This speedy fish supper – really simply a tinkering with a cheap jar of fish paste – takes just a few lazy minutes to put together and tastes absolutely divine. The sharpness of the lemon complements the salmon flavour, and the yoghurt lends a creamy subtlety. When I first put this recipe on my blog, over 100 people tried it, admitting disbelief that such simple ingredients could make such a yummy meal.

Serves 2:

160g pasta
1 onion
1 red chilli or pinch of dried flakes
a fistful of parsley
1 tablespoon oil
zest and juice of half a lemon or 2 tbsp bottled lemon juice
150ml natural yoghurt
1 x 75g jar of salmon paste

Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil, and add the pasta. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the onion, and very finely chop the chilli and parsley. Put into a pan with the oil, lemon zest and juice, and cook over a medium heat to soften.

When the pasta is cooked, remove from the heat and drain. Quickly stir the yoghurt and fish paste into the onions to warm through. Tip the pasta into the pan and coat with the sauce, and serve.

Creamy salmon pasta with a chilli lemon kick recipe from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe. Available to order from The Hive, supporting your local independent book shops. Also available from major retailers and supermarkets.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook:


Photography by Susan Bell:

Photography by Susan Bell:

Categories: FISH, PASTA, Recipes & Food


  1. This both looks and sounds like exactly the same dish that I usually choose at my favourite Italian eatery, no names mentioned, but it starts with a P and contains two zz’s. It costs us £10.95 a portion, admittedly it has large chunks of kiln roasted salmon in it, but it’s the flavour I like. (We do only go if we have an offer voucher, usually buy one get one free or buy one get one for £2.50 as is currently the offer, we’re not made of money.)

    So to see it here recreated with fish paste is inspiring, I have been trying to recreate it at home to save us money and never dreamt of simply opening a jar of fish paste. You are truly inspiring. 🙂

    • made this for my housemates this evening, i added a few sliced cabbage leaves from a small forgotten savoy and a handful of frozen peas, and used dried mint and dill since our parsley supplies were down.
      delicious and well received by all! doesn’t taste thrifty in the slightest.
      thanks for a brilliant recipe 🙂 i really admire what you’re doing, it’s made me question my shopping habits in a big way x

  2. I was trying to work out what product the ‘fish paste’ was from your previous fishy post. Is it really the stuff that comes in tiny pots and is aimed at sandwiches?

    very interested in your use of this product, will def have a look at those, would never have thought of using them in a meal (other than sandwich)!

      • The water evaporates, but the compounds that have the taste, smell and colour wont! Science got your back, Jack! (Lemon juice is also a great short term preservative for foods that turn brown over time; apples and potatoes mainly! Hope this is interesting!)

  3. Hi Jack, my other half hates fish…….do you think this would work with chicken paste? I know the salmon one iPad quite a strong flavour ( from childhood memory) can’t remember if the chicken one has the same!?

    Another great post. I will save this one for when he is at work ; ) x

    • How about making a chicken version with a little curry powder a bit like coronation chicken might also be good with potatoes instead of pasta

  4. The parcel I sent for you arrived at your Southend Office today and is waiting for you in Reception. I sent it Special Delivery and checked at lunchtime to see that it had arrived OK. I hope you will be able to pick it up soon.
    Another interesting recipe! You’re very inventive. Well done!

  5. Absolute genius! Can’t wait for your book. My seventy four year old mum told me about you. I hope you don’t mind but I use your website in my gcse ethics class. If ever you want to visit our school it would be a privilege to host you and the Small Boy! Serious offer!

    Sent from my Sony Ericsson Xperia ray

  6. Such a genius idea. I’m veggie so I wouldn’t have the fish, but I have a mushroom pâté I might be able to do something with. Thanks.

  7. This is definitely my kind of food! I’m trying it out of the weekend. Quite apart from the modest cost, it’s great to be able to buy all the ingredients from my local shop, which doesn’t do posh, thanks very much. Once, to accompanying howls of laughter, I asked if it stocked sun-dried tomatoes …

  8. Eating it now!! (but without the parsley – haven’t started my herb growing yet). It really is lovely, but I put more pasta than you – but that’s the cheap bit anyhow.
    Makes a change from my usual fallback when the kids don’t need feeding – marmite spaghetti (I reckon that only costs about 20p)

  9. I have just cooked this and my considered verdict is … absolutely delicious! What a brilliant way to use the humble and largely despised fish paste in a jar. Like most really good ideas, you wonder why no one thought of it before. I used spring onions, as they happened to be to hand, and a generous sprinkling of black pepper.

