Shrimp, Bacon, Avocado Pasta Salad

Summery pasta salad with chipotle marinated shrimp, bacon, avocado, with a lime juice vinaigrette

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

You know summer has arrived in Sacramento when it’s 11:00 at night and it’s 85°F outside! We had our first over 100° day of the season yesterday, prompting the wisest of the city’s population to stay huddled indoors next to an AC vent. (That would be me.) Even my mother drove the half block it takes to get to my house from hers when she stopped by to visit. (She gets a pass, she’s 80.)

What to make/eat on a hot day? This pasta salad. It has two of my favorite food groups—avocado & bacon—which basically taste great with anything, and especially with chipotle marinated shrimp.

The zesty lime vinaigrette dressing ties everything together.

Pro tip on pasta salads: add more vinegar than you would expect. A typical vinaigrette ratio is 2:1 or 3:1 oil to acid. This salad’s vinaigrette is more like 2:3. Some of that acid is to counteract the richness of the avocado and bacon. Some of it is just because pasta salads do better with more vinegar. It brightens the flavor.

 

Shrimp, Bacon, Avocado Pasta Salad Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dry fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 pound of peeled, deveined raw shrimp
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (plus more salt for the pasta water)
  • 3-4 thick-cut slices of bacon (about 3 ounces), sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow bell pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, including the green onion greens
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup (packed) roughly chopped cilantro

Dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (can sub apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Method

1 Toss shrimp with chipotle chile powder and salt and put in the refrigerator to marinate while you make the pasta and the rest of the salad.

2 Put a large pot of salted water on to a boil (2 quarts of water, 1 Tbsp salt).

3 While the water is heating, cook the bacon. Put the bacon in a small saucepan on medium heat. Cook until most of the fat has rendered out and the bacon pieces are lightly browned. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Discard or save for future use all but one tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat (do not pour bacon fat down the drain or you will be calling your plumber).

4 Increase the heat to high and add the shrimp. Sauté until done, a few minutes.

5 When the pasta water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, cooked through but still a little firm to the bite (usually 1 or 2 minutes less than what the package calls for).

6 Put all of the dressing ingredients into a jar, cover and shake until well blended.

7 When the pasta is ready, strain it and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss with the shrimp, bacon, bell peppers, and onions. Add the cilantro and avocado just before serving.

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Shrimp Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad

Showing 4 of 8 Comments

  • gab

    This looks great and I love the combination of avocado and bacon. One question, does this travel well if we wanted to make it for a picnic?

  • Scott

    made yesterday in 105 degree east sacramento…only change was pancetta for bacon and pimenton for chipoltle (not my fav)…..excellent hot summer lite supper, the dressing is just right, BTW

  • Sandy S

    What a winning combination! The lime/mustard dressing and cilantro brings so much flavor! For me, they are key. But, I encourage anyone who is not fond of either limes or cilantro (or some other ingredient) to drop what they don’t like and go ahead with the other items. It’s that good! I had to sub a few things – GF penne pasta, red pepper flakes and I added a dash of white pepper and a tablespoon of lemon juice to the dressing (I ran short of lime juice). For those who are vegetarians, you can go places with this salad!!! The dressing is sure to wake up other combinations of either raw or parboiled veggies. I will double the dressing recipe next time.

  • Susan

    This sounds fabulous. I love the idea of marinating the shrimp with chipotle powder for a little spiciness. Can’t wait to make this. I bet some diced mango and/or roasted corn kernels would be good in this, too.

  • Dawn

    Thank you so much for this recipe, Elise. We made it for lunch today. I didn’t have any Chipotle chile powder, so I mixed smoked paprika and cayenne. Also our cilantro looked very sad, so I used flat-leaf parsley instead. It was delicious! My husband can’t wait to have the leftovers. I bet some baby spinach tossed into this with a little extra dressing would be great too.

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