A Squared: Friday Finds: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Finds: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon

I eat pretty well during the week. I'm pretty regimented with my breakfasts and lunches-- almost always prepared by me at home. Our dinners, of course, I often share with you and they are usually heavy on the lean protein, whole grains, and veggies.

Weekends, on the other hand, are a different story. You also know that we love to dine out and usually that is an activity we reserve for weekends. This past weekend, we got a little out of control. After a dinner out at a local burger joint (consisting of burgers, mac and cheese, and chili), we then went out for a few too many cocktails with friends, and followed it up with a "brunch" of nachos at our local neighborhood Mexican place. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit sluggish by Sunday evening. Sunday dinner seemed like an appropriate time to redeem ourselves-- and also to start the new week off on a healthier note.

I like to serve fish on Sunday nights since we usually do our shopping for the week that day and, knowing that in Chicago the seafood isn't super fresh, I prefer to use it sooner than later. I found this recipe in Giada's Kitchen by Giada de Laurentiis and thought it sounded like exactly what I was looking for: something light, fresh, and healthy, but also a meal that was low maintenance and easy to put together on a busy summer Sunday where we had gotten an especially slow start. The salmon here is very simply seasoned, but crisps up nicely. The bold flavors of lemon, capers, and basil make the pasta special, while still keeping it light. It's a great summer dinner.

  • 1/2 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti pasta
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 4 (4-oz.) salmon filets
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. capers, rinsed and drained
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, stems removed

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic, 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

Meanwhile, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add the fish to the pan and cook until medium-rare, about 2 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish.* Remove the salmon from the pan.

Add the basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the spaghetti mixture and toss to combine. Set out 4 serving plates or shallow bowls. Place 1/2 cup spinach in each bowl. Top with 1/4 of the pasta. Top each mound of pasta with a piece of salmon. Serve immediately.

*I prefer my salmon on the less rare side, so I cooked mine for about 5 minutes per side. The inside was just completely opaque.


  1. Love all the bright flavors you have in here. Looks so tasty!

    1. Thanks, Erin! I can't take all the credit here since it's the one and only Giada's recipe. I will say that it was a perfect (and light) summer dinner!


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