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Shrimp and Crab Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

If you’re looking for a recipe that will make your friends wonder how you made something so good, this one is it!

This shrimp and crab pasta salad with Italian dressing is the perfect dish for a potluck or picnic.

It’s easy to make, but it looks like it took hours in the kitchen.

The best part?

You can tailor it to your crowd—make it vegan by leaving out the cheese, or add a few more veggies if you want to get all of your daily servings in one go.

Shrimp and Crab Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

And since it’s made with pantry staples like pasta, olive oil, and lemon juice, you’ll never have to worry about running out of ingredients when you want to whip up something delicious.

How To Make Shrimp and Crab Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

Shrimp and Crab Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

Shrimp and crab pasta salad with Italian dressing is the perfect lunch or dinner idea for the summer months, when you have a little more time to spend outside.

This salad is a great way to use up any leftover pasta, shrimp, or crab you might have in your kitchen.

Plus it’s simple enough that even kids can help out!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of pasta noodles
  • 3 cups of cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups of cooked crab meat, picked over for shells
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green onion (white parts only)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery (about 1 stalk)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped red bell pepper (about 1 pepper)
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta noodles according to the package directions, drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl combine the cooked shrimp, crab meat, green onion, celery and red bell pepper.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and olive oil until well combined.
  4. Add dressing to the seafood mixture and toss until evenly coated.
  5. Add pasta noodles and mix well until noodles are evenly coated with dressing (about 30 seconds).
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Tips When Making Shrimp and Crab Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

Tips for Making Shrimp and Crab Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

You’ve got a few options when it comes to making this pasta salad.

First, you could go with a traditional style of dressing, like olive oil and vinegar.

You can also use lemon juice, or even lemon zest.

Vinegar is the perfect way to brighten up your dressing without taking away from the flavor of your shrimp and crabmeat!

If you’re looking for something with a little more kick, try adding some hot sauce or fresh chiles.

This will give it an extra boost of flavor and make sure that each bite is full of spicy goodness!

Recipe Variations

Want to mix things up a little?

Then try some of the variations below:

1. Replace the Pasta with Rice

White Jasmine Rice

This is a variation on the classic pasta salad, using rice instead of pasta.

It’s a great option for those who are avoiding gluten or who are trying to eat more whole grains.

It can be made in large batches and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

2. Replace the Crab with Chicken or Turkey

Turkey

If you want to make this dish more hearty, I recommend replacing the crab with chicken or turkey.

You’ll want to cook the meat until it’s done and then add it to the pasta salad, along with a few tablespoons of Italian dressing.

This will give you a great base for your pasta salad, but if you don’t enjoy seafood or want something that’s a little less expensive than crab, this is a good way to go!

3. Replace the Shrimp with Salmon, Tuna, or Tofu

Tofu

If you’re looking for a more hearty meal, I can also recommend replacing the shrimp with fish. Salmon, tuna, and tofu all work well in this recipe.

Shrimp and crab pasta salad is a great starter dish because it has lots of protein and vegetables that provide fiber and vitamins.

However, if you are looking for a more filling meal, try replacing the shrimp with fish such as salmon, tuna or even tofu.

You can also add some chopped celery or carrots to bulk up your salad if desired.

The Italian dressing adds a tangy flavor to this dish so feel free to experiment with different flavors until you find one that suits your taste buds best!

4. Add Some Avocado Slices on Top of Your Salad Before Serving It Up

Avocado Slices

In this recipe variation, you’re going to add some avocado slices on top of your salad before serving it up.

This is a great way to add some extra flavor and texture to your pasta salad.

  1. First, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using firm-ripe avocados so that they won’t turn brown when sitting out in the sun.
  2. Cut them into slices and set aside until ready to serve.
  3. Next, prepare your dressing.
  4. Then toss together your cooked noodles, shrimp, crab meat, onion and celery until everything is evenly coated with dressing.
  5. Lastly, add in your tomatoes, olives and avocado slices!

You can serve this dish right away or let it sit for up to an hour (covered) in the refrigerator before serving.

Either way will work just fine – just make sure not to leave it out too long as avocado does have a tendency to brown over time!

5. Mix in Some Fresh Herbs Like Basil and Mint

Basil

If you want to take your pasta salad up a notch, try adding fresh herbs like basil and mint.

Not only will they add flavor, but they’ll also make your dish look so pretty.

To make this variation, mix in 1/4 cup of torn fresh basil leaves and 1/2 cup of torn fresh mint leaves with the pasta and shrimp.

Cook’s Notes

If you are not a huge fan of mayonnaise, but want the flavor of this salad to be true to its name, you can substitute sour cream or even avocado for the mayo and it will taste just as good!

If you don’t like raw onions, or think that they might make the salad too strong tasting for your liking, feel free to omit them.

The pasta salad will still taste great!

You can also use other types of seafood in this recipe such as scallops or shrimp scampi style.

Shrimp and Crab Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

Shrimp and Crab Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

This is a perfect summertime pasta salad that’s great for potlucks and barbecues. It combines fresh shrimp and crab meat with a zesty Italian dressing, all tossed together with pasta noodles. You can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
It's the perfect blend of sweet and savory, with a hint of spice. The shrimp and crab are complemented by the sweetness of the bell peppers and onions. The dressing has just enough kick to make you want to keep eating!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 350 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound pasta noodles
  • 3 cups cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups cooked crab meat, picked over for shells
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion (white parts only)
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery (about 1 stalk)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 pepper)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta noodles according to the package directions, drain and rinse with cold water.
  • In a large bowl combine the cooked shrimp, crab meat, green onion, celery and red bell pepper.
  • In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and olive oil until well combined.
  • Add dressing to the seafood mixture and toss until evenly coated.
  • Add pasta noodles and mix well until noodles are evenly coated with dressing (about 30 seconds).
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Keyword Shrimp and Crab Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing