Are you looking for a quick, easy shrimp pasta salad with Italian dressing? Give a try to this pasta salad with Italian dressing made from fresh zucchini, succulent shrimp, sweet cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, and fresh basil. It is perfect for a simple, light lunch or as a side dish.
I love making this shrimp pasta salad because you need only a handful of ingredients and minimal prep time. An ideal and quick soul food.
The combination of the ingredients from the Italian salad dressing that we will make will elevate the flavors of the rest of the ingredients and will add a nice touch to them.
To make this Italian salad, all you will need is to make a real simply Italian salad dressing, cook the shrimp (or pick already-cooked shrimp), cut the zucchini into smaller pieces and fry them a little bit, then cook the pasta by following the instructions indicated on the package.
Mix everything together, and the pasta salad with shrimp and Italian dressing is ready to be served.
Also, as this shrimp pasta salad with Italian dressing can be served cold or at room temperature, making it perfect for a picnic or potluck.
It’s also a great option for meal prep, as you can make a large batch ahead of time and store it in the fridge for easy and delicious meals throughout the week.
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Quick Note: If you plan to make it ahead of time, add the cherry tomatoes just before serving. Don’t cut and add them ahead of time, as the juice from them will leak.
If you’re looking for a tasty and healthy summer dish that’s easy to make and packed with fresh ingredients, then you should try making this shrimp pasta salad with Italian dressing.
Let’s get started!
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- The combination of zesty Italian dressing, tangy lemon juice, succulent shrimp, and fresh veggies creates a mouth-watering and satisfying dish.
- It is a versatile recipe that can be easily customized to your liking and preferences allowing for endless variations and creativity.
- This recipe is great for a casual weeknight dinner, a potluck or picnic, or even a fancy dinner party. It’s a crowd-pleaser that everyone will love!
🥘 Ingredients and Substitutes
- Pasta. Use a short pasta, whichever shape you prefer. I used farfalle because they look nicer.
- Shrimp. You can use fresh shrimp, frozen, or cooked-frozen shrimp. In order to shorten the cooking time, I opted for already-cooked frozen shrimp.
- Zucchini. You can replace it with any other type of summer squash you have in the kitchen.
- Tomatoes. I used cherry tomatoes because they look better in a salad and have a richer flavor. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes at hand, you can substitute them with simple tomatoes that you will have to cut smaller. You can use a mix of tomatoes of different colors for extra color.
- Italian Dressing. To make it from scratch, mix fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and lemon juice. Likewise, you could add capers, lemon zest, or chili flakes if you prefer a hotter dish. If you want to shorten the cooking process, you can use a store-bought Italian dressing that you prefer.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
The first step will be to prepare the shrimp. If they are uncooked – cook them in slightly salted water. After this, strain the shrimp and put them in a bowl where you will make the salad.
Quick Note: Pick a large bowl to be easier for you to mix all the ingredients.
If the shrimp are already-cooked but frozen, leave them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator for optimal results.
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If you are limited in time, you could thaw them under a stream of cold water.
Quick Note: It is important that the water is cold because if you use hot water, you risk that the bacteria will multiply quickly, and the shrimps will not be safe to eat. Also, the texture of the shrimp will change if you will hurry up the thawing process.
Preparing the Italian Dressing
Use a blender to prepare the Italian salad dressing.
Quick Note: If you used a store-bought Italian dressing that is already made, just skip this step.
Put all the ingredients in a bowl where you can blend them. I used fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and lemon juice.
Mix all the ingredients well to get a creamy sauce that will cover the pasta well.
After this, pour half of the amount of the Italian dressing sauce that we just made.
Mix well and let the shrimp marinate a little bit.
Meanwhile, boil the pasta and follow the instructions on the package.
Cut the zucchini into pieces approximately equal to the size of the pasta.
After this, take a frying pan, add a little bit of olive oil to it, and fry the zucchini slices. This process should take about 5-7 minutes.
Pro Tip: Don’t cook the zucchini until the end. Leave them a little bit soft in the middle because you will have a crunchy texture and a more pleasant taste.
Now, after you have the zucchini and pasta ready, wash well and cut the cherry tomatoes into halves.
That’s all. At this stage, we have ready all the ingredients and we should just combine them.
Add the cooked pasta, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes to the salad bowl with shrimp.
Quick Note: If you picked regular tomatoes, cut them the same size as the pasta you’re using.
In the end, pour the rest of our Italian dressing sauce that we did on top of all the ingredients.
Mix well all the ingredients.
The pasta salad with shrimp and Italian dressing is ready to be served.
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
You can serve this shrimp pasta salad as a main dish.
This pasta salad is a great option for a picnic or potluck, as it can be easily transported and served at room temperature. Just pack it in a large bowl or container and bring some tongs for serving.
If you’re serving a crowd, consider serving this pasta salad as an appetizer. Just serve it in small bowls with a fork or toothpick for a fun and delicious party snack.
🏆 Expert Tips. What to Pay Attention To?
- To prevent the pasta from becoming too soft or mushy, make sure to cook it al dente, or firm to the bite. This will give the pasta a better texture and prevent it from getting too soggy when mixed with the other ingredients.
- In order to avoid the gummy texture of the shrimp, ensure that you will not overcook them.
- Do not cook zucchini slices until the end to leave them more crispy.
🤔 Answering Your Questions:
How Long Is Pasta Salad With Italian Dressing Good For?
It is recommended not to leave leftovers because the tomatoes are cut into smaller pieces, and they will leak the inner juice, and the salad will become watery. If you plan to make the salad ahead of time or know that you will not eat all the salad amount, use the smallest cherry tomatoes and leave them whole.
📋 Recipe Card:
Shrimp Pasta Salad With Italian Dressing
- 8 oz Shrimp
- 14 oz Zucchini 1 Piece
- 6.5 oz Pasta
- 8 oz Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 3 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 leaves Basil
- If the shrimp are not cooked, start with them. Boil the shrimp in slightly salted water.8 oz Shrimp
- After this, prepare the Italian salad dressing. Mix basil leaves with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.1 tablespoon Lemon Juice, 3 tablespoon Olive Oil, 2 leaves Basil, Salt
- Pour half of the amount of the Italian salad dressing over the cooked shrimp and mix well.
- Boil the pasta by following the instructions from the package.6.5 oz Pasta
- Meanwhile, cut the zucchini into the size of your pasta and cook them for about 5-7 minutes.14 oz Zucchini
- After you cooked the pasta and zucchini, cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and put all the ingredients in the salad bowl with the shrimp.8 oz Cherry Tomatoes
- Pour the rest of the Italian salad dressing on top of the ingredients and mix everything well.
- The salad is ready to be served.
I highly recommend reading the entire recipe to find more tips and notes about this recipe. Read Full Recipe ⇑
- For a more pleasant texture, do not cook the shrimp, zucchini, and pasta too much. Leave them slightly uncooked to get a crunchy texture and aldente cooked pasta.
- Use the best quality olive oil because it plays an important role in the final taste of the salad.
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