In this shrimp salad recipe, poached shrimp are mixed with a zippy, creamy, lemony dressing, and then tossed with fresh avocado, parsley, and green onions. Rich and refreshing all at the same time! 

Three quarter short of shrimp salad on a romaine-lined serving platter with lemon wedges on the side.
Photo Credits: Kathrine Irwin

With its seasonally flexible ingredient list, you can easily make this shrimp salad recipe year-round. But to me it screams a hot summer afternoon, where you stick a bottle of white wine or rosé in an ice bucket and head out to your backyard, fire escape, the park down the street—whatever you’re working with—and pass around fresh lemony things to share.

The trick to lightening an otherwise rather classic creamy shrimp salad is plenty of lemon zest, juice, and herbs. This simple recipe combines a Caesar Salad-inspired dressing with a whole lemon’s worth of juice, zest, and extra lemon for squeezing.

I added green onions to bridge the sweet and savory gap without overpowering the flavor, and avocado just because I think avocado and shrimp should get together more often!

It’s delicious at room temperature but even better chilled, so you can make it a day ahead and have an easy lunch, dinner, or appetizer at the ready. And it’s versatile: use prawns, leave the tail on, swap in your favorite herbs, serve in lettuce cups or on toast. And, sure, make it in winter too. 

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients and Substitutions
    1. For the Shrimp Salad
    2. For the Dressing
  2. Ingredient Spotlight
  3. How to Make this Shrimp Salad Recipe
  4. Ways to Mix it Up
  5. What to Serve with Shrimp Salad 
  6. More Shrimp Recipes
  7. Shrimp Salad Recipe
Ingredients for shrimp salad, including shrimp, celery, paprika, worcestershire, parsley, romaine, lemon, egg, salt, pepper, dijon, capers, garlic, olive oil, and avocado.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Herbs and veggies add freshness to this shrimp salad recipe, while pantry ingredients like capers and Dijon add depth of flavor to the dressing. You'll need:

For the Shrimp Salad

  • Shrimp: Look for large shrimp–frozen is perfectly fine, just be sure to thaw it before cooking. Prawns work well too.
  • Celery: Adds a refreshing crunch. Persian or English cucumber would bring a similar quality.
  • Green onions bring that sweet and savory flavor without dominating the salad, but feel free to swap in shallot, chives, or red onion which are also rather mild. 
  • Chopped parsley adds a refreshing, peppery note. I would not substitute with dried herbs, as they lack the lifting quality of fresh and would overpower the flavor. Fresh tarragon, dill, or a combination would also work well here.
  • Avocado brings a creamy richness without weighing the salad down.
  • Romaine lettuce gives a great crunch for balance, but little gems, butter lettuce, or arugula would also work–or really any tender salad green you like. 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper enhance the flavor. 

For the Dressing

  • Fresh garlic adds depth to the dressing. 
  • Egg yolk enriches the dressing, giving its signature creaminess and body. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil makes up the bulk of the dressing. Be sure to use a high-quality extra virgin variety (more info below). 
  • Lemon is used throughout to add zing, lifting the richness. 
  • Dijon mustard adds a peppery kick. I prefer the flavor of a grainy or stone-ground variety. 
  • Capers add an extra punchy, briney element. Cornichons can work in their place.
  • Sweet paprika, which we carry at our spice shop, adds a subtle bright, and peppery flavor. I wouldn’t substitute with smoked as it’ll be too dominant, but if you like spice a pinch of cayenne works well too. 
  • Worcestershire sauce is optional but adds a deeply savory flavor to the dressing. You can leave it out or substitute ground anchovies if you’d like. 
Overhead shot of two plates of shrimp salad.

Ingredient Spotlight

The dressing for this shrimp salad is essentially a lemony aioli, which typically uses at least some neutral oil. I like the richness and flavor of an olive oil aioli, but you could certainly go half and half with something like sunflower or avocado oil.

Either way, a nice extra virgin olive oil is essential, as its flavor gets pretty loud once you whisk it into the egg yolk. I like a smooth and light olive oil for this recipe, like our Italian Nocellara or California Arbequina. But you can use any olive oil you have, so long as you enjoy the flavor. 

Close up shot of shrimp salad, showing the creamy dressing and parsley garnish.

