Roasted Shrimp Pasta Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette is a magical combination of fresh succulent shrimp, orzo pasta and a flavorful lemon vinaigrette that you can make in less than twenty minutes.
This light and flavorful seafood pasta salad is as easy to prepare as it is delicious and will please even your pickiest eaters. And, this versatile make-ahead cold pasta salad can be served for lunch or dinner and is also perfect for serving at a ladies’ luncheon or baby shower.
Like many recipes with pasta, the longer Easy Shrimp Salad with Pasta sits in the refrigerator, the better it tastes.
Orzo happens to be my husband’s favorite pasta, and shrimp is my favorite shellfish, so it’s a marriage made in heaven. Add in fresh, simple ingredients like feta cheese, scallions, dill, and parsley, and this dish becomes the stuff dreams are made of.
How to tell when shrimp are cooked:
The line between perfectly cooked and over-cooked seafood is razor-thin. They cook so quickly, sometimes only a matter of seconds makes the difference between tender and juicy and tough, stringy crustaceans.
When they are raw, they are somewhat grey and translucent. When they are properly cooked, the flesh is opaque and firm and slightly white and pink. Always use the appearance to determine whether they are cooked or not, and do not rely solely on the cooking time shown in the recipe.
To ensure even cooking, make sure all of your shrimp are the same size and are spread out in a single even layer on the baking sheet.
How to thaw:
I almost always have a bag of peeled and deveined frozen raw shrimp in my freezer. An easy way to thaw them is to put them in a colander and let cold water run over them. This only takes about 15 minutes. However, if you plan, they can safely be thawed by placing the bag in the refrigerator overnight.
How to buy shrimp by size:
Shrimp are sold by their size and by the number of shrimp per pound. Unfortunately, these sizes are not regulated, so it may be different where you live. As an easy rule of thumb, the bigger the shrimp, the fewer shrimp per pound.
The majority of my recipes call for extra-large (26-30 shrimp per pound) or jumbo (21-25 shrimp per pound). Large runs about 31-35 shrimp per pound and medium are about 41-50 shrimp per pound. In this recipe, I used jumbo or 21-25 shrimp per pound.
More shrimp recipes:
If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know I love shrimp and cook with them often. If you like them as I do, you might also like these easy and delicious recipes:
- Easy Crispy Pan-Fried Shrimp
- Shrimp Caesar Salad with Caesar Dressing
- Crispy Buffalo Shrimp
- Creamy Shrimp Creole
- Easy Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice
- Spicy Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry,
- Delicious Shrimp and Blue Cheese Pasta.
Need more recipes and menu ideas, check out the seafood category in my recipe index for even more shrimp recipes.
You will need orzo pasta, raw, deveined and peeled shrimp, fresh lemons, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh dill and parsley, scallions, and feta cheese.
How to roast shrimp:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the shrimp on a large sheet pan with sides, drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Mix well to make sure they are coated and spread out in a single layer. (Yes, I was a little heavy-handed with the pepper in this picture.)
Roast until the flesh is opaque and firm, and slightly white and pink in color. This should take between 6 to 9 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and put them on a plate to cool. Set aside.
While the shrimp are roasting, fill a large pot with water and add 2 tsp of kosher salt and a splash of olive oil. Put over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 9-10 minutes, or until it is tender.
How to make the lemon vinaigrette:
Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Whisk well.
How to make the pasta salad:
When the orzo is done, drain it and immediately add it to the lemon vinaigrette. Mix well. Let it sit for about 10 minutes for the hot orzo to absorb the liquid.
Add the shrimp, scallions, dill, and parsley and toss well. Top with the feta cheese mix in carefully.
Serve immediately, or for best results, let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop, or refrigerate until time to serve.
If you would like to pair this pasta salad with wine, Pinot Gris with its citrus flavors would compliment the delicate flavor of the pasta.
Always buy shrimp by the size, which is the number of shrimp in a pound. I used 21-25 shrimp per pound in this recipe. Larger ones will take more time to cook, and smaller ones will take less time.
If I am buying fresh shrimp, I have the seafood store peel and devein them, and remove the tails. If I am using frozen, I buy the ones that have already been peeled and deveined. Often the frozen ones still have the tails on; if so, pinch or pull them off.
I know you can buy pre-cooked shrimp, but I have never tried them in this recipe.
This pasta salad is a great make-ahead dish, and the flavor improves after sitting in the fridge overnight. It will keep well covered in your fridge for up to two to three days. Because of the fresh herbs, it should not be frozen.
I prefer using orzo in this recipe, but in a pinch, you can substitute another type of pasta in this recipe. Something small like shells, orecchiette, rotelle, or small farfalle would all work.
Do not substitute bottled lemon juice for fresh in this recipe.
It’s essential to add the cooked and drained orzo to the lemon vinaigrette immediately while it is still hot so that it will absorb the vinaigrette.
★ If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thanks so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Roasted Shrimp Pasta Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- 1-1/4 cups dry orzo pasta
- 1 lb shrimp size 21-25 per pound, peeled, deveined and tails removed
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup scallions white and green parts, finely minced
- 1/2 cup dill fresh, finely minced
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley fresh, finely chopped
- 8 oz feta cheese block, drained and cubed
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the shrimp on a large sheet pan with sides. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Toss and make sure all shrimp are coated with oil.
- Roast the shrimp until the flesh is opaque and firm, and slightly white and pink in color. This should take between 6 to 9 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and put the shrimp on a plate to cool. Set aside.
- While the shrimp are roasting, fill a large pot with water and add 2 tsp of kosher salt and a splash of olive oil. Put over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 9-10 minutes, or until it is tender.
- While the pasta and shrimp are cooking whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- When the pasta is done, drain, add it immediately to the lemon vinaigrette and mix well. Let it sit for about 10 minutes for the pasta to absorb the liquid.
- Add the shrimp, scallions, dill, and parsley and toss well. Add the feta and combine carefully.
- Serve immediately, or for the best flavor, let it sit at room temperature for one hour to allow the flavors to develop. Or, refrigerate until time to serve. Can be eaten cold or at room temperature.
**This recipe was originally posted on May 11, 2016. Republished on December 28, 2019, with new pictures, a “how-to” video, and expanded tips.