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Shrimp Pasta Salad

This shrimp pasta salad is the perfect make-ahead dish for all your gatherings. It’s light, refreshing, and bursting with bright, vibrant flavors!

It’s packed with juicy shrimp, crisp veggies, and a tangy dressing that’ll make your tastebuds dance. It’s the perfect balance of fresh and creamy, with just the right amount of zing from the lemon and dill.

Shrimp pasta salad with juicy shrimp, crisp veggies, and a tangy dressing served on a white bowl.
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This salad gets better as it chills and the flavors meld together.

It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and will have everyone coming back for seconds (or thirds)!

Why You’ll Love This Shrimp Pasta Salad

Perfect for Gatherings: This shrimp pasta salad is an ideal dish for potlucks, picnics, and barbecues. It’s a crowd-pleaser and can be easily transported and shared.

Make-Ahead Convenience: You can prepare this salad in advance, allowing the flavors to meld together. It’s a stress-free option for busy hosts.

Simple Preparation: With straightforward steps and minimal cooking time, this recipe is easy to follow, even for novice cooks.

Refreshing and Flavorful: The combination of shrimp, fresh vegetables, and a creamy, tangy dressing creates a refreshing and flavorful dish.

Creamy shrimp pasta salad tossed in a glass bowl.

Ingredients

  • Elbow Macaroni Pasta: Classic, short, semicircular pasta holds the creamy dressing perfectly.
  • Cooked Small Shrimp: Succulent and tender, these shrimp add a burst of protein and a touch of sweetness to the salad.
  • Celery: It provides a fresh crunch and light peppery flavor to balance the pasta.
  • Red Bell Pepper: It brings vibrant color, natural sweetness, and vitamin C to the salad.
  • Red Onion: It offers a bit of tang and color.
  • Frozen Peas: Little green gems contribute a sweet taste and bright hue.
  • Fresh Dill: It infuses the salad with its signature grassy, tangy aroma.
  • Dressing: It’s a creamy blend of mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sugar, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
Shrimp pasta salad in a white bowl

How to Make Shrimp Pasta Salad

This pasta is so easy to throw together! 

1. Cook the pasta. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until cooled. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Add the ingredients. Add the cooked shrimp, celery, bell pepper, red onion, peas, and dill to the bowl with the pasta. Toss gently to combine.

3. Make the dressing. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until smooth.

4. Toss with the dressing. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and stir well until everything is evenly coated.

5. Chill to blend the flavors. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.

6. Adjust the seasoning and serve. Give the salad a good stir before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve chilled. Enjoy!

Shrimp pasta salad with mix of shrimps, green peas, pasta in creamy white dressing.

Tips for the Best Shrimp Pasta Salad

I’ve picked up a few tips along the way to make this salad truly incredible.

  • The smaller, the better. Use small, cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp to save on prep time and ensure even distribution throughout the salad.
  • Give it a good rinse. Rinse the cooked pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process and remove excess starch, which helps prevent the pasta from sticking together.
  • Treat yourself. Opt for a high-quality mayonnaise for the dressing, as it significantly impacts the flavor of the salad.
  • Add the dressing while warm. Toss the pasta with the dressing while it’s still slightly warm to help the pasta absorb more flavor.
  • Season the pasta water. Generously salt the pasta cooking water to enhance the flavor of the pasta itself.
  • Have fun with pasta shapes. Use other small pasta shapes like rotini, fusilli, penne, or farfalle, which have grooves and curves to hold the dressing well.
  • Experiment and have fun. Add different herbs like parsley, basil, or chives, and spices like Old Bay seasoning or cayenne. You can also mix in extra veggies like cherry tomatoes or substitute half the shrimp with crab meat.

How to Store

I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, as the texture will change.

To Store: Place in an air-tight container and refrigerate it promptly. It will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days, but for the best taste, consume it within the first three days. Always give it a good stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.

Shrimp Pasta Salad

Course: Side DishCuisine: American
Servings

12

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Calories

320

kcal

This shrimp pasta salad is a light and refreshing party-pleaser! Packed with tender shrimp, macaroni, and a tangy Dijon mustard dressing, it’s always a hit.

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Ingredients

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni pasta

  • 1 lb cooked small shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1 cup diced celery

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1/2 cup diced red onion

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tbsp sour cream

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until cooled. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the cooked shrimp, celery, bell pepper, red onion, peas, and dill to the bowl with the pasta. Toss gently to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and stir well until everything is evenly coated.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Give the salad a good stir before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve chilled. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Be sure not to overcook the pasta. Al dente is perfect since it will soften a bit more as it chills in the dressing.
  • If making ahead, you may need to add a little more dressing before serving as the pasta tends to absorb it over time.
  • Feel free to customize the veggies based on your preferences. Cucumber, cherry tomatoes, or blanched asparagus would all be tasty additions.

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “Shrimp Pasta Salad”

  1. Really good! Especially on those really hot days when it is to hot to cook even outside! Perfect amount of everything.

    Reply

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