This recipe for shrimp and pasta salad is one that Jungle Jim got from his mother. I was introduced to it the first holiday we were married. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since and our kids love it now just as much as we do.
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Jungle Jim’s Shrimp Salad Recipe
Jungle Jim’s Shrimp Salad
- 1 pound shrimp
- 1 cup black olives (sliced)
- 1 cup green olives
- 1 medium onion (finely diced)
- 2 pounds pasta (shell or elbows)
- 1 cup celery (diced)
- 2 cups Miracle Whip
- 1/4 cup juice from green olives
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- Put cooked shrimp in a salt brine (1 qt. water plus 3 T. salt) and let sit while pasta cooks.
- Cook pasta according to directions till al dente. Rinse under cold water.
- Cut shrimp into pieces then add to cooled pasta.
- Add rest of ingredients and stir together till well mixed. Chill in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Sprinkle with paprika on top for color.
My mother-in-law generally uses canned shrimp instead of frozen. One advantage to using the canned shrimp is that it’s already soaked in a brine whereas using frozen (or fresh) shrimp requires you to make your own brine. However, making a homemade brine is so easy that we tend to look for frozen shrimp on sale and do it ourselves. We also get bigger shrimp pieces that way. Bigger shrimp = bigger yums in our book.
This shrimp and pasta salad is actually best when it’s made a day ahead of serving time. That gives the spices a chance to fully mingle. A nice thing about this salad is that it can be served as a main dish when you want a quick meal, or it can be served as a side dish with another meat since it’s pasta based. My mother-in-law used to serve it when she’d prepare ham for a holiday dinner and the two were great compliments to each other!
By now you know that both Jungle Jim and I like to play around with recipes. The nice thing about this shrimp and pasta salad recipe is that you can alter the spices to suit your family’s tastes. Jungle Jim likes dishes that have a little more “kick” to them. My dad, on the other hand, prefers milder dishes. This salad can be spiced up or down depending on the needs of your family members. And it’s not uncommon for Jungle Jim to add a dash of chili powder or extra paprika to his portion after serving.
We recently served this dish to friends and it was a hit. At least, from the size of the second helpings that’s my assumption! Follow this up with a tasty cake (like Mandarin Orange Cake) and you’ve got an easy – and delicious – meal to serve your family or friends. The best thing is that all the preparations are done before your guests arrive which leaves you free to socialize.
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Jungle Jim doesn’t like most fish but he does love shrimp. Therefore, I’m always on the lookout for a new shrimp dish. What’s your favorite way to serve shrimp?