Today’s recipe submission comes from designer and illustrator Mia Adams, who created this crowd-pleasing dish for a cookout earlier this year.  We tried this recipe at home and really enjoyed the burst of bright flavors from tangy balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and basil.  Definitely not your average pasta salad.  It was even good for lunch the next day!

In addition to Mia’s original recipe, I also tried a version without mayonnaise and liked it just as well.  Simply increase the proportion of dressing, to make up for the lack of mayonnaise.  The recipe as written makes a huge batch, so if you’re cooking for your just your family, cut the recipe in half.

This recipe is sure to be a hit at your next picnic or potluck!

Wona: It’s always nice to meet a fellow TJ fan. What do you like best about cooking with TraderJoe’s products?  Any favorite items you’d like to share?

Mia: I find that Trader Joe’s products offer a better quality than your standard grocer, as well as things that are not-so-typical. I have never gone wrong with a “Trader Joe’s Experiment” yet, and I really enjoy the variety TJ’s offers me to come up with new recipes. Also, the prices are always fair – and in comparison to other Specialty Grocers, like Whole Foods, for example – TJ’s lets me stay within my budget (and my 5-year-old daughter enjoys shopping there more than I do, I think! – she especially loves tasting samples! She has quite a gourmet palate!). As for favorites- there are way too many to list them all, but TJ’s Tuscan Style Salad Dressing is definitely one of them!

Wona: My kids love shopping there too. They love the kids’ size shopping carts they can push themselves. How would you describe your style of cooking?

Mia: “Opportunistic” 

Wona: That sounds like me too! What do you do in your spare time when you’re not cooking?

Mia: I take day trips to ‘wherever’ with my daughter, watch movies, scrapbooking, do crafts projects…whatever we’re in the mood for.

Wona: Sounds like a great balance. And now onto the feature recipe…How did you come up with the idea for the Shrimp & Rotini Salad you’re sharing with us today?

Mia: I really love pasta salad, and I am always experimenting with new ways to make it more “exotic” – considering how hot it’s been, I wanted to make a cool treat as my contribution to a cookout I had made this for. It tastes DEEE-LISH-USSS!!

Shrimp & Rotini Salad Recipe

by Mia Adams


  • 18 oz tri-color rotini
  • 2 lbs shrimp, cooked and peeled
  • 7-8 diced scallions
  • 2 cups broccoli, cooked and cut small
  • 1 large Persian cucumber, cut into small wedges
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 (8 oz) bottle Trader Joe’s Tuscan Style Salad Dressing


  1. Cook pasta ‘al dente’ with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.  Rinse, cool in drainer with ice cubes and let them melt.  Set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Combine shrimp, broccoli, cucumber, and green onion in a medium bowl.
  3. In a small bowl,stir together mayonnaise, salad dressing, lemon juice, lemon rind, basil, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over shrimp & veggies, stirring gently to combine. Add to cooled pasta, and blend/toss gently.
  4. Top with tomato wedges and fresh basil as a garnish. Refrigerate before serving.


This makes a very large batch for a big crowd!