How to Make this Shrimp Salad Recipe

Shrimp takes just 2 minutes or so to cook, and you can use pre-peeled and deveined shrimp to save time. You also don’t have to devein them, it’s just a personal preference. The one thing you can’t speed up is the dressing: incorporate the oil very slowly, whisking constantly so the sauce doesn’t break. 

  • Get ready. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Line a sheet tray with paper towels. 
  • Poach the shrimp. Once boiling, season the water generously with salt and turn the heat to medium. Add the shrimp and simmer until they turn opaque about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the prepared sheet tray and spread them in one layer so they get nice and dry. shrimp drying on a paper towel-lined sheet tray.
  • While the shrimp dry and cool, get ready to make the dressing. Make a nest for your mixing bowl by holding two opposite corners of a kitchen towel and spinning (like you’re going to ring it out). Connect the two ends to make a circle and set on your counter, then set a small, narrow mixing bowl in the middle. This will prevent the bowl from sliding as both of your hands are busy whisking and pouring. Add 1 grated garlic clove and 1 egg yolk to the bowl and whisk to combine. egg yolk and garlic in a mixing bowl.
  • Make the dressing. As you whisk, very slowly incorporate the olive oil. Start with one drop at a time and whisk to incorporate, then another drop, then a drizzle. Add in small drizzles until you’ve emulsified ½ cup of olive oil, adding a pinch of salt halfway through (about ¼ teaspoon). The sauce should be thick and pale yellow.  egg yolk in a mixing bowl after the oil has been incorporated, showing the thick texture and lighter yellow color.
  • Season the dressing. Zest in one lemon, then slice it in half, squeeze in half the juice, and whisk to combine. Mix in 1 tablespoon chopped capers, 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard, 1 pinch paprika, and ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (if using). Taste and add more lemon juice and/or salt if you’d like. shrimp salad dressing in a glass mixing bowl after the dijon and lemon juice have been whisked in.
  • Mix the salad. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels one more time and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add 1 chopped celery rub, 2 thinly sliced green onions, and ½ cup chopped parsley. Toss to combine. Mix in the dressing to taste. glass bowl with dressing, shrimp, celery, and green onions before being mixed.
  • Chill. Put in your fridge for 20 minutes or so to chill. shrimp salad after being dressed.
  • Finish. Slice an avocado in half, remove the pit, then cut the flesh into large cubes, about the same size as the cooked shrimp. Very gently fold the avocado into the shrimp salad. avocado being added to shrimp salad.
  • Serve. Line a serving platter with torn romaine lettuce and squeeze on half of a lemon. Top with the shrimp salad and finish with freshly grated black pepper and more parsley. Slice any remaining lemon into wedges and place along the platter for everyone to help themselves.
Overhead shot of shrimp salad on a romaine-lined serving platter with lemon wedges on the side.

Ways to Mix it Up

The dressing and ingredients in this recipe are pretty friendly–you can tweak things here and there to your liking. Some ideas:

  • For an eggless version: Steal Suzy’s Greek yogurt dressing from her Salmon Salad, which is a bit tangier but will be light and refreshing.  
  • For an appetizer: Serve in lettuce cups or on top of crostini. If you’re serving on top of bread, you may want to chop the shrimp to make it easier to eat. 
  • Add a peppery note: I absolutely love this salad with a touch of freshly grated horseradish root.
  • If you have Garlic Aioli in your fridge, skip the dressing steps and whisk ⅓ cup of aioli with the zest and juice from 1 lemon. It will be a bit more garlicky, but you might prefer it that way.
  • Add seasonal veggies, like blanched green beans, snap peas, and radishes.
Overhead shot of a serving of shrimp salad on a plate with a lemon wedge on the side.

What to Serve with Shrimp Salad 

With protein from the shrimp and plenty of richness from the avocado, this salad is a full lunch or dinner all by itself, particularly for 2 people. But add a few mezzes and sides and you have a lovely spread for a hot summer day. Dolmas, Grilled Vegetables, and a chilled green soup like our Asparagus Soup all come to mind.

