Asian Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Red Pepper, and Honey Roasted Peanuts

It is just about time for picnics and summer potlucks.  And when you have a picnic or summer potluck, there is a calling for a pasta salad of some sort. They are quick, relatively easy to prepare, and they feed a crowd.  But the one thing I do not care for is a pasta salad that has been set up to the point where the pasta has absorbed all of the dressing.  So I like to prepare/pack the pasta and the dressing separately, then toss it all together just before serving.  This makes for a balanced pasta salad in taste and texture.

Shrimp, pasta (a fun shape is always a good thing for the kiddos), a few veggies, and a light ginger-soy dressing come together in this delicious Asian inspired pasta salad.  But what really makes this dish is the addition of the honey roasted peanuts.  They add a wonderful sweet and savory crunch that we love.  If you have allergy concerns about the peanuts, chow mien noodles or fried won-ton strips would be a good substitute, but don't add them until the very end.
Printable Recipe

Asian Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Red Pepper, and Honey Roasted Peanuts
serves 6-8 as a main dish, 12-16 a a side dish

For the Dressing
1 Tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
6 Tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
1 Tablespoon water

For the Pasta Salad
1 pound medium shrimp
1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon dry Sherry
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 pound fusilli pasta
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces
8 ounces snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced on the bias
3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped and divided
3 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Crushed red pepper to taste

For the Dressing
In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil.  Using a wire whisk, slowly whisk in oil in a steady stream to make an emulsified dressing.  (Dressing can be made and refrigerated a day in advance.)

For the Pasta Salad
In a small bowl, marinate the shrimp in the soy sauce and sherry while preparing the other ingredients.

Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil in a large stock pot.  In a separate saucepan, heat 1 inch of water.  Arrange shrimp in a steamer basket and set over boiling water in the saucepan, cover, reduce heat to low, and steam without lifting the lid until shrimp are opaque, about 5 minutes.  Remove the basket and set aside to cool.

Add the salt and pasta to the stock pot of boiling water; cook according to manufacturer's directions.  Thoroughly drain and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool to room temperature.

Transfer shrimp, pasta, pepper, snow peas, 1/2 cup of the peanuts, green onions, and cilantro to a large bowl; do not mix. (Pasta can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.)  When ready to serve add the dressing, toss to coat, and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Add crushed red pepper to taste and garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup peanuts.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Cook Smart by Pam Anderson


  1. Looks terrific! I always love an Asian flare.

  2. Yum, this has "picnic lunch at the beach written all over it. In the summer, shrimp are cheaper than chicken here. Looking forward to trying this one - yum!

  3. AnonymousJune 21, 2012

    I can imagine some interesting flavors in this dish. Thanks for sharing!


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