This creamy, delicious Seafood Pasta Salad has chewy pasta, lots of colorful vegetables, and a mix of your favorite seafood like shrimp, crab, and lobster. It’s perfect for parties, picnics, and barbecues.

Seafood salad on a black and white platter.
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Seafood Pasta Salad Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Seafood pasta salad ingredients.

Ingredient notes

  • Penne pasta: Or substitute rotini, farfalle, macaroni, or any small other pasta.
  • Broccoli: Blanch the broccoli for a milder taste and a brighter green color.
  • Salad dressing: To make my favorite Italian dressing, whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, 1 ½ tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp honey, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried parsley, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper). Or, use your favorite store-bought dressing.
  • Parmesan cheese: I like the dry one from the green shaker can best in this unfussy pasta salad.
  • Seafood: Aim for 1 ½ cups total (about 1 pound) of your favorite seafood such as cold poached shrimp, imitation crab, lump crabmeat, or chunks of poached lobster.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente (usually 8 to 12 minutes depending on the exact noodle). Drain well and rinse with cold water. Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil.
An overhead shot of broccoli boiling in a silver pot.
  1. Fill a medium bowl with cold water and ice. Add the broccoli and blanch until bright green and tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the ice water to stop the cooking, then drain well.
An overhead shot of broccoli in iced water in a silver pot.
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Italian dressing, and Parmesan cheese. Stir in pasta, tomatoes, bell pepper, and scallions. Carefully fold in crab and stir until evenly coated. Cover and chill until serving time.
Seafood salad on a black and white platter.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 8 generous servings.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: The noodles can be boiled, rinsed with cold water, and drained up to 2 days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator. The broccoli can be blanched and chilled 1 day in advance. The Italian dressing, if you make it yourself, can be made up to 3 days in advance.

More picnic recipes

Seafood salad on a black and white platter.

Seafood Pasta Salad

This creamy, delicious Seafood Pasta Salad has chewy pasta, lots of colorful vegetables, and a mix of your favorite seafood like shrimp, crab, and lobster. It's perfect for parties, picnics, and barbecues.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 343

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound penne pasta (see note 1)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets chopped (see note 2)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing (see note 3)
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated (see note 4)
  • 1 (8 or 10 ounce) package grape tomatoes halved lengthwise
  • ½ cup red bell pepper diced
  • ½ cup scallions sliced
  • 1 ½ cups cooked shrimp crab, and/or lobster, chopped (see note 5)

Instructions 

  • In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente (usually 8 to 12 minutes depending on the exact noodle). Drain well and rinse with cold water.
  • Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil. Fill a medium bowl with cold water and ice. Add the broccoli and blanch until bright green and tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the ice water to stop the cooking, then drain well.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Italian dressing, and Parmesan cheese. Stir in pasta, tomatoes, bell pepper, and scallions. Carefully fold in crab and stir until evenly coated. Cover and chill until serving time.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Penne pasta: Or substitute rotini, farfalle, macaroni, or any small other pasta.
  2. Broccoli: Blanch the broccoli for a milder taste and a brighter green color.
  3. Salad dressing: To make my favorite Italian dressing, whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, 1 ½ tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp honey, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried parsley, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper). Or, use your favorite store-bought dressing.
  4. Parmesan cheese: I like the dry one from the green shaker can best in this unfussy pasta salad.
  5. Seafood: Aim for 1 ½ cups total (about 1 pound) of your favorite seafood such as cold poached shrimp, imitation crab, lump crabmeat, or chunks of poached lobster.
  6. Yield: This recipe makes 8 generous servings.
  7. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  8. Make ahead: The noodles can be boiled, rinsed with cold water, and drained up to 2 days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator. The broccoli can be blanched and chilled 1 day in advance. The Italian dressing, if you make it yourself, can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Nutrition

Calories: 343kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 10gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 256mgPotassium: 226mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 449IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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Comments

  1. Hi! I was reading about Danish cake and saw the video pop up on the side. We’re not huge seafood lovers here and I was wondering if this would be good with chicken or would the mayo be weird?
    P.s. thank you for showing me how to officially blanch broccoli as I am NOT a fan if it’s raw!

  2. Hello, I wanted to know if you would post the recipe to chicken and grape salad. I am not a cook and have no idea how to make this. This is the only site that I found that has actual recipes. For this I thank you. :}
    .

  3. Hi Meggan, I am excited to try this recipe for a picnic with my fiancé. Any recommendations on what dishes/drinks would pair nicely with it? Thanks for your suggestions in advance!

    1. Hi Baylin! I LOVE this salad, I hope you do too. I love it with sandwiches (especially chicken salad on croissants, or ham and cheese croissant sandwiches with mayo, lettuce, and tomato), fresh fruit, a bag of Lay’s potato chips. Feel free to be more upscale than that, ha ha! For drinks, any kind of sangria (if that’s your thing) or a lovely Arnold Palmer. Those are all my favorites! If you need a chicken salad recipe, or a sangria recipe, just let me know! I hope you guys have fun. :D

    2. Thanks, Meggan! One last question :) Is the Italian salad dressing dry or wet?

  4. Made this yesterday and was delicious!! I do like a little zing so added 1 1/2 tsp. of Salad Supreme!!! Awesome!5 stars

  5. “1 uncooked small pasta (macaroni, rotini, small shells, etc.)”

    My understanding is that this means 1 package of uncooked small pasta. How many grams or ounces would you say this equals to? The grocery stores in my city carry different sized packages of pasta, so stating this recipe requires “1 package small pasta” is unfortunately not specific enough for me :( Sorry to be a bother. I don’t know if this happens in different areas or if it’s just my country

    1. Angela, I am so sorry. YOU are not a bother. My recipe has a typo. I am so sorry! My instructions would not be clear to anyone, ever, no matter where they lived. It is supposed to be one pound of small pasta, but I cut out the pound part. And one pound is 453.592 grams. Or thereabouts. :) Thank you for finding this mistake so I can correct it, and I’m sorry again. Take care and if you need anything else just let me know! Sorry!!!

  6. I love seafood, so this pasta salad is calling my name. I’d love to serve it as a tasty side dish for BBQ.5 stars