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Minnesota Cooking: Tangy Pasta Salad With Imitation Crab

Char lives in Minnesota, where she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and making yummy treats for her family.

The finished pasta salad.

The finished pasta salad.

Recipe Origination

The original recipe appeared in the late 1980s on the back of a box of Creamette ring noodles. A friend of mine said it was the most tried and true recipe there was.

It's colorful. It's got pasta. It can have crab, tuna, or chicken for its meat ingredient, and the sauce is fairly straightforward. Though the original recipe was a simple mix of Miracle Whip and seasoned salt, my husband likes it wetter and tangier, so I have learned to add lemon juice.


For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 1 package Italian dressing mix (dry)
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Fiesta Ranch (dry)
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Classic Pasta Salad seasoning packet

For the salad:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package chopped imitation crab
  • 8 ounces thawed frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped Vidalia onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • whatever else is sitting around


You mix up the sauce, boil the noodles, and mix the sauce in with the noodles.

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  1. Assemble all your ingredients.
  2. Boil your noodles and cool.
  3. Mix your sauce ingredients in a large bowl, then start adding your hard ingredients.
  4. Keep tossing your ingredients around in the sauce until all things are coated evenly.
  5. Then eat it.
Some of the ingredients.

Some of the ingredients.

Miracle Whip, ranch, and lemon for the sauce.

Miracle Whip, ranch, and lemon for the sauce.

More ingredients for the sauce and salad.

More ingredients for the sauce and salad.

A Color-Coordinated Salad

This dish is color-coordinated. When I use the rotini pasta with vegetables, those noodles match the olive centers, peas, and carrots. If I use bell peppers, sometimes I use red, yellow, and orange. Those orange bell peppers match my carrots.

I do not use green bell peppers because I do not like the bitter flavor at all. Ugh.

This Dish Contains Meat

. . . if you can call crab a meat, that is. I guess, since I use the imitation crab, it is fish—since I believe the fish used is pollock.

If I use a can or two of chicken, the meat is poultry. If I use two cans of tuna, then I'm back to fish, aren't I?

I suppose you could chop up some other type of meat to add to it, but the last time I made it with pepperoni slices and black olives, I had no takers. Apparently, the Mediterranean version is not as popular. Go figure.

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