  10. I’ve been seeing a lot of pins on Pinterest about growing your own vegetables from your leftovers. Like green onions from the bottom of what you bought. Also, garlic and celery. Have you tried this? It would make a nice addition to your book.

    • I grew the bottom of celery, but it went to seed. I also left it in a pot too small for too long. It definitely works though, I’ll give it another try soon.

  11. We had this for tea the other night and it was absolutely brilliant. A recipe I’ll be turning to again and again. It simply HAS to go in the book. I’ll be blogging about it in the next couple of days if that’s okay, and I’ll include a link to you.

  12. Got the fishpaste and will be trying it on the teens tomorrow, with the last of the chard from the garden. Your blog is helping me to stop panicking so much about money and I feel more in control, so thank you 🙂

  13. Hi Jack – I made this today and I too used spring onions. It was seriously fab! Served it up to himself but didn’t tell him what it was. Verdict was a supreme bit – then I showed him the empty fish paste jar. He couldn’t believe it so then I showed hime the recipe. the salmon paste costs rather more here though (rip-off Ireland) but still an amazingly cheap and amazingly delicious supper. Power to the frugal necessitators!


  14. I made this on Tuesday. It tastes beautiful and it’s a great mid-week dinner as (including my slow preparation skills) you can have dinner ready in less than 25 minutes! Enjoyed it so much that tonight I’m having a play with a jar of crab paste, I will let you know how I get on. Thanks again for your inspirational recipes!

  15. Keep up the good work, Jack. This is so refreshing after all the foodie snobbery that is in vogue a the moment. It’s a reminder to me to stop wasting food; I regularly end up throwing stuff out because I haven’t thought carefully enough about what to eat when. I hope your book is a success and that you get a tv programme!

  16. I’d have never ever ever ever ever in a million years have thought about using salmon paste. It looks so unappetising in the jar but what you have created with it looks delicious! I’m going to have to try it when I’m back at uni. Thank you 🙂

  17. I just made this and thought it was quite a nice quick and most importantly cheap meal, very tasty. Another great thing is that my little boy who is two and the fussiest of all my children seemed to love it too and kept pinching mine.

  18. Tip for saving a little bit on fuel – bring the pasta to the boil then turn the heat OFF and put a lid on. Leave it for about 7 minutes and it should be cooked al dente. if it isn’t, put the lid back on a leave it for another couple of minutes.

    This also works for rice.

      • It works for a lot of things, especially greens if steaming them – you just need a well fitting lid. And I’ve also started t turn off the kettle before the it switches itself off as it seems to spend time boiling unnecessarily. Penny pinching but my need is greater than NPower’s!

  19. Hi jack! Great blog. Tell us: what kind of yoghurt do you use? How thick/ thin , does it work better with 3 / 10 % , greek/ bulgarian / plain yoghurt ? What is plain yoghurt?

  20. Had your potato soup for lunch…..

    And now just had your salmon pasta with a lemon & chilli kick for tea….

    All I can say is ….WOW…..

    Will be using these recipes again….DEFFO !!!!!!!

    Viva La Revolution…!!!!!!!

  21. Just made and eaten this delicious, simple and inexpensive supper, thank you Jack.

    Now the government has given me extra money because I am disabled,Im no longer entitled to other benefits e.g council tax benefit, free prescriptions etc. Your cheap tasty meals will help me meet my new financial challenges in a positive way. I seriously admire what you have, and are, doing.

  22. What can I say but…..WOW….

    I had your Potato Soup for lunch…
    And had your Salmon Pasta with Lemon Chilli Kick for tea…..

    OUTSTANDING……and so filling…..

    Deciding what to have on tomorrows menu….nom nom…..

  23. Oh my goodness, this is great!! I added a tomato I had kicking about but apart from that followed the recipe. Loved it, thanks Jack x

  24. Genius! This is delicious. I save fuel cooking the pasta by bringing it to the boil, putting the lid on and turning the power off. Super quick, delicious and filling.

  25. Considering the ingredients, this has been one of the most surprisingly delicious meals I have made. The lemon really brings out the flavours. Genius! Keep them coming Jack!

  26. Love it! I used Tesco’s Smoked salmon taramasalata, currently 2 dips for £1. Each tub contains 167g and I used 1/2 a tub.

