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Creamy salmon pasta – with a chilli lemon kick! 27p.


Well this is the first of my tinkering with 32p jars of fish paste – and I have to say I am seriously impressed! This speedy fish supper takes just minutes to put together, and tastes absolutely divine. The sharpness of the lemon brings out the salmon flavour in the paste, and the yoghurt lends a creamy subtlety. I could go on and on about this – I didn’t expect to be able to make a restaurant quality dish from a jar of value range fish paste… Top end restaurants often feature ‘creamy salmon mousse’ on their menus, which is where I took my inspiration from here – except instead of expensive cream, I used natural yoghurt, and instead of pulverising a perfectly good piece of salmon, I bought it in a jar, with the hard work already done for me. Sorry, I’m raving, but this is seriously good.

Ingredients (serves two):

75g jar of fish paste, 32p
140g pasta, 11p (39p/500g)
1/2 an onion, 6p (11p each)
100g natural yoghurt, 9p (45p/500g)
1 small red chilli, home grown
Bunch of flat leaf parsley, home grown
15ml Tablespoon of lemon juice, 4p (60p/250ml)


First, bring a pot of water to the boil in a medium saucepan, and add the pasta. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the onion, and very finely chop the chilli and parsley. Add to a frying pan with the lemon juice and cook on a medium heat to soften the onion.

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, coat with the sauce, and serve.

Garnish with extra parsley and lemon juice if desired.

Jack Monroe. Twitter @MsJackMonroe.


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72 replies »

  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)!

  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.

  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. 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.

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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 :)

  26. […] So I reckon one will easily give enough flavour to a dish for two, and at 32p each, we will be able to build some lovely cheap meals around them. I am thinking of using them in the next weekly meal planner. I have one earmarked in the planner to have on a pizza. One in a dish simmered with some chickpeas and tomatoes and served in HM flatbread. The third one with some farl made with dried potato, yes, that’s dried potato. Found that on . I have a very long list of stuff I want to post, and on that list is gnocchi with a spicy sauce (also on the third weekly planner) and Miss South made some with DRIED POTATO! Really! I thought, but it sounds like they will work, Miss South liked them and she is rather a potato connoisseur. I’ve got a packet of potato, and I can’t wait to give it a go. It’s certainly not an ingredient I would have thought of using, much like the fish paste in Jack Monroe’s Creamy Salmon Pasta. […]

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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 !

  32. 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.

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