Fresh, bright, and bursting with summer seafood flavor, this Crab Pasta Salad is the ultimate summer potluck side dish!
Summer is the time for fun in the sun and of course, seafood! There’s nothing better than a clam bake, lobster boil, or a grilled salmon salad. In the summer I always reach for my favorite shrimp recipes, but this year I’m branching out and trying new things!
I am SO glad that I’m experimenting because this Crab Pasta Salad is incredible. It’s one of those pasta salads that you’ll keep going back for more, and more, and…MORE.
The best part? This seafood pasta salad recipe is SUPER simple to make. It’s bound to become one of your summertime staples!
CRAB PASTA SALAD
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Summer picnics and backyard barbecues are here and I am LOVING it. I live for this season, mostly because of the warm weather, but also because of all the delicious food and fun times spent with family and friends! I love a good backyard grilling session as much as the next girl, but what I’m REALLY there for is the side dishes.
I’m talking allllllll the salads – pasta, fruit, veggies. I love every kind of summer salad. I especially love a great cold, crab pasta salad and this crab pasta salad recipe takes the cake!
It’s light, bright, and beautiful. Not to mention, the taste is out of this world!
Crab pasta salad is packed with delicious chopped veggies, tender pasta, and of course – crab meat! A chilled pasta salad is always high on my list for what to bring to a backyard bbq, but this crab salad is my new #1… it’s that good.
Pasta – when it comes to crab pasta salad, not all pasta is created equally. You’ll want to use a noodle that will hold onto your sauce really well. I love using medium shells or orecchiette because they both really lock in that dressing and you get the fresh taste with every single bite!
Crab – more often than not, when you see a crab pasta salad, it’s made with imitation crab. This is also an imitation crab pasta salad. We use imitation crab for a few reasons – it’s inexpensive, it’s found super easily, and it works really well in a pasta salad! If you’ve got real crab though, go ahead and use it!
How to Make Crab Pasta Salad
This crab pasta salad with peas is SO delicious, but do know that you’ll need at least an hour to let the salad chill. So, make sure you allow for that when planning out your serving schedule Here’s how to make the ultimate crab pasta salad!
- Start by prepping your pasta shells. Cook the according to the package directions until al dente in a large pot of salted water. Then drain the pasta and run it under cold water. This will cool the pasta and stop it from cooking anymore.
- Once your pasta is cooked, it’s time to assemble your crab pasta salad! Grab your favorite large bowl (the one you want to serve the pasta salad in) and place the pasta, crab, veggies, mayo, and dill in it. Toss to combine. Add in some salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Then, pop your pasta mixture in the refrigerator for at least an hour to give the flavors time to blend into the deliciousness that they are!
- Serve cold with some chopped chives or green onions as garnish.
Can you freeze Crab Pasta Salad?
While I LOVE a recipe that you can prep way ahead of time, freeze, thaw, and serve, I wouldn’t recommend doing it with this crab pasta salad recipe. It just all turns to mush when defrosted.
If you’re a true recipe prepper like I am though, there are some ways to get your ingredients all set to go so that you CAN assemble and serve quickly! If you’re looking to save some time when making your crab pasta salad, simply cut up all your veggies and store them in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
You can also cook up your pasta ahead of time and store it in the fridge. If I know I’m going to make a pasta salad, I’ll often just cook an extra box up when I’m making my family’s dinner. That way when I’m ready to make my pasta salad, there’s no more waiting for the water to boil or waiting for your pasta to cool down!
Need more summer salad inspiration? Check out these other Real Housemoms favorites!
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Ranch Pasta Salad
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Red Potato Salad
- Easy BLT Pasta Salad
- more SIDE DISH recipes…
Tools used to make Crab Pasta Salad
Mixing/Serving Bowl: I love this bowl because it’s functional enough to use as a mixing bowl but beautiful enough to serve my pasta salad with crab meat!
Knife Set: you’ll want all the veggies for your crab pasta salad to be chopped to perfection, so of course you’ll need a trust, sharp knife!
- 1 pound medium shells pasta
- 14 ounces imitation crab meat
- 1/2 cup frozen peas thawed
- 1/2 cup red onion peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup celery chopped
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped (or 1 tsp dried dill)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Fresh chives chopped, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and gerneously salt the water. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain pasta and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the cooked pasta, crab, peas, onion, celery, bell pepper, mayo, and dill. Gently stir to combine until everything is well coated. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Uncover the bowl and serve cold with fresh chives sprinkles on top for garnish.
Jon C. says
This one’s out of my summer seafood comfort zone too!! So glad we tried it. Got some crab meat this week (https://lummiislandwild.com/our-seafood/dungeness-crab-meat/) and I needed a new recipe to try. The fresh dill tied it all together for me!