This creamy seafood pasta salad recipe is a quick and easy dish featuring real lump crab meat and shrimp tossed in butter and mixed in with a deliciously creamy homemade dressing! It's the perfect side dish for summer BBQs, holidays, or served as a main dish for dinner.
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This seafood salad recipe is another one of those nostalgic dishes I grew up eating! We'd always have huge cookouts with tons of food, loud music, and my family sitting around the table laughing and drinking. I'd get a huge plate of BBQ ribs, corn on the cob, deviled eggs, and this seafood pasta salad. Ah, good times.
This is a celebration food in my family and I'm so excited to share it with you! It requires little cooking, a few simple pantry ingredients, real seafood, and it simply the most delicious seafood pasta salad you'll ever make. Enjoy!
Seafood pasta salad is a type of cold pasta salad that features multiple kinds of seafood as its main ingredient. The delicious salad typically consists of cooked pasta (usually small shapes like shells, macaroni, fusilli, penne, or farfalle), mixed with an assortment of seafood such as shrimp, crab meat, lobster, or mussels, and dressed with a creamy or vinaigrette-based dressing.
Other ingredients that are commonly added to seafood pasta salad include chopped vegetables like bell peppers, celery, and onions, as well as herbs and seasonings such as parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. The resulting dish is a refreshing and flavorful salad that can be served as a perfect summer dish or a light meal.
Medium or Large Deveined shrimp - you can use precooked or raw shrimp here. My personal preference is raw shrimp because I like to season and saute it in butter prior to adding to the seafood salad mixture. However, feel free to use what you have. As for size, medium or large shrimp both work well. You'll be cutting the shrimp into chunks so don't worry too much about the size.
Real crabmeat - use lump crab meat as opposed to jumbo lump to get nice chunks of crab evenly dispersed throughout the salad.
Veggies - celery, red onion, you can also use diced bell pepper if you'd like. Pro tip: be sure to dice your veggies as finely as possible!
Hard-Boiled Eggs - this is one of my favorite ingredients because it adds a nice texture and great flavor to the salad!
Shell Pasta - you can use any short pastas such as macaroni, fusilli, farfalle, etc.
Here are my quick foolproof tips on making the BEST seafood salad ever!
1. Choose the right type of pasta: It's best to use short pasta shapes like medium shells, fusilli, penne, or farfalle for pasta salad, as they hold the dressing well and won't clump together.
2. Cook the pasta properly: Cook the pasta al dente (firm to the bite) and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent it from getting mushy.
3. Add plenty of vegetables: Vegetables add color, flavor, and nutrition to your pasta salad. Choose a mix of crunchy vegetables like bell peppers, cucumbers, and celery, and softer vegetables like cherry tomatoes and roasted red peppers.
4. Chill your pasta salad: Pasta salad tastes best when it's chilled, so be sure to let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
5. Don't be afraid to experiment: Pasta salad is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your tastes. Feel free to add your favorite ingredients like olives, cheese, nuts, or fresh herbs to make it your own.
1. If using frozen shrimp, add shrimp to a large mixing bowl with cold water to allow it to thaw for 15-30 minutes. Then drain the shrimp and season with 1 tsp of old bay. (Image #1)
2. While the shrimp is thawing, chop up your red onion, celery, and boil the eggs for 12 minutes. Run the eggs until cold water or place in an ice bath and peel off the shells. Then roughly chop the eggs. Set everything aside.
3. In another large mixing bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dressing - mayo, dijon mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, relish, 3 teaspoons of old bay, black pepper, and sugar. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.
1. Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente (according to package instructions). Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the pasta from cooking (this prevent the pasta from becoming mushy).
2. Add butter to a skillet over medium heat. Once melted and warm, add shrimp and cook until pink and no longer translucent (4-5 minutes). Then remove from the heat and add in crabmeat and toss to coat.
3. Add red onion and celery to the dressing, then add pasta and toss to coat, ensuring that all pasta is covered in dressing. Then fold shrimp, crab meat, and hard boiled eggs into the pasta mixture until seafood is evenly dispersed.
4. Chill in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container for at least 2 hours before serving.
Seafood salad can be served as a light main course or as a side dish, depending on the occasion. Here are some ideas for what to serve with seafood salad:
Storing: Store leftover seafood pasta salad, it is best to keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Be sure to stir the salad well before serving, as the dressing may have settled on the bottom.
Note: the longer the salad sits, the pasta soaks up the moisture. If needed, add an additional ½ cup of mayo to the salad if it appears to be drying out.
Making Ahead: make seafood salad up to one day prior to serving and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Freezing: While it is technically possible to freeze seafood pasta salad, it is not recommended, as freezing can affect the texture and flavor of the dish. The pasta may become mushy and the seafood may become tough and rubbery. In addition, the dressing may separate or become watery when thawed.
While it is technically possible to freeze seafood pasta salad, it is not recommended, as freezing can affect the texture and flavor of the dish. The pasta may become mushy and the seafood may become tough and rubbery. In addition, the dressing may separate or become watery when thawed.
Seafood is a good source of protein and is low in saturated fat. Additionally, pasta and vegetables in seafood salad can provide complex carbohydrates, fiber, and a variety of nutrients, depending on the type of pasta and vegetables used.
However, the nutritional value of seafood salad can be affected by the dressing and other ingredients used. Creamy dressings like mayonnaise can be high in calories and saturated fat, so it's best to use them in moderation. Overall, seafood salad can be a healthy and delicious option when prepared with fresh seafood and vegetables, a moderate amount of dressing, and other wholesome ingredients.
Seafood salad should be consumed within 3-4 days of preparation to ensure freshness and prevent the risk of foodborne illness.
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