Summer really isn’t complete without having either made or eaten a pasta salad. Now there’s plenty of pasta salad recipes out there but none quite like my Ackee & Shrimp Pasta Salad.
Like a “traditional” pasta salad, this recipe has the basics - pasta (of course) red onions, peppers, and a mayonnaise-based dressing. I added some Jamaican flavor (cause why not), by including Ackee and using a Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce in the dressing which gives the dressing a nice kick but isn’t too spicy. The bulk of the recipe involves preparing the shrimp and the ackee. Pre-cooked shrimp can be substituted to save time however, the canned ackees will need to be cooked/heated in order to bring out the flavor so please don’t skip that step.
If using red, yellow, or white onions and don’t want the taste of the raw onions to overpower the other ingredients, you can cook the onions until softened, as I did for this recipe. Another option is to soak the onions in ice water or vinegar for a few minutes while preparing the other ingredients. Overall this dish is quick to make, delicious, and perfect for a summer day or frankly any time of year your craving pasta. The best part is after making this pasta salad it can be stored in the fridge for about a week (if you don’t finish it before then) and like wine, it gets better with time.
So let’s get to cooking. Have fun and enjoy.
2 cups Elbow Macaroni
1 (19oz) can Ackee
1lb Jumbo Shrimp (about 35 pieces)
1 (8oz) can Sweet Corn
2 Scallions/Green Onions
½ Red Onion
⅓ cup Red Bell Pepper (about ¼ of the pepper)
2 stalks Thyme
½ cup Mayonnaise
2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce
2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar or White Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1. Cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions. Drain the cooked pasta and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
2. Finely chop the red onions, bell peppers, jalapeno, and scallions, keeping the white portions separate from the greens.
3. Drain and rinse the sweet corn and the canned ackees. Place in separate bowls.
4. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, scotch bonnet sauce, salt & pepper. Whisk to combine. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.
Cook Shrimp & Ackee
5. In a medium-sized pan heat 1tbsp oil/butter over medium-high heat. Add the red onions and cook until softened then remove from the pan. Est. Time. 2-3 mins.
6. De-shell, de-vein (if necessary), and pat dry the shrimp. Using the same pan, heat another tbsp of oil/butter. Cook shrimp on both sides until pink and remove from pan.
7. Next, add the ackees to the pan used to cook the shrimp. Cook without stirring for about 2 mins. Then add salt, pepper, and thyme leaves. Stir and continue cooking for 3 minutes until completely heated.
8. In a large bowl, add the cooked macaroni. Top with red onions, jalapenos, bell peppers and, scallion whites. Toss. Then add the cooked shrimp, the ackees, and last but not least the dressing. Toss until evenly combined.
9. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 mins to 1 hour. Serve with scallion greens on top. Enjoy!