Grilled Shrimp Cocktail Pasta Salad

So who doesn’t love shrimp cocktail anyway? …Exactly. So I wanted to turn shrimp cocktail into a cool Grilled Shrimp Cocktail Pasta Salad and add it to my repertoire of stuff I can make ahead and bring places.

Healthy Grilled Shrimp Cocktail Pasta Salad

I grilled the shrimp rather than poaching because I just think grilled shrimp taste so much better. But if you want to be a purist and just quickly give your shrimp a quick boil, then straight into an ice bath – that would certainly work for this recipe too. The dressing is what is really key – I used Greek yogurt and light buttermilk. Translation: no mayonnaise. Not that I have any problem with mayo – I don’t. But I eat enough of the stuff already, so I wanted to see if this salad dressing could go without.

Healthy Grilled Shrimp Cocktail Pasta Salad

This dressing is delicious. A milder, creamy version of cocktail sauce, I can already see so many places to schmere: po-boys, grilled fish sammies, fried calamari …OHHH!

Personally, a bit of cocktail sauce, which is made using ketchup, does not phase me. But then again, I’m not a 100% clean eater. I go more of a 80/20 route (wink, wink). AND btw, I just had my annual check-up this week and my blood work was off the charts perfect! So I will not be changing my habits anytime soon because they are working. …But if you are phased by the cocktail sauce, then just get yourself some organic ketchup and add horseradish to taste. And organic pasta. Easy-nuf. Then you too can enjoy this creamy salad that tastes even better the next day.

Healthy Grilled Shrimp Cocktail Pasta Salad

Healthy Grilled Shrimp Cocktail Pasta Salad

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail Pasta Salad

Shrimp cocktail into a cool and healthy pasta salad.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: seafood
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Authur: Erica
Servings: 6 people


For the dressing

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup light buttermilk
  • 2-3 Tbsp seafood cocktail sauce to taste
  • pinch kosher salt
  • pinch fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Italian flat-leaf parsley minced

For the shrimp

For the salad

  • ½ lb ditalini pasta
  • ½ cup green bell pepper diced
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 medium tomato seeded and diced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • couple pinches fresh cracked pepper
  • Boston bibb lettuce see *Note below
  • garnish: additional chopped parsley


  • Heat grill on high heat. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
  • Thread the shrimp on skewers and lightly brush or spray them with olive oil. Season both sides with salt, pepper, and Old Bay. Grill on high heat 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, turning mid-way, until just cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta in heavily salted water to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • To a large mixing bowl, add the bell pepper, celery, green onion, cooked pasta, salt, pepper, and salad dressing. Toss to evenly distribute the dressing. Gently toss in the shrimp and tomato. Chill at least 30 minutes. Serve on a bed of lettuce if desired. Garnish with fresh parsley. Yield: 6 servings.

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