Nothing beats shrimp in the summer! Our Cajun Shrimp Salad recipe is full of spicy flavours and makes an ideal light meal during the hot summer months. It is just sooo delicious they won’t be able to tell how quick and easy it is to make!
Our Cajun Shrimp Salad looks amazing, is refreshing and full of flavour. The shrimp is cooked to perfection, with a nice kick of heat, and the avocado and cherry tomatoes add a creamy and juicy element. The soft lettuce provides a great backdrop for the other ingredients, and the Cajun vinaigrette ties it all together.
If you're craving more summer salads, be sure to try some of our other Shrimp Salads, like our Cold Shrimp Salad or our terrific Thai Prawn Salad.
What Is Cajun Cuisine?
Cajun cookin' got its start when descendants of French Catholic colonists and Acadians had to flee to New Orleans after getting kicked out by the British from Canada.
With its roots in French country cooking, it's comfort food at its finest, made with the kind of ingredients you'd find in swamps. Cajun food is full of complex flavours, often spicy but not always too hot.
Can I Use Frozen Shrimp?
Absolutely! In fact, I always keep a pack or two of frozen prawns in the freezer for last-minute meal prep.
Frozen shrimp/prawns are also a great option if you are a bit squirmish about handling raw shrimp or just way too busy to fuss around with peeling them 🙂.
To Prepare Frozen Shrimp / Prawns
- The overnight method - defrost them the day before in the fridge in a colander with a medium bowl underneath to capture the water. Rinse under cold water, then drain and dry well before cooking.
- The oopsy I forgot about the prawns' method - place in a colander in the stink under cold running water and turn them occasionally to make sure that they are evenly defrosted. Make sure you drain them and dry them well before cooking.
You Will Need...
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Shrimp/prawn - we have used medium fresh shrimp here; you may also use large shrimp if you prefer. If you are on a budget, try chicken instead; cut it into strips or cubes first, then marinate.
- Cajun blend - used to add some bold, spicy flavour to the shrimp/prawns. Swap for some cayenne pepper, a creole blend or some paprika; the smoked kind works well.
- Lettuce - use any salad greens that take your fancy, fancy lettuce, cos or romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula/rocket, or massaged kale.
- Tomatoes - no need to use cherry tomatoes; pick your favourite tomato variety and cut them up into bite-sized pieces instead.
- Avocados - not a fan of this superfood, then replace it with some nuts instead; try almonds, cashews, or macadamias are all great in this salad. If you have a nut allergy, then try some cooked edamame instead.
- Green onions - or scallions added for their somewhat spicy, peppery flavour; you can use some diced red onion if you like.
- Salad dressing - this is an easy dressing made up of olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and a Cajun blend. If you prefer a creamier dressing, try our creamy Cajun dressing or our cilantro lime vinaigrette for some zingy flavour.
It looks delicious, and tastes scrumptious, just as it is, but feel free to mix it up and make our Cajun Shrimp Salad recipe your own. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
- Sliced bell peppers (capsicum) or some finely chopped celery for some added colour and crunch.
- Grilled corn for some sweetness.
- Refreshing cucumber rounds.
- Sliced chilli for added heat.
- A cooked grain such as quinoa, freekeh, or wild rice makes it more substantial.
- For added protein, add some crumbled feta or cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans.
- To give your dish a herby kick, toss in some chopped parsley, dill or cilantro.
How to Make It
Step 1 - Marinate the shrimp/prawns
Start by peeling and deveining your shrimp, then rinse them and pat them dry.
In a medium glass bowl, add the shrimp with one tablespoon of the oil, crushed garlic and Cajun spice. Season the shrimp and mix well to combine.
Keep in a cool place while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
It is important to keep them at room temperature and not cold, as they will cook better in your hot pan.
Placing cold seafood, meats or poultry in a hot pan hinders them from getting a good sear.
Step 2 - Prepare the salad ingredients.
Give your lettuce a good rinse in a colander with cold water. Toss out any leaves that are wilted or damaged and cut out the hard lettuce core.
Either pat or spin the leaves dry using a salad spinner, then shred.
Rinse your tomatoes, pat dry and then slice them in half.
Wash and trim your onions, then slice finely.
Rinse the avocado, take out the pit, and then cube it up. Squeeze a bit of lime or lemon juice on top to keep it from going brown.
Step 3 - Cook the shrimp / prawns
Place a non-stick pan on medium-high heat and add two tablespoons of oil; once heated, add the shrimp and sauté for a minute or two on each side or until their colour changes and they are just cooked through.
