded (~3/4 c)
- 1 10.5 oz can condensed cream of celery soup undiluted
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 can milk use the empty soup can to measure
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 8 oz fresh salmon cooked and flaked (see Notes)
- 1/4 cup finely diced onion
- 10 Ritz crackers crushed
- garnish: Old Bay seasoning, snipped chives or chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a handful of salt (if desired). Add the pasta shells and cook according to the package directions just to al dente. Half way through that cook time, add the shredded carrots to the pot of water to cook as well.
- Add the pasta shells and cook according to the package directions just to al dente.
- Half way through that cook time, add the shredded carrots to the pot of water to cook as well.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, cheese, peas, salmon, and onion.
- Drain the pasta and carrots, and add right away to the soup mixture. Toss and pour in a 2-qt baking dish. Top with the crushed crackers. Bake 30-40 minutes until nice and bubbly. Optional: dust with a little Old Bay and sprinkle some snipped chives for garnish. Serves 6.
- Toss and pour in a 13x9 or 2-qt baking dish. Top with the crushed crackers.
- Bake 30-40 minutes until nice and bubbly. Optional: dust with a little Old Bay and sprinkle some snipped chives or parsley for garnish. Serves 6.