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Light and Lemony Chilled Shrimp Salad

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A cool, fresh-tasting shrimp salad, featuring tender cooked shrimp in a lightened-up dressing made with a thick, creamy blend of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise. It can be assembled in minutes, seasoned with chopped fresh herbs, finely chopped celery, and plenty of lemon zest.

A platter of shrimp salad with layers of butter lettuce, shrimp, herbs and lemon slices.

One of my favorite dinner salad recipes! For an easy, elegant presentation, serve this bright-tasting shrimp salad on a platter with torn butter lettuce. Other ways to serve it: Piled into a soft bun or pita bread to make the best shrimp salad sandwich or as a topping to a grain bowl.

My recipe testing tips:

After multiple rounds of testing shrimp recipes, I found the optimal method for making the best-tasting shrimp salad that doesn’t become bland or watery.

  1. Combine the shrimp with the seasonings and olive oil BEFORE mixing with the dressing to ensure the shrimp soaks up the flavors. Otherwise, the seasonings don’t have a chance to “bloom” and become somewhat muted in the mayonnaise mixture.
  2. Lemon juice tends to thin out the dressing, so I add tons of lemon flavor by using fresh zest instead.
  3. Taking care to pat dry the salad components also helps to keep it from becoming soggy.

About the ingredients

Ingredients needed to prepare shrimp salad arranged on a surface, including cooked shrimp, scallions, fresh herbs, lemon, yogurt, and mayonnaise.
  • Shrimp: To make this salad in about 10 minutes flat, I use pre-cooked shrimp that are readily available at your fish counter or grocery store, either packaged frozen or thawed and ready-to-eat. Shrimp size: Although my go-to shrimp is usually extra-large or jumbo (especially when I cook sautéed shrimp), for shrimp salad I recommend large to medium-sized shrimp (about 31-50 a pound) because they’re easy to eat in one bite. If you’d rather cook your shrimp at home, check the notes in the recipe below.
  • Celery: Green celery is a classic ingredient in seafood salads. I chop it very finely so its distinctive herby flavor doesn’t overwhelm every bite of the salad.
  • Greek-style yogurt: The secret to the dressing is this thick, tangy yogurt, which is strained to remove excess liquid. Be sure to choose plain yogurt.
  • Mayonnaise: Use your favorite prepared mayo — or even better, make a batch of lemon aioli in a blender.
  • Scallions (green onions): These add color and a mild onion flavor to the salad. I slice the entire stalk, including both the green tops and white section, for the best color and taste. Red onion can be substituted.
  • Fresh herbs: Shrimp pairs beautifully with a variety of tender herbs. I like to use a mixture of 2-3 types, like parsley, cilantro, tarragon, dill or basil.
  • Lemon zest: After recipe testing, I found that lemon juice thins out the dressing and can make the salad watery. I opted for lemon zest to get all the flavor benefits!
  • Seasonings: Simple pantry seasonings are all you need: salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper.

How to prep and assemble shrimp salad

A platter of shrimp salad with layers of butter lettuce, shrimp, herbs and lemon slices.

Light and Lemony Chilled Shrimp Salad

Karen Tedesco
A cool, fresh-tasting shrimp salad, featuring tender cooked shrimp in a lightened-up dressing made with a thick and creamy blend of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise. It can be assembled in minutes, seasoned with chopped fresh herbs, finely chopped celery, and plenty of lemon zest. For an easy, elegant presentation, serve it on a platter with torn butter lettuce, or stuffed into a soft bun or pita bread to make the best shrimp salad sandwich.
Print Pin
5 from 1 community review
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Seafood
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) mayonnaise, or homemade aioli
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 pound (450 g) cooked large or medium shrimp, 31-40 or 41-50 per pound, patted dry with a clean towel
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced, or ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, basil, dill or a mixture of your favorites
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or ¼ teaspoon sea salt or table salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 4 cups butter lettuce leaves, torn into large pieces

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise and yogurt together until smooth and creamy.
  • Put the shrimp in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, onion, celery, herbs, lemon zest, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Stir until the shrimp are evenly mixed with the seasonings.
  • Add the yogurt-mayo to the bowl and gently fold into the shrimp until they're coated. Chill in the refrigerator 15-30 minutes, if desired.
  • When you're ready to serve, line a platter with half of the butter lettuce. Spoon half of the salad over the lettuce. Arrange the remaining lettuce over the shrimp, then top with the remaining shrimp. Enjoy.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • This salad tastes best served the day it’s made. To prep ahead, the shrimp can be combined with the seasonings and stored in the refrigerator up to one day ahead. Fold in the yogurt-mayo and assemble the salad with the lettuce just before serving.
  • Tip: To prevent a soggy, watery salad, be sure to pat the shrimp, celery, and herbs dry before combining the salad.
  • Defrosting frozen shrimp: Thaw the shrimp overnight in the refrigerator (it helps to put the package on a plate to catch any leaking water). If you’re short on time, you can remove the shrimp from its packaging and immerse them in a bowl of cold water for 15-20 minutes.
  • To cook shrimp from scratch: Boil shell-on shrimp in water for 1-2 minutes, or just until they turn pink and opaque.  Transfer them to an ice bath to prevent them from overcooking, which will make them tough and dry. Peel and devein and refrigerate for up to one day.

Nutrition

Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 596mg | Potassium: 746mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 8368IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 170mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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