Remoulade Is The Creamy Sauce That Will Seriously Upgrade Classic Pasta Salad

The dressing options for pasta salad go way beyond a basic vinaigrette, but depending on what ingredients you're using, they don't even have to include traditional dressings. If you're going with shrimp or any type of seafood as your protein, you may want to opt for remoulade. Originally a French sauce, remoulade has now made its way into Louisiana-style Cajun and Creole cooking as well. It's typically paired with fried foods, like pickles and green tomatoes, and seafood, like po boy sandwiches and fish sticks.

While there is a wide variety of remoulade sauces nowadays, a classic recipe includes quite a few ingredients, such as mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, capers, pickle juice, horseradish, and hot sauce. However, you may also see additions like lemon juice, Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and even cayenne pepper. It's an overall cold, creamy sauce, which makes it ideal for tossing into a pasta salad. All the extra flavors in the remoulade — especially the sauce's tanginess, brine, and spice — give this dish a major upgrade.

How to build a pasta salad with remoulade sauce

While shrimp and remoulade sauce are a match made in heaven in pasta salad, this isn't the only combo worth trying out. Other fishy options, like tuna, crab meat, imitation crab, and lobster would all be delicious with the creamy, tangy sauce. However, remoulade can also dress up practically any of your favorite proteins, including chicken, turkey, salmon, bacon, and eggs. And to pair your choice with the flavors in your salad dressing, cook it with some Cajun, Creole, or Old Bay seasoning.

If you're vegetarian or vegan, you can instead opt for plant-based proteins that will provide a mildly flavored backdrop for the zippy remoulade sauce, such as chickpeas, beans, and tofu. When deciding on your veggie options, take inspiration from your favorite macaroni salad, since it typically already comes with a creamy dressing. Bell pepper, celery, red onion, shallots, corn, green onion, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, capers, chopped pickles or relish, or carrots are all tasty additions. 

And when it comes to choosing your pasta, go for something bite-sized that can hold onto all that sauce. Macaroni, of course, would pair perfectly with your remoulade here, but fusilli and corkscrew noodles are also some of the best types for pasta salad. Once you toss all your ingredients with your remoulade, the sauce will seep perfectly into all those nooks and crannies.