Upgrade Your Macaroni Salad With Grilled Shrimp

You can easily find the comfort of familiarity in a bowl of creamy macaroni salad. Whenever the need for something reliable and wholesome arises, this foolproof dish is the one to make. Within its simplicity, however, lies endless potential for twists and changes. For those who want just a bit more — perhaps intensity, complexity, or intrigue — from this dish than its usual creamy goodness, adding grilled shrimp is the game-changing way to go.

Charred to a savory, smoky perfection on the grill, the shrimp bring an extraordinary depth that keeps your macaroni salad from being too one-dimensional. They're layered into the dish's sweet and tangy taste, all seamlessly intertwined into a harmonious flavor symphony. Depending on what you use to marinate the shrimp, the salad may also be laced with spicy, herby, peppery, or zesty hints. 

Small but mighty, these little nuances breathe new life into the dish, giving it an exciting twist without altering its familiar homey essence. And that's not all. With the additional grilled shrimp, the macaroni salad also gets a marvelous textural boost. The seafood is the perfect mix of meaty and soft with ever-so-slightly crispy charred edges. It's a standout against the tender, creamy backdrop, so each bite of your grilled shrimp macaroni salad is just as exhilarating as it is satisfying.

Adding flavorful grilled shrimp to your macaroni salad

Ideally, your grilled shrimp would come from the griller. Grilling, however, does require more effort than the average cooking method. If you're not in the mood to go outdoors and set up the grill, there are several different ways to recreate the barbecue taste indoors. You can use a cast iron griddle, the oven's broiler, or, if nothing else is available, a quick sear in the pan will also do the trick. 

For those who still want a hint of that smoky scent, consider using liquid smoke seasoning for a near-identical undertone. Since there's already a bit of grilling going on, it wouldn't be too far-fetched to incorporate some other BBQ staple condiments into the dressing to fully complete the flavor profile. You'll be amazed by what a few dollops of mustard, hot sauce, or BBQ sauce can do. This flavorful take on grilled shrimp would work well in our recipe for Hawaiian macaroni salad

Herbs and spices also play a crucial role in enhancing the dish. Sprinkle fresh chopped herbs like parsley, cilantro, or dill onto your shrimp to impart a subtle aroma, or use paprika, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, or garlic powder to take things up a notch. Even simpler, a squeeze of lime juice is more than enough to impart a zesty spark that makes the shrimp's flavor all the more stunning.