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This shrimp caesar pasta salad is everything we love about pasta salad and caesar salad in one bowl. It's creamy and crunchy and great for weeknights because it's easy to toss together, plus it's ready in just 25 minutes!
There are lots of things to love about this shrimp caesar pasta salad. It's toothsome rotini, crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy croutons, and perfectly seasoned shrimp lightly tossed in a creamy zippy dressing.
This elevated version of caesar salad with homemade croutons and shrimp is a twist on the classic that everyone will love. Serve it as a lighter weeknight dinner or alongside Italian-inspired main dishes. It's also the perfect meal-style salad for BBQs season and outdoor summer gatherings!
It tastes especially great with our homemade easy caesar dressing, but you could use your favorite store-bought version in a pinch. Save yourself some time by making the dressing and croutons ahead of time, then all you have to do is toss it all together.
Caesar pasta salad ingredients
Here's everything you'll need to make this shrimp caesar pasta salad:
- Rotini pasta – this twisty pasta shape is great for holding lots of flavorful dressing.
- Olive oil – for frying the shrimp.
- Shrimp – peeled and deveined.
- Seasonings: paprika, Italian seasoning*, and salt
- Lemon – to brighten everything up
- Romaine – for the base of the caesar salad.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Croutons – for their wonderful savory crunch.
- Caesar dressing – your favorite caesar dressing. Try it with our easy casear dressing for a real treat!
- Parmesan – for a bold, cheesy taste.
*We use our homemade Italian seasoning but you can use a store-bought blend or your favorite italian herb like parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, or rosemary.
How to make shrimp caesar pasta salad
This shrimp ceasar pasta salad is easy to make by following a few simple steps:
- Start by cooking the pasta according to the package directions. Once it's al dente, drain it and then run cold water over the pasta until it's cold. (It may be sacreligeous to rinse pasta, but in this case, it removes some of the starches and makes for a better caesar pasta salad.)
- Next, cook the shrimp. Add the shrimp, paprika, Italian seasoning, and salt to a hot pan with a bit of oil. Stir it well to coat and then cook the shrimp for 2 minutes. As soon as the shrimp begin to curl and loose their transluecent look, remove the pan from heat and squeeze a little lemon juice over the top.
- Now it's time to assemble. Add the pasta, cooked shrimp, and all other ingredients together in a large bowl with dressing and mix well to combine. That's it!
How to make homemade croutons
Making your own croutons is surprisingly easy to do and a great way to use up bread that would otherwise go in the compost. Homemade croutons are also healthier and way tastier than store-bought.
To make them, simply dice some bread, toss it in olive oil and seasonings (like Italian seasoning and a bit of parmesan cheese) and bake until crispy. Use them right away or allow them to cool and store them in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
Can I make this salad ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare all the ingredients ahead of time but to avoid the lettuce getting soggy, wait until you're ready to serve it to add the dressing.
I'm not a big fan of shrimp, can I use chicken instead?
Sure! You'll want to dice it and cook it for about 5-6 minutes.
Can you recommend a good caesar dressing?
We love LOVE our easy caesar dressing. It only takes 5 minutes to make and has all the flavor of the classic recipe. If you have a bottle of store-bought caesar dressing in your fridge, go ahead and use that. But if not, give our recipe a try!
Ideas for serving caesar pasta salad
Since pasta salad is the ultimate picnic, party, and potluck food, make a big batch for a delicious spin on classic pasta salad that everyone will love!
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the rotini and cook according to the package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water until completely cool.8 ounces rotini pasta
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add the shrimp, paprika, Italian seasoning, and salt and stir well. Cook the shrimp for 2 minutes then remove the pan from the heat and squeeze the lemon juice over the top.1 lb shrimp, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ½ lemon
- Add the cooked and cooled pasta, the cooked shrimp, romaine, cherry tomatoes, croutons, and parmesan to a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing over top and toss to coat.4 cups romaine hearts, 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, 1 cup croutons, 1 cup caesar salad dressing
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.