Today, I have another recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Dieters Cookbook, the source of my surprisingly popular Polenta With Sausage and Vegetables post. Like that dish, this meal is satisfying and filling while clocking in at a reasonable calorie count (415 per generously-sized portion). If you’re OK with shrimp, this one will be a keeper — it’s one of the recipes from the book that I make even when we’re not trying to watch what we eat. I love the combination of the al dente pasta, the crunchy veggies, and the warm, succulent shrimp, all lightly tossed in the wonderful Asian-style dressing. The sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds on top is lovely, adding a slight crunch and subtle but rich flavor. Prepping the shrimp (defrosting, peeling and deveining) takes a little time, but after that, this salad comes together easily.
Warm Shrimp and Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces fresh or frozen peeled, deveined medium shrimp
- 8 ounces dried gemelli pasta (about 2 1/2 cups) — rotini works fine, too
- 1 6-ounce package frozen snow peas (you can also use fresh)
- 1 small red pepper, chopped
- 4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces (I actually found four to be a bit much; next time, I think I’ll just go with one or two)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 6 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional; I skipped it for the kids’ sake)
- Toasted sesame seeds (optional; but they really do add to the flavor, so I encourage you to pick some up — they’re sold in the Asian aisle at the grocery store)
Thaw shrimp, if frozen, then peel and devein. Cook pasta according to package instructions, adding the peas to the pasta water in the last minute or so of cooking (if using fresh snow peas, add in the last few seconds of cooking to avoid the peas becoming limp). Drain the pasta and peas, then return to pan. Add sweet pepper and green onions to the pasta mixture; toss to combine. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, mix up the dressing in a small bowl: Combine the vinegar, 4 teaspoons of the oil, the soy sauce, honey, and crushed red pepper (if using). Whisk to blend well and set aside.
Rinse shrimp; pat dry. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to a large nonstick skillet and heat over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp. Cook and stir about two minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque. Add the shrimp to the pasta mixture. Drizzle with dressing and toss gently to coat (you may have to whisk the dressing again before adding it to the pasta mixture). Divide onto plates and serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds.