Crab Pasta Salad is a delightful light, healthy and delicious pasta salad that's perfect for summer or your next cookout. Filled with imitation crab meat, crisp celery, bright lemon, onion, and peas and then mixed with an easy and creamy dill spiced Greek yogurt-based dressing.
Crab Pasta Salad
Crab Pasta Salad is my healthy take on the mayo-filled recipe you'll see at many Southern cookouts and at the popular restaurant, Golden Corral. My version is bright, light, veggie-filled, and made with a Greek yogurt-based dressing instead of mayo, mayonnaise, sour cream or ranch.
This Healthy Seafood Pasta Salad is perfect for a fast summer dinner or any cookout or potluck you need a dish for. You can make it and enjoy it immediately OR make it ahead for dinner when you don't have time to cook. This recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes, is a crowd-pleasing favorite.
The combination of perfect pasta, tender crab, crunchy celery, and flavorful dill. You toss it in a light dressing with Old Bay Seasoning and lemon for a dish that is unexpected and OH SO GOOD.
Crab Pasta Salad without Mayo
The best part about my Healthy Crab Pasta Salad is it's made without mayo! I substitute Greek yogurt for a pasta salad dressing you can actually feel good eating. The rest of the dressing is made with bright lemon, garlic powder, onion powder, and dill.
My surprise ingredient to make this dish irresistible though? OLD BAY!!!! Because nothing goes better with seafood than Old Bay! That really gives my pasta salad the extra punch to make it special.
What is imitation crab meat made of?
Yes, this pasta salad calls for imitation crab meat! It's not something I eat a lot of, but there is something about it that's just PERFECT for this pasta salad. Imitation crab meat is not actually crab, but it is made of white fish. It's processed food BUT I do believe in enjoying foods you enjoy in moderation and it makes one mean Crab Pasta Salad!
If you prefer, you can use any type of crab meat or seafood (hello, SHRIMP!) for this recipe.
- Pasta: I used medium pasta shells for the photos but feel free to sub your favorite type of short pasta including macaroni or penne. I like the shells for my Crab Pasta Salad because it reminds me of the beach. If you are gluten-free, you can easily sub gluten-free pasta. To prep, it cook it according to package instructions. I like to check it a minute before the box says its done to try to get it perfectly al dente.
- Imitation Crabmeat: I used imitation crab meat for my pasta salad because I wanted this dish to be reminiscent of the ones found at a lot of Southern cookouts. I like the flake style for this recipe. To prepare it for the recipe just flake it or cut it into bite-sized pieces.
- Peas: I love the extra vitamins, protein, and richness peas add to this pasta salad. I just used a package of frozen peas. I cooked them in the microwave and let them cool before making my pasta salad.
- Celery: Celery adds some much-needed crunch and more lovely green color to my pasta salad.
- Green Onion: I love the subtle flavor of green onions in this dish.
- Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is the perfect base for my dressing. I used low-fat Greek yogurt when testing but feel free to use whatever kind works with your diet.
- Lemon Juice: A lemon adds some freshness and brightness to the dish and pairs perfectly with the seafood.
- Fresh Dill: Fresh dill is perfect for this dish! Dill pairs perfectly with seafood like crab meat.
- Old Bay Seasoning: Old bay in the dressing is my secret ingredient to take this dish to the next level. BAM! If you can't find it in the store, buy it here.
- Onion Powder & Garlic Powder: These two spices add lots of rich flavor to the Crab Pasta Salad dressing.
How Do You Make Crab Pasta Salad?
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse the pasta with cool water.
- In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, crab meat, peas, celery, and green onion.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients including the greek yogurt, lemon, onion powder, garlic powder, old bay, and dill. If your dressing seems thick (it depends on the type of greek yogurt you use) you can add a splash of milk.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta salad mixture and stir well.
- Serve immediately or allow to chill covered in the fridge and serve later.
This pasta salad would be gorgeous served in this bowl for a cookout!
Variations & FAQ
I love this Crab Pasta Salad recipe as written, but here are some fun twists on the recipe.
- Use shrimp or real crab meat.
- To make it extra crab-y you can double the crab meat and reduce the pasta.
- Use my Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing.
- Make it spicy with a few dashes of hot sauce.
- Mix up the veggies. Carrots, red bell peppers, corn, or even red onion would be delicious.
- Add olives! Green or black would be delicious.
- For extra nutrition serve it over a bed of leafy greens.
How do I store this Crab Pasta Salad?
This pasta salad makes a great make-ahead dish and needs to be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
How long can I keep this pasta salad in the fridge?
This Crab Pasta Salad can be stored for 3-5 days. If it seems a bit dry when you pull it out, add a touch more greek yogurt and a splash of milk.
Can I freeze Crab Pasta Salad?
I would not recommend freezing this recipe because it would be mushy when you thaw it out.
What type of pasta makes the best pasta salad?
I love little shells for this pasta salad but most types of short pasta are great for pasta salad including macaroni, rotini, farfalle, or even orecchiette.
What to Serve with Crab Pasta Salad:
- Healthier New England Style Shrimp Rolls
- Cajun Shrimp Burgers
- Grilled Lemon Shrimp Skewers
- Salmon with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce
- Three Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
More Healthy Pasta Salads to Love:
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Bruschetta Pasta Salad
- Tex Mex Pasta Salad
- Greek Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Kale Ceasar Pasta Salad
Crab Pasta Salad
For the pasta salad:
- 8 ounces pasta shells
- 8 ounces imitation crab meat, flaked
- ½ cup peas, cooked and cooled
- ½ cup celery, sliced
- ¼ cup green onion, sliced
For the dressing:
- ¾ cup greek yogurt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 teaspoon old bay
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons dill, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, crab meat, peas, celery and green onion
- In a small bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt, lemon, old bay, onion powder, garlic powder and dill. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture. Serve immediately or store in the fridge covered to serve later. Before serving garnish with additional dill.