Salmon and Broccoli Pasta Gratin

01 Feb 2020

Is there a can of salmon sitting on your shelf? With just a few ingredients this quick and easy salmon pasta dish makes for a healthy midweek meal.

Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids which are good for our heart and vitamin D which is important for healthy bones.


1 medium onion OR leek 300g broccoli
1 x 213g can salmon in spring water
75g strong reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1 slice wholemeal bread
300g wholemeal pasta
25g unsaturated fat spread
25g plain flour
600ml semi-skimmed milk
Black pepper (optional)


Weighing scales
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Can opener
Stick blender or food
Large saucepan
Steamer to fit on top of pan
2 litre ovenproof dish
Medium saucepan
Measuring jug
Wooden spoon
Oven gloves


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan or gas mark 5.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion or wash, trim and slice the leek into fine rings.
  3. Wash the broccoli then cut it into small florets. Chop the tender parts of the stalk into small pieces and add to the florets.
  4. Drain the can of salmon and break the fish into chunks, removing any large bones and mashing any small ones with a fork.
  5. Grate the cheese and make the slice of bread into breadcrumbs with a stick blender or in a food processor.
  6. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water according to the instructions on the pack.
  7. Put the broccoli in a steamer and steam it above the cooking pasta for about 5 minutes or until just tender, or add the broccoli to the pasta 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
  8. Drain using a colander, reserving a little of the cooking liquid, and put into a large ovenproof dish together with the broccoli.
  9. Melt the spread in the medium saucepan on a medium heat and add the onion or leek. Stir until sizzling then reduce the heat and cook gently.
  10. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Cook over a low heat for 1 minute then gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until smooth.
  11. Stir continuously until the sauce is simmering. Allow to bubble for 2 minutes and season with black pepper (if using).
  12. Take the sauce off the heat and add half the cheese. Stir until melted then add to the pasta together with the salmon. Gently mix together.
  13. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the pasta followed by the remaining cheese.Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until bubbling and golden and then serve.

Skills used include:
Washing, weighing, measuring, peeling, chopping, grating, blending, melting, boiling/simmering, steaming and baking.

Top Tips

  • The sauce should not be too thick when added to the pasta, as the pasta will absorb more liquid when baked. Add a little of the reserved cooking liquid to the sauce mixture at step 12, so that it’s very smooth, before topping with the breadcrumbs and cheese.

Something to try next time

  • Use fresh salmon instead of canned. Put 400g of salmon in a medium saucepan and cover with half the milk from the recipe. Slowly bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute. Leave to cool for a few minutes then check that the salmon is cooked and will flake easily. Remove the salmon and add to the recipe in the same way at step 12. Use the cooking milk in the sauce.

Prepare now, eat later

  • Prepare the gratin in advance and cool as quickly as possible. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bake for an extra 10 minutes as the dish will be cold when put into the oven. Alternatively, freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost before cooking in the same way.
  • Transfer any leftovers to a smaller ovenproof dish and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Reheat until piping hot, adding a little more milk before heating, as the pasta will have absorbed the sauce.