This ultra creamy seafood pasta salad, loaded with bites of sauteed shrimp, freshly made shell pasta and delicious veggies like peas and celery, is THE perfect pasta salad. I do not want to brag and say its the best….but, its the best. Easy peasy homemade lemon mayo dressing completes the the salad with just the right amount of tang and heat.
If you haven’t noticed, this week I have been on a seafood side dish recipe binge. I honestly do not make it a ton around my house because my husband is hit or miss on most, my son wont look at anything that formerly had eyeballs and my daughter, while more adventurous with seafood, is about the pickiest eater in the house.
And if you have taken a look at the cost of your favorite seafood counter lately you know you don’t want to waste the money on it just to be tossed in the trash.
But every week I get with my awesome neighbor and we cook up some dishes and enjoy hanging out and cooking and since its just the two of us whipping up food, we can be as outrageous as we want with ingredients. Not that I call cooking with shrimp that outrageous, but you know, we are kitchen rebels.
This particular shrimp salad is creamy and as far as pasta salads go, is pretty light. Of course anything with pasta in it is going to make you FULL but the creamy mayo taste and the shrimp keep you feeling like its a light version of a pasta salad. Plus my recipe makes a ton.It’s the prefect salad for a potluck, picnic or a special holiday meal and is a gourmet side dish option that separates itself from classic macaroni pastas or potato salads.
Cold Seafood Pasta Recipe
I find that cooking with shrimp tends to be the easiest.
If you purchase the deveined shrimp it cuts out the time and its simple a sauteed and go. While you always want to make sure your shrimp is cooked (as with all seafood) properly, it really doesn’t take that long. I think mine took about 6-7 minutes with some light olive oil, a little butter and some salt.
When I am making pastas that have added proteins like seafood, shrimp or even chicken, once I make the protein, I sit in the fridge to cool down. Otherwise when you add dressings and mayo, they can get watery and no one likes that.
- cooked and deveined shrimp, cut in half
- diced celery
- frozen peas, defrosted but cold
- diced green onion
- box of pasta shells
Shrimp Pasta Salad with Mayo
The dressing for this seafood pasta is super simple but also super taste. It combines mayo, lemon, salt and pepper and a little cayenne.
Do not worry about the cayenne giving you too much spice it really doesn’t and you shouldn’t leave it out. Just a pinch will do but it makes all the difference in this pasta salad.
All you have to do is combine all the ingredients for the dressing into one bowl prior to adding to your shrimp, pasta and veggies.
Ingredients for the dressing you need:
- 1 1/2 cup Hellmann’s Mayo – for the love of all things, do not use Kraft.
- Salt and Pepper – to taste
- 1 tablespoon of Lemon juice – I buy this in a bottle and keep in fridge for cooking
- Pinch of Cayenne – Don’t be tempted to leave this out
Looking to vary your pasta from shrimp to something else? Personally nothing tastes better to me in a pasta salad than shrimp. But if you prefer to try another seafood idea, other options would include:
- Imitation Crab
- Fresh Crab Meat
- Cut up lobster
I particularly like the large shell pastas myself.
The peas can get caught in the shells and it just makes for a lovely bite. That being said, you could use macaroni, rotini or mini shells with this pasta salad if you prefer.
I wouldn’t rush out to the store or anything. The only issue you may have is too much or too little dressing depending on the size of the pasta shell. You may have to adjust at that point to accommodate the change in pasta types.
Other Salad Options
Looking for more shrimp ideas? Make sure you check out my recipe for Mediterranean Shrimp Salad
- 1 pound cooked shrimp, cut into pieces
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted but cold
- 1/2 cup diced green onion
- 1 box package of small pasta shells
- 1 1/2 cup mayo
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- pinch of cayenne
- First cook your pasta al dente, according to the package, drain and put in fridge to chill.
- Saute your shrimp in a little light olive oil and butter till done. This typically takes around 6 minutes or so. Do not overcook your shrimp. Once done, place in fridge to cool down.
- Once shrimp and pasta are both cooled, remove shrimp tail carefully to reserve as much meat as possible and cut shrimp into 2-3 pieces. You do not want the bites too small for seafood pasta salad.
- Place all your cut veggies, cold pasta, and cooked shrimp pieces into a bowl and stir to mix.
- Move to homemade dressing recipe below.
Mayo Dressing for Pasta Salad
- Add mayo, lemon juice, cayenne, and seasoning into a bowl and whisk until all ingredients are well combined.
Combine Dressing and Seafood Salad
- Now pour mayo dressing onto shrimp seafood salad and mix thoroughly, making sure you cover all the pasta and shrimp. If you want to add additional dressing for a thicker base, you can make another batch and add more.
- Refrigerate Seafood Pasta Salad for 4 hours prior to serving (if possible) so flavors can marinate and the salad can chill.
- Prior to serving, mix one last time so there is no settling of dressing.
- Seafood salad can be stored in airtight container for 2-3 days
- ADDITIONAL SEASONINGS : Looking for some color? Try old bay seasonings or even a splash of paprika on this salad.
- A bit of fresh dill seasoning is a great addition to seafood pasta salad for color and flavor
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1/2
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 156 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 55mg Sodium: 348mg Carbohydrates: 4g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g