Shrimp Pasta Salad

published Jul 19, 2022
summer
Shrimp Pasta Salad Recipe

This shrimp pasta salad recipe is laced with tiny succulent shrimp, crunchy celery, colorful red onion, bell pepper, juicy cherry tomatoes and feta crumbles.

Serves8 to 10

Prep35 minutes

Cook11 minutes to 13 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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A photo of a bowl of shrimp pasta salad tossed with tomatoes and green herbs
Credit: Maria Do

Pasta salad is the perfect summer picnic food, and this shrimp pasta salad is no exception! It’s the ultimate make-ahead dish — capable of being served cold or room temp, made for large groups, and vibrant as can be.

This pasta salad is laced with tiny succulent shrimp, crunchy celery, colorful red onion, bell pepper, juicy cherry tomatoes, and feta crumbles. The light mayo dressing is brightened with lemon juice and Dijon mustard, then seasoned with Old Bay. Being the Southern seafood-lover that I am, I love the way Old Bay pairs with shrimp — and in this recipe, it works wonders! The celery salt in Old Bay enhances the crunchy celery flavor in the salad and brightens the whole thing, too. If Old Bay isn’t your thing, Cajun seasoning or celery salt and paprika work as great alternatives. See the recipe notes for measurements.

What Pasta to Use for Pasta Salad?

To make this shrimp pasta salad a success, it is key to get the pasta just right! A short-cut pasta with lots of nooks and crannies like fusilli is perfect for pasta salads because it’ll hold onto the dressing better. It’s also critical to cook your pasta just past al dente in extra-salty water because cold pasta tastes less salty than warm pasta served with a sauce. So that’s why this recipe suggestions 2 minutes past al dente. For best results, check out our five common mistakes to avoid when making pasta salad. 

Credit: Maria Do

What Kind of Shrimp Should I Use in Shrimp Pasta Salad?

The shrimp should be about the size of the pasta. Small shrimp, about 40-60 count per pound, is the perfect size for this pasta salad.

How Do You Prepare Shrimp for Pasta Salad?

For succulent, juicy shrimp to add to pasta salad, gently boil the shrimp quickly until pink, about 90 seconds to 2 minutes, and drain. The boiled shrimp will pick up the flavor of the dressing. 

Shrimp Pasta Salad Recipe

This shrimp pasta salad recipe is laced with tiny succulent shrimp, crunchy celery, colorful red onion, bell pepper, juicy cherry tomatoes and feta crumbles.

Prep time 35 minutes

Cook time 11 minutes to 13 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • Kosher salt, for the pasta water

  • 1 pound

    dried short pasta, such as fusilli or farfalle

  • 1 pound

    small peeled and deveined shrimp (40 to 60 count), cooked or uncooked

  • 3 stalks

    celery

  • 1

    medium red bell pepper

  • 1/2

    medium red onion

  • 1/2 bunch

    fresh dill

  • 1 cup

    cherry tomatoes (1/2 pint)

  • 4 ounces

    feta cheese

For the dressing:

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1/3 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 2 teaspoons

    Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons

    honey

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    Old Bay or Cajun seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add 1 pound dry short pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain in a colander, then rinse pasta in cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside in the colander to continue draining while you prepare the rest of the salad.

  2. If using cooked shrimp, thaw 1 pound small shrimp if frozen. If using uncooked shrimp, bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shrimp and simmer until fully pink and curled, about 2 minutes. Drain, then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Pat dry with towels. Transfer to a large bowl.

  3. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of shrimp as it is completed: Finely dice 3 celery stalks, 1 medium red bell pepper, and 1/2 medium red onion (about 3 cups total). Coarsely chop 1/2 bunch fresh dill fronds until you have about 1/4 cup. Halve 1 cup cherry tomatoes. Crumble 4 ounces feta cheese (about 1 cup). Add the pasta and toss to combine.

  4. Juice of 1 medium lemon (about 3 tablespoons) into a small bowl. Add 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay or Cajun seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour over the pasta salad and toss to coat. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 1 hour before serving to serve chilled.

Recipe Notes

Old Bay substitute: 1 1/2 teaspoons of Old Bay can be substituted with 3/4 teaspoon celery salt and 3/4 teaspoon paprika.

Make ahead: The pasta can be boiled ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight bag for up to 3 days until ready to be mixed into salad. Avoid pre-mixing pasta salad with dressing more than a day in advance or it will get watery.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To enjoy leftovers, add more lemon juice and kosher salt as needed to freshen up the flavors.