It’s summertime, which means it’s the season of fresh, flavorful dishes like a delicious Mediterranean Pasta Salad featuring pasta, shrimp, avocado and a host of refreshing Mediterranean ingredients.
During the winter we curl up with bulky sweaters and enjoy comfort foods, but when the temperature rises and short shorts are in fashion we crave lighter meals. No need to compromise flavor! With fresh garden options like tomatoes, oregano, basil, lemon, feta cheese and Kalamata olives, creating great flavor is easy.
As a side or as a meal, this pasta salad with shrimp and avocado is light and flavor-packed. However, if you’re looking for Mediterranean flavor with a little more meat, check out this recipe for Greek Lemon Garlic Chicken Salad.
The pasta in this dish plays a supporting role letting the rest of the delicious ingredients shine. Although this dressing is Mayo-based, it’s made lighter by combining lemon juice and olive oil with a lesser amount of mayo than traditional mayo-based pasta salads. The Mediterranean flavors come from the fresh herbs, spices, red onion, Kalamata olives and salty feta.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Shrimp and Avocado
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup lemon juice + 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (Greek oregano preferred)
- 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more if needed later
For the Pasta Salad
- 2 cups pasta
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped red onions
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved or chopped
- Pepper flakes, optional
- 2-3 avocados, pitted and chopped (dress avocado with lemon juice to avoid browning)
- 12 oz cooked shrimp
- 4 oz Greek feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
- Cook pasta in boiling water according to package instructions until al dente (don’t forget to add salt to cooking water).
- Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a large bowl, whisk mayo, lemon juice, zest, garlic, spices, salt and pepper together.
- Whisk in extra virgin olive oil in a slow and steady stream until smooth. When pasta is ready, drain.
- Whisk the dressing again to blend, then add the pasta to the same bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients except avocado, shrimp and feta. Toss to mix thoroughly and let the pasta salad cool completely.
- When you are ready to serve, add avocado and shrimp. Drizzle a little more olive oil if needed.
- Toss gently to combine, then add feta. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.Transfer to serving platter. Serve at room temperature.
Note: You can make the pasta salad up to 24 hours ahead of time (hold avocado, shrimp and feta until later). Bring pasta salad to room temperature before serving; follow step 4 to serve.