  27. Tasty – you’re right that the flavours really work together. Thank you Jack!

  28. Hi Jack
    What you are doing is amazing! Necessity clearly the mother of invention.

    You mention Tesco and Sainsbury’s – sometimes in Morrison they have exellent deals on items like beans and chckpeas – 4 tins for a pound, for example. Also in the more ethnic shops, if you have any in Southend, there are deals on tins but also, more advantageous, large bags of spices (eg Cumin) at a fraction of the supermarket cost. You cna use these to refill your supermarket spice jars.

    Anyway, thank you for bringing so many worthy issues to the fore. Well done!

  29. This looks really nice! As a student I always love finding cheap recipes. I’d never even considered using fish paste in a pasta sauce. I quite often use tinned salmon but it’s a bit more expensive. I can’t wait to try this 🙂

  30. Reblogged this on the rowan garth and commented:
    This is what I had for lunch today, though I found I hadn’t any natural yogurt and had to use cream instead. Very tasty and filling, and I think a mini portion would make a great starter, perhaps made with soup pasta.

  31. I have a similar recipe to your salmon pasta which I’ve made a few times and might be good if you’re a thrifty veggie like I am. I can’t take the credit – my Mum gave me this one! I get three hearty portions out of it.

    Mushroom, onion and garlic pasta

    1 bag value penne (I use Tescos)
    1 can mushroom soup (any will do)
    1 onion
    As many mushrooms as you like – I usually use 4-5 big ones
    Two cloves of garlic (more or less depending how you like it)
    Half a tub of Lidl’s Crefee garlic soft cheese (optional)
    Some grated cheese to finish (optional)
    A little oil
    A little freshly ground black pepper

    Cook your pasta (I use a microwave steamer). While you are doing this, cut your onions into small pieces, chop up the garlic and the mushrooms in another pan. Once they are done, add your soup and garlic cheese if you are using this in the pan with the onions and garlic – it makes it creamier. Grind some pepper over it. Leave the soup to thicken and reduce so it makes a sauce. This takes 10-15 minutes. Drain the pasta and mix in with the sauce. Serve with some grated cheese.

    All the best to Jack, Small Boy and Mrs Jack, Claire xx

  32. Just had a go at this in my uni flat, but was a bit limited on supplies so went for some substitutes – chilli powder for a chilli, lemongrass water for lemon juice, dried mixed herbs for the parsley; then just added some leftover cream and chive dip to the yoghurt as my housemates are very gracious.

    Was so delicious! Thank you so much, whole meal came to 50p or something as I made two portions! Going to be an avid follower from now on XXXXXXXX

  33. Have just made this in my house – so tasty! I added samphire for a crunchy texture (and because it was 55p at Tesco)and used chilli flakes instead of chilli but otherwise, followed the recipe pretty closely. Honestly, it was better than most meals I have had in restaurants. Thank you so much for sharing, and keep going! xxx

  34. il definately be makeing this , could you add garlic or would it be weird ? btw you are an inspiration to me , i was a single mum at 17 with a sb , 5 years on im married with anouther child and a morgage (which is insidenly nearly half what i payed in rent !!!) so my life ended up pretty good after stuggleing for 2 years, myself and my husband pay tax with pride know that in a way,were not buying fags for alcoholics but holding the hand of people in unfortunate circumstances that deserve far more than the pitance there given !

  35. I’ve made the cookbook version of this which includes garlic and a whole onion, twice now. It’s delicious. I can’t help wishing for you Jack that you had Aldi on your doorstep instead of Sainsbury’s.

    The current cost of this dish using Aldi ingredients is c. 18p cheaper than that stated here (Jars of salmon fish paste 25p, 500g pasta 29p, 250ml lemon juice 45p, 1 onion 6p, 500g yogurt 45p)

  36. This recipe is gorgeous! (As long as you can hold your nose long enough to get the fish paste in the cooking!). I used conchiglie as I had it kicking around (also because I used to make a recipe with (value/basics) liver pate, canned button mushrooms, cream and tarragon (I think), which specified that shape as being good for holding the flavours, which it reminded me of.

  37. I’ve made this three time now and it’s great, my friends loved it. Today however I substituted the salmon paste for a tin of red salmon. Wow what a difference. Gourmet version, give it a go. Thanks Jack. Love you. x

  38. Absolutely delicious! Used a tin of salmon and threw in the end of a tub of cream cheese that was loitering in the fridge, and a wee bit of garlic. Clean plates from initially dubious partner and SG, definitely will be added to our regular meal list.

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