This shrimp pasta salad is creamy and refreshing, with fresh dill and a zesty lemon dressing. The perfect chilled summer dish to bring to a BBQ or potluck! Next time try my copycat Ruby Tuesday pasta salad.
If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you might remember that I already have a shrimp pasta salad recipe, but that one is a different delicious beast.
That recipe has an zingy Italian vinaigrette, but this recipe is my long time summer staple. It’s creamy but not heavy, full of dill and lemon flavor, and is begging to be paired with some juicy grilled burgers or lobster rolls.
Tips and ingredient substitutions
Make sure you’re salting the water you’re cooking the pasta in. For 1/2 pound of pasta (like we’re using in this recipe), add at least 1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt.
Cook the pasta to just a little past al dente. You don’t want it to be mushy from being cooked too long, nor do you want it to be too tough because you didn’t cook it long enough.
Once you rinse it in cold water, it’s going to stop it from cooking further – so make sure to taste it before you pull it from the heat.
Speaking of the cold water rinse, you don’t need to chill the pasta before dressing it. In fact, that would be doing yourself a disservice! You want to compile the salad with all the ingredients as soon as you can while it can still best absorb the flavors.
Use bell peppers that are slightly sweet. And the more colorful, the better! This recipe calls for a single bell pepper, but you an always add more in an assortment of colors.
You can use different types of shrimp. You can use tiny salad shrimp, or you can dice larger shrimp. They’ll both be delicious!
Don’t have mayonnaise? Substitute Greek yogurt.
Don’t have white vinegar? Try rice vinegar, or simply omit.
Don’t want to add a sweetener? I always add a little granulated sugar or honey, but you can omit it if you’d like to keep things sugar-free.
If there are ingredients you don’t like, just omit them. Just don’t omit the shrimp, because then it’s no longer shrimp salad 😉
You have to let it chill before serving. At least 30 minutes, but ideally a couple hours. All the ingredients need time to chill and let the flavors really develop.
Which pasta shape is best for shrimp pasta salad?
I’ve always made it with elbow macaroni, but you could always try it with another “short” pasta shape like fusilli, penne, rotini or farfalle.
Nooks and crannies are your friends! Just make sure you’re using dried pasta instead of fresh – it holds up better to pasta salads.
How to store pasta salad
Store pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Cook macaroni noodles until al dente according to package instructions. Immediately drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Leave in colander to fully drain, shaking a couple times to remove excess water.
If shrimp are frozen, thaw in a colander under cold water for about 5 minutes. Remove tails and dice.
In a large bowl, add pasta, eggs, shrimp, celery, bell pepper, dill, onion and sweet relish and stir to combine.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, add mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, sweetener, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and whisk to combine.
Pour dressing into bowl with other ingredients and stir again to combine.
Cover and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and enjoy!