Shrimp Pasta Salad

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Shrimp Pasta Salad – πŸ€πŸ«›πŸŒΏ Tender pasta, juicy shrimp, crunchy celery, bell peppers, and peas are tossed in a creamy and tangy homemade dressing for zesty perfection! Great for summer gatherings to serve as a side salad or make it for a lighter yet satisfying stand alone meal for lunch or dinner! Very EASY and always a crowd FAVORITE!

A vibrant shrimp pasta salad with green peas, dill, and cashews, served on a white platter over a rustic wicker mat and grey linen.

Easy Shrimp Pasta Salad Recipe

I love pasta salads, especially during warmer months. They give me all the summer vibes and this easy shrimp pasta salad is no exception.

There’s a delightful medley of flavors and textures, with the sweetness of shrimp, crunchiness of celery and bell peppers, along with peas for a fresh green pop, and a refreshing burst of fresh dill which is always a lovely match with fish and seafood.

A vibrant bowl of shrimp pasta salad with peas, green peppers, and dill, served on a woven placemat with a wooden spoon. lemon half and bowl of peas in the background.

The homemade pasta salad dressing is creamy and tangy thanks to a splash of lemon juice and vinegar, and it coats the pasta, shrimp, and other veggies beautifully.

The dressing option for pasta salad is always crucial to get just-so, and this one is a winner.

A bowl of creamy shrimp pasta salad garnished with fresh dill and peas, served on a light table with crackers in the background.

This seafood pasta salad can be whipped up with less than 20 minutes of active prep time (although you do want to budget time to for chilling the salad). It’s not only great as a stand-alone meal for lunch or dinner.

But it’s a perfect side salad for busy weeknights, and it works great as part of a buffet spread for gatherings like backyard barbecues, for a potluck, and informal get togethers.

Shrimp Pasta Salad - πŸ€πŸ«›πŸŒΏ Tender pasta, juicy shrimp, crunchy celery, bell peppers, and peas are tossed in a creamy and tangy homemade dressing for zesty perfection! Great for summer gatherings to serve as a side salad or make it for a lighter yet satisfying stand alone meal for lunch or dinner! Very EASY and always a crowd FAVORITE!

Ingredients in Homemade Shrimp Pasta Salad

For this easy, light yet comforting seafood pasta salad, you’ll need the following ingredients.

Pasta Salad

  • Cooked pasta – small shaped pasta such as elbow macaroni, small shells, rotini, wheels, bowtie, farfalle, penne, or your favorite
  • Cooked shrimp – read the FAQs below for in-depth shrimp tips
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers – any color
  • Peas – use fresh or frozen (thaw and drain well if using)
  • Green onions
  • Fresh dill – I don’t recommend dried dill but you can try it if you don’t think you’ll mind
Ingredients for making shrimp pasta salad displayed in small bowls, including cooked macaroni, shrimp, peas, chopped celery, and seasonings on a light surface.

Dressing

  • Mayonnaise – also see the FAQs if you’re wondering if you can sub anything for the mayo
  • Lemon juice – fresh is best
  • Granulated sugar
  • White wine vinegar – it’s my favorite but white vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar are other options
  • Salt and pepper
Shrimp Pasta Salad - πŸ€πŸ«›πŸŒΏ Tender pasta, juicy shrimp, crunchy celery, bell peppers, and peas are tossed in a creamy and tangy homemade dressing for zesty perfection! Great for summer gatherings to serve as a side salad or make it for a lighter yet satisfying stand alone meal for lunch or dinner! Very EASY and always a crowd FAVORITE!

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Shrimp Pasta Salad - πŸ€πŸ«›πŸŒΏ Tender pasta, juicy shrimp, crunchy celery, bell peppers, and peas are tossed in a creamy and tangy homemade dressing for zesty perfection! Great for summer gatherings to serve as a side salad or make it for a lighter yet satisfying stand alone meal for lunch or dinner! Very EASY and always a crowd FAVORITE!

How To Make Pasta Salad with Shrimp

  1. Boil the pasta according to package instructions, drain, rinse, and add to a large bowl.
  2. Add the shrimp, vegetables, and herbs.
  1. Whisk together all the dressing or sauce ingredients, pour it over the other ingredients, and stir and toss to combine.
  2. Cover and chill well before serving and garnish with fresh herbs.

Plan Ahead for Chilling

This salad is best served chilled so you’ll need to budget at least 2 hours total time for it to really properly chill since there’s freshly boiled hot pasta. It’s a great salad to make in the morning and then have it for lunch or dinner that day.

A bowl of macaroni salad with shrimp, peas, and sliced green onions, garnished with lemon, served on a white tablecloth.

what to serve with shrimp macaroni salad

This salad makes a wonderful side dish for grilled chicken, seafood, or as a light and satisfying standalone meal for a lovely lunch or dinner or serve it at your next cookout. If you have extra shrimp on hand, a favorite of mine is the Mango Pineapple Shrimp Salad.

A bowl of creamy shrimp pasta garnished with peas, dill, and lemon wedges on a woven placemat.

Storage and Make-Ahead

In the Refrigerator: This recipe will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.

