A colorful, simple, zesty shrimp pasta salad with homemade Italian vinaigrette and shrimp that’s sure to be a hit at your next summer party! Next time try my copycat Ruby Tuesday pasta salad or creamy shrimp pasta salad.
Hey friends! LONG time, no talk. We’re almost completely settled in the new house now, so all things food are starting to come to fruition again. But here’s the thing – IT’S HOT. IT’S SO HOT.
And humid. Not Georgia-humid, but… humid. I swear, my hair hasn’t been dry in over a month now and it’s just… it’s so much.
I’ve never been this hot and sweaty for so long before. It makes the whole concept of baking sound like the most ridiculous idea anyone has ever had.
Turn on the oven? Are you completely insane? I would throw this glass of water in your face, but I desperately need it because I’m parched.
Instead, I recently opted for less than ten minutes with the stove top and a whole bunch of time with the fridge. Mind you, I can’t get in the fridge with the food, but still.
Summer is always screaming for pasta salad, so that’s exactly what I made: Shrimp Pasta Salad with a Homemade Italian Vinaigrette.
The Italian vinaigrette is easy to make!
The dressing is so simple – you’re going to kick yourself for not trying it sooner. Making your own dressing is not only quick and easy, but you get to control what’s in it – and that’s always a plus.
Just throw everything in a jar, put the lid on, shake it up, and let it sit in the fridge until you need it. Done.
This pasta salad is a spin on a family recipe that has a mayonnaise-based dressing, but I made a few alterations to keep it a little on the lighter side.
Tips for the best pasta salad
Use a pasta that has a fun shape. Why? Because… why not?
Add colorful ingredients. I firmly believe that a more colorful dish is more delicious and can perk up even the dreariest of days. So we’re talking vibrantly colored bell peppers, bright green celery.
And be generous with the dressing. I feel like the worst thing you can do to a pasta salad is have it be too dry, so pile it on!
Plus, since this is a vinaigrette it will only retain so much on the ingredients themselves, so they’re not going to drown.
But here’s the thing… I make a mess with this recipe. Like, vinegar all over the counters. Red pepper juices smeared across cutting boards.
I’m the type that cleans as she goes to save time and converse counter top space (as well as dishes and utensils), but when it comes to this pasta salad I am so eager to just get it made that I put off all the cleaning to the end.
Confession time: the rule in our house is that whoever didn’t cook is the one who does the dishes. So guess who didn’t have to do the dishes this time? This guy.
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Zesty Shrimp Pasta Salad with an Italian Vinaigrette
Italian Vinaigrette Dressing
- ¾ cup grapeseed oil, or vegetable or canola
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey, or sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic, or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 lb pasta
- 8 ounces salad shrimp, or regular shrimp, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 orange pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
- ½ vidalia onion, diced
- ¼ cup relish
Italian Vinaigrette Dressing
- Combine all ingredients in an airtight container and shake to combine. Set in fridge for at least one hour before use.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. Once it's done cooking, immediately rinse in cold water. Set aside.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until evenly distributed.
- Add dressing and stir to combine.
- Place in fridge and let chill for at least one hour before serving. Enjoy!