Turn off the heat and squeeze some lime or lemon juice on top.
💡 TOP TIP 💡
Cook shrimp in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan; otherwise, you will miss out on the slight char on the prawns and end up with boiled shrimp
(adding cold shrimp to a hot pan lowers the temperature in the pan).
Step 4 - Shake-up dressing.
Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a glass jar, season and shake well to emulsify. Or you could just add them to a small bowl and whisk them to combine.
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Step 5 - Assemble the Cajun Prawn Salad
Add all the chopped vegetables to a large bowl, season and pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine.
Add the cooked prawns with the pan juices and toss them through the salad.
Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Arrange in a salad bowl, sprinkle a generous pinch of Cajun seasoning on top to garnish.
Can I Make It Ahead of Time?
This salad is at its best when you eat it just after you make it. But here are some time-saving tips.
- Make the dressing a few days in advance and keep it in a sealed glass container in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before tossing it through your salad.
- Marinate the prawns and keep them in an air-tight container in the fridge. Make sure you take them out and bring them to room temperature before cooking.
- Prepare the vegetables (except the avocado) and keep them in an air-tight container in the fridge several hours ahead.
This Cajun Shrimp Salad is the perfect go-to when you need a quick and tasty dinner - or it makes an appetizer to impress at your next dinner party.
It's also a great salad as a meat-free option for barbecues and works great in a seafood spread with grilled fish, crab cakes, and steamed mussels.
And, of course, it's perfect for family gatherings - try serving it alongside some fish tacos or a fish pie. Yum!
People Also Ask
You can store the leftovers without the lettuce (it goes soggy and limp) in an airtight container in the fridge.
This salad is best eaten soon after making it; throw out the lettuce, and the rest of the salad will be fine to eat the next day.
It suits most eating styles Dairy-Free; Gluten-Free; Keto; Low Carb; Nut-Free; Paleo; and Whole30. For a vegan or vegetarian style salad, you could replace the prawns with some cauliflower florets instead.
Each of our serves contains approximately 452 calories and total net carbs of 7 grams.
(Please note we use a nutritional database to calculate the nutritional information, and should be considered as an estimate).
The combination of shrimp and fresh veggies tossed in a Cajun vinaigrette provides you with a range of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Shrimp is a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium. Avocado, tomatoes and lettuce are each great sources of dietary fibre, vitamin C, and carotenoids. The vinaigrette is a healthy source of unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these nutrient-rich ingredients make Cajun Shrimp Salad a great choice for a healthy meal.
Looking for Some More Great Fishy Salads to Try?
- 600 grams Shrimp/prawns, peeled and deveined (approximately 22 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons Cajun spice
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 150 grams lettuce (approximately 5.3 ounces)
- 400 grams cherry tomatoes (approximately 14 ounces)
- 1 medium avocado (approximately 250 grams /7 ounces)
- 2 green onions
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Cajun spice
- 1 clove finely minced garlic
- Peel and devein your shrimp then rinse and pat dry.
- Place in a glass container with one tablespoon of the oil, the crushed garlic and Cajun spice, season and mix well to combine.
- Keep in a cool place while you prepare the remaining ingredients. It is important to keep them at room temperature and not cold, as they will sear better in your hot pan.
- Placing cold seafood, meats or poultry in a hot pan hinders them from getting a good char and cooking well.
- Wash lettuce and remove any damaged or wilted leaves, cut out the hard lettuce core.
- Either pat or spin dry using a salad spinner, then shred.
- Rinse your tomatoes, pat dry and then slice in half.
- Wash and trim your onions then slice finely.
- Rinse, remove the pit from the avocado and then cut into chunks. Squeeze some lemon juice or lime juice on top to prevent it from browning.
- Place a non-stick frypan on high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil, once heated add the prawns and sauté for 1-2 minutes each side or until changed in colour and just cooked through.
- Turn off the heat and squeeze some lime jor lemon uice on top.
- Add all the vinaigrette ingredients in a glass jar, season and shake well to emulsify.
- Add all the chopped vegetables to a large bowl, season and pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine.
- Add the cooked prawns with the pan juices and toss them through the salad.
- Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
- Arrange in a salad bowl, sprinkle a generous pinch of Cajun spice on top to garnish. Serve immediately.
Cook your shrimp/prawns in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan otherwise, you will miss out on the slight char on the prawns and end up with boiled shrimp (adding cold shrimp to a hot pan lowers the temperature in the pan).
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