This Roasted Salmon with Orzo in a delicious Vodka sauce recipe is a hearty and delicious dinner idea that’s easy to prepare and doesn’t require much hands-on time or effort. The results are restaurant quality and everyone will rave about how good both the salmon and the pasta are.
If you love salmon like I do, you’ll also love this cold smoked salmon recipe (made without a smoker!), this aromatic cured salmon, and this yummy garlic ginger glazed salmon.
This recipe was inspired by a similar dish that is served as part of a brunch menu at a local high-end restaurant. My friend Ella generously shared all her tips and tricks for how she makes this incredible roasted salmon with orzo casserole, for which I am so thankful!
This recipe makes a great potluck dish as it can be baked, then covered with foil and taken straight to the party.
Substitute for Vodka sauce
One of the magic tricks that make this roasted salmon so good is the doctored up store-bought vodka sauce. You can make your own vodka sauce if you have a favorite recipe, but if you find a good store-bought kind, go for it and don’t feel guilty. I was told that either Fred Meyer or Trader Joe’s brands of vodka sauce are the best, so that is what I use.
Keep in mind that the pasta sauce does not taste like vodka at all. The alcohol cooks out during the cooking process, so there’s no alcohol or taste of alcohol in either the sauce or the roasted salmon.
But, if you’d rather use something else, then feel free to use any other tomato-based pasta sauce.
How to make Roasted Salmon and Orzo Bake?
Find the full recipe & instructions at the bottom of the post.
1. Cook the orzo pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Then drain and mix with a pat of butter to prevent sticking.
2. Make the sauce by whisking the vodka sauce with cream, salt, pepper, and parsley.
3. Cut the salmon into portions, then season with salt and spices.
4. Spray a 9″x12″ casserole dish with nonstick spray, then, even out the orzo pasta on the bottom of the dish. Top with half the prepared creamy vodka sauce. Arrange the salmon on top, spaced evenly throughout. Pour the remaining sauce on top.
5. Bake covered with foil until the salmon registers 145F, about 1 hour.
Can this oven roasted salmon recipe be prepped ahead of time?
This roasted salmon recipe can be prepped ahead of time by layering everything into a casserole dish, then roasting it for an hour right before serving.
To prep ahead: pre-cook the orzo, then layer it in a casserole dish. Then, pour on half the creamy vodka sauce, top with a salmon fillet and pour the other half of the sauce. Cover with foil and refrigerate.
If placing in the oven straight from the fridge, it may take about 15 more minutes to bake through.
Tips on how to know when the oven roasted salmon is cooked?
Oven roasted salmon should register 145F when the thermometer is inserted into the middle of the thickest part of the fish. Visually it should look opaque in color and not translucent.
Keep in mind that the fish will continue cooking after being removed from the oven. It’s ok to remove the roasted salmon bake from the oven at around 140F.
Overcooking the salmon will render it dry.
More Main Courses to Try:
Roasted Salmon with Orzo in Vodka Sauce
This Roasted Salmon with Orzo recipe is a restaurant-quality dinner that you can easily make at home. The creamy vodka sauce makes the salmon taste so good!
(2 cups = 12 oz)
Cook the orzo pasta: Boil 2 cups of orzo pasta according to package instructions in salted water. While the pasta is cooking, prep the rest of the ingredients for the recipe.
Then, drain the pasta and mix in 2 tbsp of butter and transfer to a buttered or sprayed with nonstick spray 9″x12″ baking dish. Even out the pasta layer. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400F° with the baking rack in the middle.
Make the sauce: In a quart measuring cup or in a large bowl mix until well combined 1 1/2 cup of vodka sauce, 1 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black ground pepper, half of the chopped parsley (about 2 tbsp) and 4 cloves of pressed garlic.
Pour half this mixture over the orzo pasta and spread around. Set aside.
Prepare Salmon: Place the salmon fillet on a cutting board, bottom side up and cut into 8 serving size pieces making sure they’re all about the same size. Now sprinkle with half the salt (1 tsp) and half the ground pepper (1/4 tsp).
Transfer the salmon pieces into the baking dish over the orzo and the sauce, top side (unseasoned) up and arrange them evenly throughout. Sprinkle the rest of the salt (1 tsp) and pepper (1/4 tsp) on top of the salmon.
Next, pour the remaining sauce mixture over the salmon, making sure all parts of it are covered.
Bake: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes. The dish is cooked when a thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest salmon fillet registers 145F. The casserole should be bubbling everywhere including the middle of the salmon bake, not just the sides.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tbsp of chopped parsley for garnish if desired. Serve while hot.
Roasted Salmon with Orzo in Vodka Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Vitamin A 1168IU23%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.