Make Ahead – Dressing: My suggestion if you’re trying to get ahead for a party or event is that you can prepare the dressing a day in advance, cover it, and refrigerate it. Give the dressing a good stir before adding it to the salad!

Make Ahead – Salad: You can prep it the night before, cover, and refrigerate. Add the dressing the next day just before serving and stir well to combine.

Recipe FAQs

what kind of shrimp are best for pasta salad?

I am normally team Fresh Shrimp all the way. However, this is a recipe where using a bag of frozen (and then thawed) shrimp is great. Make sure that they are cooked shrimp though! If they haven’t been cooked, you’ll need to boil them. However, most frozen shrimp sold in your grocer’s freezer case in the US have been cooked.

The advantages to frozen shrimp are that:
1. No need to cook
2. Have already been deveined
3. Tails are already off
4. Less expensive than fresh shrimp
5. Less work than using fresh shrimp

I recommend small sized shrimp. I would say U30 size range or just nice bite-size shrimp. I do not recommend big, beautiful shrimp. They would be too much of a mouthful with all the other ingredients in the pasta salad. Save the big beauties for Shrimp Scampi!

can i use fresh shrimp?

Of course you can! Make sure to clean them (deveined, tails off) and cook them. Boiling them is what I recommend here (easiest, doesn’t add other flavors). But you can pan saute them in a tiny bit of olive oil.

Can I use a different type of pasta for this Shrimp Pasta Salad?

Yes, feel free to use your favorite small-shaped pasta such as elbow macaroni, small shells, rotini, wheels, bowtie, farfalle, penne, or your favorite. You can use whole-grain pasta or gluten-free pasta (that you’ve tested and you know you like, because I have not tested with GF pasta).

Can I customize the vegetable mix in the salad?

Absolutely, you can add or substitute vegetables according to your preferences. Cherry tomatoes, cucumber, or zucchini are great options.

Is there a mayo alternative for this recipe?

Yes and no. Greek yogurt or a combination of Greek yogurt and sour cream can be used as a mayo alternative for a lighter version. However, they don’t have the creaminess that mayonnaise does, and they’re more tangy. I suggest using 1/2 cup mayo and then 1/2 cup sour cream/Greek yogurt as the best compromise for creaminess and flavor.

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5 from 1 vote

Shrimp Pasta Salad

πŸ€πŸ«›πŸŒΏ Tender pasta, juicy shrimp, crunchy celery, bell peppers, and peas are tossed in a creamy and tangy homemade dressing for zesty perfection! Great for summer gatherings to serve as a side salad or make it for a lighter yet satisfying stand alone meal for lunch or dinner! Very EASY and always a crowd FAVORITE!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
2 hours
Servings: 8
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Ingredients  

Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound macaroni pasta, small-shaped pasta such as small shells, rotini, wheels, bowtie, etc. are all fine
  • 8 ounces small cooked shrimp, such as from a bag of frozen shrimp that were previously cooked, now thawed and drained
  • 1 cup celery, diced small
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced small (or any color bell peppers)
  • 1 cups peas, I use frozen that I thaw and drain well; or fresh peas are fine
  • Β½ cup green onions, sliced into thin rounds (I use both white and green parts)
  • ΒΌ cup fresh dill, finely minced (plus more for garnishing if desired)

Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise, read FAQs in post for my thoughts on substitutions
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, white vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar may be substituted
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste if desired
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste if desired

Instructions 

  • Pasta Salad – Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Rinse pasta under cold water when done boiling to stop the cooking process. Drain well. Tip – Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the pasta cooking water while it's boiling to help prevent sticking. Move on to the next steps like chopping while the pasta is cooking.
  • To a large mixing bowl (make sure it's pretty big so everything fits), add the shrimp, celery, bell peppers, peas, green onions, dill, and stir to combine. Shrimp Tips – Read the FAQs in the blog post about what shrimp to use in more detail, but I prefer previously cooked and then frozen shrimp that I then just simply thaw and drain. Look for small, bite-sized shrimp. Whatever shrimp you use, make sure they are cooked before adding them here!
  • When the pasta has been cooked, rinsed, and drained very well, add it to the bowl with the other ingredients; set aside momentarily.
  • Dressing – To a separate medium bowl, add all ingredients, and whisk well to combine. Tips – If you want this dressing to read lemony, you can replace the 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon lemon juice (for 2 total tablespoons lemon juice). The sugar helps balance the acidity and I recommend adding it.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta salad ingredients and stir well to combine. I like to use a rubber spatula to make sure I am really getting everything tossed, coated, and combined.
  • Taste the pasta salad, and if desired, add more salt or pepper. Flavor Tips – If it tastes at all flat, boring, or dull, it probably could use more salt since you're flavoring about 2 pounds worth of ingredients so don't be afraid to add another teaspoon or so. The same is true for pepper, but more so for salt. Additional dill, green onions, or a bit of lemon zest will also add more flavor intensity.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and serve chilled, or as desired. Garnish with additional fresh dill before serving, if desired.
  • Storage – Pasta salad will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this recipe. Make-Ahead – Read the blog post for various ways to do this. My favorite way is to make it in the morning just as the recipe calls for, cover and refrigerate, for up to 6-8 hours before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 452kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 646mg, Potassium: 312mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 512IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 51mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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