Shells and Shrimp Salad could be a side or a lunch. It’s a hearty pasta salad full of shells, shrimp, veggies, and flavor!
I am going to confess that I do not like sweet salads. The only sweet salads I like are fruit salads, tuna salad (depending on the tuna), and cole slaw. But potato salad, macaroni salad, shrimp salad? Those need to have very little to almost no sugar. I am really not a sweets person especially with something that is supposed to be savory.
But that’s just my opinion.
Yes, I like barbecue sauce, but as you saw earlier this week I prefer the less sweet sauces. In all honesty, I prefer the North Carolina style barbecue like this slow cooker NC pulled chicken. It’s vinegar and spice, and perfectly delicious to me. It was a favorite childhood treat when we headed south for vacation almost every year.
All the potato and macaroni salads I had growing up were savory. There was always green olives and celery seed in both. There wasn’t hardly if ever sweet in either of those. Heck, there’s even celery seed in the cole slaw growing up. You really should try it in your salads! Game changer.
Tuna salad is a little different for me. I say it depends on the tuna because if it’s chunk or solid white tuna, then I just want some mayonnaise. The only time I appreciate the sweet relish is if it’s chunk light or anything that’s a little more fishy. The relish helps hide that flavor for me. And is probably the only time I use relish to sweeten anything.
So, when I set out to make a shells and shrimp salad I knew that some would expect it to be a sweet salad. And there’s a hint of sweet from the honey whole grain mustard and a pinch of stevia. But there’s also mayonnaise, horseradish, celery seed, and green olive brine in there. Yes, the brine helps break up the mayonnaise making the dressing a little creamy.
I know it all sounds a bit strange in a pasta salad, but it tastes AWESOME!
No, I’m not just saying that. It really does. The mayonnaise is creamy. You can’t taste the green olive brine but it does bring a little salt to the table. Then the honey whole grain mustard is sweet with mustard flavor which brings out the horseradish. That gives a fun bite to the salad, but it’s not overpowering. Then there’s garlic salt, onion powder, and celery that round out the salad and make it super scrumptious.
You could easily take out the shrimp and just serve this as a pasta salad. Or you could double up the shrimp and remove the pasta for a shrimp salad. Speaking of which, I meant to use salad shrimp, which are much smaller. However, I didn’t feel like buying a 40 pound bag of it! Seriously, it was a large bag of salad shrimp so I opted for the extra small shrimp instead.
This worked out because I thought I purchased the smaller shells, but when they cooked up they were much larger than I thought. I’m sure you all understand the status of grocery stores right now and how sometimes you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for. So, I just ran with it and made this delicious creamy pasta salad with what I could get.
As you can see the shells and shrimp are the perfect size for each other. I wouldn’t mind the pasta being larger and shrimp smaller. But I don’t think I’d want the shrimp larger and pasta smaller unless you wanted to call it a shrimp salad with pasta. I wanted them to be equal in this delicious shells and shrimp salad.
You can see all the flavor that’s in that dressing!
The flecks of celery seed and whole grain bites from the mustard are present. The crispy celery and tender hard-boiled eggs show up. And of course the pasta and shrimp all waving Hi in there. And hiding in all that goodness is some green onion, too. Feel free to use a red onion or even a sweet one like a Vidalia if you prefer. I happen to like the subtle onion flavor the green onions offer up. But, make your salad how you want. I’m just offering suggestions.
This salad is the perfect pair to serve up with my smoked ribs with KC style sauce. Those ribs are smoky and rich with a less sweet barbecue sauce that has celery seed in it, too. Or you can serve this salad up on some lettuce as a hearty lunch or light dinner. You could also serve it up with a shrimp salad or tuna salad sandwich for a double dose of seafood flavors.
Hmm…I think I’ll have to make me a tuna salad sandwich for lunch today and chow down on this delish salad with it.
- 2 cups uncooked medium shell pasta
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons olive brine
- 2 tablespoons honey mustard
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 teaspoon horseradish
- 1/4 teaspoon Stevia (or other sweetener of choice)
- 2 large hard-boiled eggs, diced
- 12 ounces cooked extra small shrimp
- 2 cups diced celery
- 1 1/2 cups sliced green onion
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Combine the mayonnaise with the next seven ingredients (honey mustard through stevia) in a medium mixing bowl.
- Fold in the eggs, celery, green onion, shrimp and cooked pasta.
- Chill at least one hour before serving.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 432Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 28gCholesterol 155mgSodium 941mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 14g