It’s just not a barbecue without pasta salad, and in the history of all pasta salads I have ever known, one stands supreme.  Packed with umami before anyone even knew what that was, it still looms large in my memories of every summer long, long ago, way, way back when, in the seventies.  We became close friends with a family who lived up the street, and we would spend much of those hot summer days going back and forth between the two houses.  Play dates would stretch into sleepovers, and it was pretty common that there would be someone from the other family always at one house or the other.  We swam together, camped together, played tennis, went fishing, and crammed all the kids in their big Suburban to watch movies at the drive in.  It was wonderful.  Sometimes, our moms would cook together to feed the horde of kids, but often it was one mom, feeding whoever happened to be hanging around at meal time.  This recipe is from their mom.  And it is fabulous.  It includes something you might not think of in a pasta salad:  soy sauce.

Now I make their mom’s pasta salad for my family, who love it every bit as much as we did all those years ago.  Give it a go for your Fourth.  It tastes even better after it’s had a chance to sit, so you can definitely make it ahead.  I tried making it with Banza chickpea pasta to make it gluten-free, and it was just as good as I remember it.  Cook your pasta until it’s still a bit firm so it won’t break apart in your salad.  You can use any kind of crabmeat – fresh or imitation, if you like.  Our friend says Miracle Whip is a must, but I tried Vegenaise in the gluten-free portion and it was still every bit as good.

Crab Pasta Salad

  • 1 – 12 ounce package shell pasta
  • 1  6 ounce can crabmeat, rinsed well
  • 1  4.25 ounce can chopped ripe olives
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1 small onion, finely diced, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/3 cup Miracle Whip or Vegenaise
  • soy sauce, or tamari, to serve along side

Boil pasta according to package directions, approximately 6 minutes, or until al dente.  Transfer to colander and drain well, rinsing with cold water to stop it from cooking.  Combine crabmeat, ripe olives, dill pickle, onion, garlic salt and Miracle Whip in a large bowl.  Add pasta and gently stir to coat.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more garlic salt, onion, pickle or Miracle Whip if desired.  Cover and transfer to refrigerator to chill.  Serve with soy sauce or tamari.

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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