More Shrimp Recipes

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5 from 1 vote

Shrimp Salad

Headshot of Devin Fuller by photographer Aya Brackett. She's waring a white shirt and teal skirt and she has blond shoulder-length hair.Devin Fuller
Three quarter short of shrimp salad on a romaine-lined serving platter with lemon wedges on the side.
An extra lemony dressing and plenty of fresh herbs make all the difference in this creamy shrimp salad, lightening things just enough for the warm weather. If you'd like to get ahead, cover and store the salad in your fridge overnight, adding the avocado and dressing the lettuce just before serving.
Prep – 20 minutes
Cook – 2 minutes
Chilling time 20 minutes
Total – 42 minutes
Cuisine:
American/Mediterranean
Serves – 6 people, as a side
Course:
Entree or Side Dish

Ingredients
  

For the Shrimp Salad

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 celery rib finely chopped
  • 2 green onions trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • ½ cup chopped parsley leaves and tender stems
  • 1 head romaine lettuce cut into large pieces, rinsed, and dried in a salad spinner
  • Freshly grated black pepper

For the Dressing

  • 1 small garlic clove finely grated or minced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon grainy/coarse ground Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped capers
  • Pinch paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce optional

Instructions
 

  • Get ready. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Line a sheet tray with paper towels.
  • Poach the shrimp. Once boiling, season the water generously with salt and turn the heat to medium. Add the shrimp and simmer until they turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the prepared sheet tray and spread in one layer so they get nice and dry.
  • Make the dressing. Add the garlic and egg yolk to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. As you whisk, very slowly incorporate the olive oil. Start with one drop at a time and whisk to incorporate, then another drop, then a drizzle. Add in small drizzles until you’ve emulsified all of the oil, adding a pinch of salt half way through (about ¼ teaspoon). The sauce should be thick and pale yellow (see note).
  • Season the dressing. Zest in one lemon, then slice it in half, squeeze in half the juice, and whisk to combine. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or salt if you’d like. Mix in the capers, Dijon mustard, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce (if using).
  • Mix the salad. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels one more time and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the celery and green onions and toss to combine. Mix in the dressing to taste (I use all of it).
  • Chill. Put in your fridge for 20 minutes or so to chill, or up to overnight.
  • Finish. Slice an avocado in half, remove the pit, then cut the flesh into large cubes, about the same size as the cooked shrimp. Very gently fold the avocado into the shrimp salad.
  • Serve. Line a serving platter with the romaine lettuce and squeeze on half of a lemon. Top with the shrimp salad and finish with freshly grated black pepper and more parsley. Slice any remaining lemon into wedges and place along the platter for everyone to help themselves.

Notes

  • Shop this recipe: Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including the olive oil and paprika used in this recipe.
  • You can use thawed frozen shrimp or prawns for this recipe.
  • If you'd like to serve on crostini instead of lettuce, coarsely chop the shrimp after boiling.
  • If you have Garlic Aioli in your fridge, skip all the dressing steps and whisk ⅓ cup with the zest and juice from 1 lemon. (Will be more garlicky.)

Nutrition

Calories: 293.4kcalCarbohydrates: 8.3gProtein: 12.3gFat: 24.8gSaturated Fat: 3.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2.8gMonounsaturated Fat: 16.9gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 127.7mgSodium: 508.1mgPotassium: 363.3mgFiber: 3.8gSugar: 1.4gVitamin A: 1110.8IUVitamin C: 30.3mgCalcium: 73.4mgIron: 1.3mg
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Devin Fuller is a San Francisco Bay Area native who started her culinary career begging for kitchen shifts at a Hawaiian plate lunch chain in college. She is the associate editor of The Mediterranean Dish, has contributed to Bon Appétit Magazine, and is the co-author of At Home in the Kitchen, Simple Recipes from a Chef’s Night Off with Chef David Kinch.
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Comments

  1. Michael says:

    5 stars
    Yesterday was hot and muggy and I did not feel like dealing with a hot kitchen for dinner. Shrimp salad is perfect for those days. I made a few tweaks for ease and what I had on hand.

    1. I used fresh dill instead of parsley.
    2. Arugala instead of Romaine
    3. I made the mayo using an immersion blender which is faster and easier.

    The salad was delicious. I served it with a piece of pita and a cold beer. I recommend you follow the 20-Minutes chilling directions. It makes a difference.

    A+

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your process here, Michael!