Family Favorite Shrimp and Macaroni Salad (Video)
Family Favorite Shrimp and Macaroni Salad was always my father’s choice for a family party, and now there’s a low-carb option for this popular recipe. If you make this salad with Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows, it’s only 12.7 net carbs per serving. And either way you make it, this salad is pure comfort food, and perfect for the Super Bowl.
For today’s Friday Favorites pick, I’m excited to update this favorite Shrimp Macaroni Salad recipe with a lower-carb option! Recently Kara and I have become obsessed with the Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta that’s made in Italy and has lots of fiber to make it about half the net carbs of regular pasta.
And when I’ve been using Fiber Gourmet Pasta in recipes like Baked Penne with Sausage, I’ve also been using a lots of low-carb ingredients in proportion to the amount of pasta, which makes the finished dish pretty low in net carbs. (Remember to subtract fiber from carbs to get the net carbs.)
I was already using that trick of less macaroni and more shrimp for this family-favorite Shrimp and Macaroni Salad that’s a dish I’ve made for family parties for more than 30 years now, and it was definitely my father’s all-time favorite salad. So recently I tried making this salad with Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows (affiliate link) for a party at my sister Pam’s house. And wow, what a great idea that was!
I honestly don’t think anyone would have ever guessed I made the salad with lower-carb pasta, and using the Fiber Gourmet pasta and lots of shrimp in this salad reduced the carbs to 12.7 net carbs per serving!
That definitely makes Shrimp Macaroni Salad a lot more carb-conscious for something to make for a family party, and if your family loves this salad as much as mine does, you might need to make it whenever the family gets together.
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows (affiliate link), or use any macaroni if you don’t care about carbs
- thawed frozen precooked shrimp
- green onions
- salt and pepper
- reduced shrimp “juice” (liquid saved when draining shrimp which has been boiled to concentrate the flavor)
- fresh-squeezed lemon juice, I used my fresh-frozen lemon juice
- Celery Seed (affiliate link)
What makes this Shrimp Macaroni Salad so good?
Notice the name of the recipe is Shrimp and Macaroni Salad (not Macaroni and Shrimp Salad), because this salad has lots of shrimp and less macaroni than most recipes for this type of salad. But what else makes the salad so full of flavor is the idea of using a little of the shrimp “juice” saved from draining the frozen shrimp and adding it to the mayo-based dressing, plus the flavor boost of celery seeds. Please don’t skip that step, it’s a game-changer for this salad.
What if your frozen shrimp doesn’t release much juice?
Sometimes I drain the frozen shrimp and not much liquid is released. When that happens I use a tiny bit of Knorr Shrimp Bouillon (affiliate link) mixed with water to add to the shrimp juice before I reduce it.
More About Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta:
The biggest drawback to the Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta for many people will be the price. In some parts of the country it’s sold in stores, but I haven’t found it in any stores near me. The best price I found online was at Amazon where you can buy a package of 6 boxes and get it for $6.66 per box. (affiliate link). The pasta is less expensive on The Fiber Gourmet site, but the shipping is really costly unless you purchase a lot of pasta at once. For me it was such a treat to have “real” pasta without so many carbs that I bought an order of six boxes of each of the four types of Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta, but if anyone finds it at a lower price for fewer boxes I’d love to know where you find it.
How to make Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta more affordable and reduce the carbs:
Even though the Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta varieties are all much lower in carbs than other pastas made from wheat, I like to make the carbs even lower by using this pasta in recipes with lots of other low-carb ingredients. So for this recipe, one cup of the light elbows makes six servings of salad. That makes the carb count much lower and makes the pasta much more affordable.
How to make this family-favorite Shrimp Macaroni Salad:
(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- (These photos are twice the amount of the recipe, taken when I made a big batch of the salad for a family gathering.)
- I make this with large frozen cooked tail-on shrimp from Costco, thawed in the fridge overnight.
- After you thaw them be sure to catch the “juice” when you drain the shrimp.
- Put the shrimp “juice” in a small pan and cook until it’s slightly reduced. (This is a really small frying pan.) Don’t worry if the liquid isn’t clear; the small bits of shrimp add a lot of flavor to the dressing.
- Cook the Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows (affiliate link) or other macaroni according to package directions and drain well.
- Cut up the shrimp into bite-sized pieces.
- Chop celery and thinly slice green onions.
- Whisk together the mayo, concentrated shrimp “juice”, lemon juice, and Celery Seed (affiliate link) to make the dressing.
- When the pasta is cool, mix it with the shrimp, chopped celery, and sliced green onions.
- Mix dressing into the salad and season with salt and pepper. You may not need all the dressing if you prefer your salads more dry.
- Chill for a few hours to develop the flavors.
- This keeps in the refrigerator for a few days, but it probably won’t last that long!
More Salads with Shrimp:
- Lemony Shrimp Salad with Avocado, Heart of Palm, and Feta
- Shrimp and Avocado Salad
- Cucumber Noodle Salad with Shrimp
- Shrimp Salad Wraps
- Shrimp Cucumber Salad
- 1 cup Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows (or other macaroni of your choice)
- 2 cups thawed frozen precooked shrimp, cut in 1/2″ pieces (save the juice when you drain the thawed shrimp)
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup mayo
- 1 T reduced shrimp “juice” (Liquid saved when draining shrimp which has been boiled to concentrate the flavor)
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. whole celery seed
- Thaw shrimp overnight in refrigerator, keeping it in the bag so you can catch the “juice” when you open it. (In a pinch you can also thaw it inside the bag in a bowl of barely warm water.)
- Drain shrimp well, reserving the liquid that accumulates in bag. (I dry shrimp with a paper towel if they’re quite wet.)
- Put liquid drained from shrimp in small saucepan and simmer until reduced by at least half. (This will concentrate the shrimp flavor and evaporate the water. Watch carefully, this doesn't take long!)
- Cook macaroni in large pot of salted, boiling water according to package directions, or until soft but still slightly chewy. Be careful not to overcook.
- Drain macaroni and cool, but don’t rinse.
- While macaroni cooks, dice shrimp, celery, and green onions and put in bowl with a snap-on lid.
- Mix dressing ingredients together.
- When macaroni is cool, mix it into shrimp mixture in bowl, then gently fold in dressing. (You may not need all the dressing if you prefer your salads to be more dry.)
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- This is best if chilled a few hours before serving. Will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
I have made this with small “salad ” shrimp or larger medium shrimp, but I greatly prefer the flavor and texture of the larger shrimp. I cut each medium shrimp into about 4 pieces.
Nutritional information is for the salad made with Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows.
Recipe created by Kalyn and made for many years for Denny family parties.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 262Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3.2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15.4gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 710mgCarbohydrates: 29.1gFiber: 16.4gSugar: .7gProtein: 12.2g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Shrimp and Macaroni Salad will be much lower in carbs than most Macaroni Shrimp Salad recipes when it’s made with Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows and more shrimp than macaroni, although it still might be something to make for a special occasion if you’re following a strict low-carb diet. This recipe is too high in fat for the original South Beach Diet, but you could use light mayo if you’re following South Beach.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Seafood Recipes to find more recipes with shrimp! Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe
This recipe for salad with lots of shrimp and just a a smaller amount of macaroni is dedicated to the memory of my wonderful father, and it’s something I made over and over for him during his life. I’ve been making this salad for my family for about 30 years! It was first posted on the blog in 2007, and was last updated with the option to use Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows in 2023.