Sweet Chili Salmon and Pasta


Cooking fish during the week is one of my go to’s. It’s fast, healthy and fresh. This spicy yet sweet salmon doesn’t disappoint. Plenty of flavour and little time for prep.

As a baseball mom, I struggle to make home made food that fuels my not-so-little athlete in the 45 minutes I have to cook dinner, eat, clean up and shuffle everyone off to a game or practice. I can’t be alone on this. Where are my hockey parents out there? You know what this life is like. I rush home and feel like it’s a game of “race against the clock”.

I start by pre-heating my oven to 450°F. I then start boiling my water for the pasta. Cook according the directions on the box. Then I mix my rub for the salmon. I mix all the ingredients and spoon a teaspoon and a half on each piece and rub in.

Full disclosure I do prefer to make this recipe with fresh tomatoes. when I’m in a time crunch, like I usually am, I use a can of seasoned chopped tomatoes and pre shredded carrots. If you have an extra 10 minutes chop up 2-3 tomatoes and use instead.

Bake the salmon for 15 minutes. In a sauté pan cook shallots in olive oil, adding garlic and carrots once shallots start to become translucent, about 2 minutes. 2 minutes later add cooking sherry and chili flakes. Reduce liquid to about half. Then add the tomatoes.

Once sauce starts to boil, reduce the heat and let simmer until the pasta and fish is ready. Toss pasta in the sauce. Add fresh chopped basil to the pasta and remove from heat. Add Fresh lemon zest to the fish to bring out a brightness in the fish. Add a side of broccoli for a complete meal.

Photo Credit: Nichole Kelly

Picky kid pro tip: There is not a chance my picky eater is going to eat this. So I took a very small piece of salmon (like an ounce, he wasn’t likely to eat it anyway) salted it then coated it in brown sugar. I didn’t bake his. I wrapped it up in a pieces of parchment paper (au papillote) and microwaved it for 1 minute and 30 seconds. It creates candied edges and a glaze on top. If you’re trying to introduce salmon to your child, this is the way to do it. My attempt was somewhat unsuccessful. He tried it but didn’t like the texture. But, he tried it!! That’s a huge win in my house. I also took some pasta before adding it into the sauce and added butter and Parmesan.

For a less than 30 minute meal, try this recipe. A healthy well balanced meal in less time than a pizza delivery man.

Sweet Chili Salmon and Pasta

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Recipe written by Nichole Kelly

Ingredient Salmon Rub

  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes

Remaining Ingredients

  • 6 salmon fillets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of shredded or julienned carrots
  • 1/2 cup cooking sherry
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 box of orecchiette pasta
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 6-8 leaves of chopped basil
  • Zest of 1 lemon


  1. Pre heat oven to 450°F
  2. Mix together all spices in the salmon rub
  3. Rub 1 and 1/2 tsp of spice mixture on each piece of salmon
  4. Bake in pre heated oven for 15 minutes
  5. Boil water for past and cook as directed on the package
  6. On medium heat sauté shallots in olive oil for 2 minutes
  7. Add garlic and carrots, continue to sauté for 2 minutes
  8. Add cooking sherry and chili flakes. Reduce by half approx 5 minutes
  9. Add can of chopped tomatoes and stir
  10. Once mixture starts to boil reduce heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally
  11. Drain pasta and add to sauce
  12. Add fresh basil at the end and remove from heat
  13. Plate with fish on top of the pasta
  14. Zest lemon over fish and serve

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AboutNichole Kelly

Hi, I'm Nichole Kelly. I am a super busy mom of 2 boys (one that plays rep baseball), a coaches wife, with a full time job in Marketing and I go to school in my "free time".

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