September 7, 2012

Zesty + Creamy Seafood Pasta Salad

I went all summer without making a cold pasta salad so I said I would finally make one on Labor Day weekend. And I did just that, last Sunday. It was creamy, flavorful and delicious. And yes, I did use imitation crab meat. :) My mom always has and we love it! So sweet and delicious. Speaking of, I'll have to share one of her recipes that uses imitation crab meat as the main main ingredient. So simple and so good!
 
Here's what you will do for this creamy salad:
Ingredients:
 
1 box of cooked pasta {I used jumbo macaroni noodles. It doesn't matter which one you chose, as long as it has "ridges"}
1/2 cup chopped and very lightly steamed fresh broccoli
1/2 cup chopped tomato {I quartered some grape tomatoes}
1/2 cup chopped seeded cucumber
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, finely chopped
1 cup {I used a full pound!} of chopped imitation crab meat
1/2 cup steamed and chopped shrimp
1 packet of Good Seasons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing and Recipe Mix
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to sprinkle on the top {optional}
 
 
{Gather your ingredients.  This is an easy chop and drop recipe. You will want to make this at least 2 hours in advance.  The longer it chills, the better the flavors will be.}

{Boil your pasta in generously salted water.  A hearty noodle with ridges is perfect for this dish, as the dressing will coat and stick to every piece. Drain it and set aside.}

{Quickly steam your chopped fresh broccoli for about a minute.  You could also just blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds. Remember to keep some CRUNCH on them and immediately rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.}
 
{Halve or quarter your grape tomatoes.} 

{Chop your steamed shrimp in bite sized pieces.}

{Seed your cucumber by scraping the inside...}

{...then give it a nice small dice}

{Chop your red pepper in smaller pieces.}

{Chop your imitation crab meat into chunky bite-sized pieces.  I get my "crab" {made from cod/pollock} from the seafood counter.  The packages sitting out over near the seafood spices always seem so slimy to me.  I used a full pound for this recipe, it was nice and hearty.}

{Chop your green onion nice and fine.}

{Here's everything all chopped and ready to be mixed in with the pasta and dressing.  Feel free to add anything else or substitute as you wish! :) My mom makes hers with red onion, instead of green and green pepper instead of red.  She also uses spaghetti noodles!}

{Here's what you will need for the dressing, which is a cross between a vinaigrette and a creamy one.

{In the bottom of a huge mixing bowl, start to add the dressing ingredients.  First, the Good Seasons packet {which I absolutely love for all of my dressings for all kinds of salads!!}}

{Add in the oil and vinegar.}

{Add the mayo and sprinkle on the herbs.  Generously salt and pepper to taste. This is a lot of salad that needs seasoning, you want it to have good FLAVOR! :)}

{Mix well with a whisk until well combined.}

{To the bowl of dressing, add in your drained {really well} pasta.}

{Then your veggies and seafood!}

{Mix, mix, mix! Taste, taste, taste! Make sure it's seasoned well with salt and pepper.  Add in more mayo if more creaminess is desired. If it looks "wet" that's ok, the pasta will absorb the dressing a bit while it chills.}

{Sprinkle the top with paprika and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before enjoying it!}
 
We had this on Sunday with hamburgers from the grill to celebrate the end of the summer. Now that summer is just about done, it's time to savor soups, stews and comfort foods.  I have an amazing soup recipe coming up soon, I just have to get around to typing the post out. :)
 
Do you make/like creamy pasta salad? I would love to know how you make yours.
 
xoxo, thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend! ♥
 



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