For Keisha Rucker, owner of the Soul Shack in Hyde Park, Juneteenth — the June 19 holiday marking when the last enslaved African Americans learned of their emancipation — is all about friends, family, and food. She’s partial to celebrating with Texas-style barbecue, but because the traditional lineup of meats and sides can sit heavy, she mixes up the menu with this party-perfect pasta salad that comes together in minutes. As Rucker notes, it’s a “cool, light, and refreshing” counterpoint to heartier fare, but the tender lobster (crab works, too) that punctuates each bite lends just enough decadence to make it worthy of the occasion.

Keisha Rucker’s Lobster Pasta Salad

Makes:7 servings
Active time:5 minutes
Total time:1 hour 15 minutes

1 lb.Rotini
4 cupsChopped broccoli florets
4 cupsCherry or grape tomatoes
1⅓ cupsChopped lobster or crab chunks (or imitation lobster or crab meat)
1¾ cupsItalian dressing (like Wishbone brand)
 Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp.Chopped fresh herbs (like flat-leaf parsley and thyme), optional

1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Stir in pasta. After 6 minutes, add broccoli and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and broccoli is crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes longer.

2. Drain pasta and broccoli in a colander. Immediately rinse thoroughly under cold running water to prevent further cooking, then toss a few times to remove excess water.

3. Transfer pasta and broccoli to a large bowl. Add tomatoes, lobster or crab, and dressing and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.

4. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs just before serving.