Mexican Shrimp Salad
A refreshing salad for the hot summer days! This is spicy Mexican shrimp salad loaded with minced onions, herby cilantro, ripe tomatoes, and of course, deliciously seasoned shrimp!
Boy, this week has been a hot one!
You know, every year I forgot how terribly hot it can get in Houston during the summertime. I mean, I’ve lived in Houston most of my life now, yet with the ultra pleasant weather between November and April, one honestly doesn’t want to remember how brutal Texas summers can be.
So in times like this, I want something refreshing to eat and that’s what this Mexican Shrimp Salad is! The shrimp are tender and sautéed in a bit of butter, seasonings, and have a little kick of heat. The rest of the meal is bright and refreshing. Buttery avocados, ripe tomatoes, herby cilantro, and a hint of red onions round off this one of a kind summer salad. To tell you the truth, the dressing kind of makes this taste a little like guacamole and the sweet heat of the shrimp just balances out these flavors and they work together perfectly!
One other thing that makes this salad a weekly affair for us: the fact that it doesn’t take much time to prepare. And speaking of time, we’ve got some big changes happening around here, so there is a lot going on (will explain more soon,) so time is the most precious commodity at the moment.
I mean, if I can spare 20 minutes to prepare a well balanced dinner, I consider the entire day a win.
I have a very important question to ask you. Have you tried my shrimp cocktail stuffed avocados? Well, this Mexican shrimp salad is a spin-off of that. It’s a little different as we’re actually cooking the shrimp in seasonings, whereas my stuffed avocados have more of a ceviche vibe (not actually raw shrimp though, because that freaks me out.)
Shrimp dinners, in general, are some of my favorite to make! Avocado shrimp salad with citrus miso dressing is another family favorite. And if you’re into garlic and shrimp, then the Hawaiian shrimp scampi is a MUST. Like, you haven’t even lived until you’ve had Hawaiian-style shrimp scampi. No joke.
What do you need to make the sauteed shrimp for Mexican shrimp salad?
- lemon zest
- seasonings (garlic powder, sugar, red pepper flakes)
- hot sauce (such as Mexican hot sauce, sriracha, etc.)
What other ingredients go in the salad portion of Mexican shrimp salad?
- minced onions
- finely chopped cilantro
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- seasonings ( cumin + cayenne + salt + pepper)
- minced jalapeno
Why do you call for mincing certain ingredients for this Mexican shrimp salad?
Here’s the thing. What makes this Mexican shrimp avocado salad so delicious is the technique. You’ll notice that we’re mincing the onions, jalapenos, and chopping the cilantro extra fine. When you do this, the little bits of spicy jalapeno with the robust red onion and herby cilantro latch on to avocados, tomatoes, and shrimp, giving this salad that perfect blend of flavor in every bite! It would be very different if you were to leave the onions and jalapenos in larger pieces as you would get much large hits of onion and jalapeno. Trust me, mincing them makes a huge difference!
How to make the sauteed shrimp for Mexican shrimp salad:
- Toss seasonings, lemon zest, and hot sauce in a bowl. Stir together and then add the shrimp.
- Allow the shrimp marinate for about 5-10 minutes. Or if you have some time, cover and allow to marinate for 3-4 hours in the refrigerator.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and allow them to cook until they curl into a ‘c’ shape, roughly 1 minute in total, turning about halfway through the cooking time.
- Allow the shrimp to cook for a few minutes before adding it to the salad.
I’m worried my shrimp salad is going to be too spicy, how can I make it milder?
You can make my Mexican shrimp salad a little milder by:
- Omitting the red pepper flakes in the shrimp portion of the recipe
- You can use a Louisiana style hot sauce instead of the Mexican style I suggest as it is a little milder. Sriracha will certainly make this spicier, so if that’s what you use, I suggest cutting back to about 1 -2 teaspoons instead of the full tablespoon.
- Use less of the minced jalapeño in the salad or leave it out completely
- Use less of the cayenne pepper or just omit it from the recipe
Have you got 15 minutes? Mexican Shrimp salad for dinner this week? It’s so happening.
Mexican Shrimp Salad
A refreshing salad for the hot summer days! This is spicy Mexican shrimp salad loaded with minced onions, herby cilantro, ripe tomatoes, and of course, a deliciously seasoned shrimp!
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon EACH: garlic powder AND sugar
- 1 tablespoon Mexican hot sauce (sriracha or Louisiana works too will work too but use less for less heat!)
- ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
dressing + salad:
- 3 tablespoons EACH: lemon juice AND olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin + pinch of cayenne pepper (⅛ - ¼ deepening on what you can handle)
- salt and pepper
- 2 large Hass avocados, diced
- 1 (8-ounce) container cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 red onion, minced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed and finely minced
- SHRIMP: Add the lemon zest, garlic powder, sugar, hot sauce, and red pepper flakes to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the shrimp and stir so that they are evenly coated in the marinade. Allow the shrimp to marinate at room temperature for 5-10 minutes or if you have time, cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. If you are going for the 10-minute option, you could chop the veggies while the shrimp marinates.
- SAUTE: When ready to cook, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the shrimp and allow them to cook for roughly 1 minute, flipping it halfway through until they form into a ‘c’ shape. Remove from heat and set aside.
- DRESSING: Add the lemon juice, olive oil, ground cumin, and a ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne with a big pinch of salt and pepper to a mason jar. Screw on the cap and give it a few good shakes until the dressing combines. Taste and adjust with additional salt, pepper, cayenne or cumin as desired.
- SALAD: Add the avocados, tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, and jalapeños to a large bowl, along with the cooked shrimp. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss to combine. Taste and adjust with additional seasonings as desired.
- Be sure to chop the red onions, jalapenos, and the cilantro finely! That's what makes this salad! The little bits of spicy jalapeno with the robust red onion stuck on the avocados and shrimp give this salad that perfect flavor! It'll be very different if you were to leave the onions and jalapenos in larger pieces!
Wow! This is absolutely packed with flavor in every bite. I Love the spice level, and although as a fellow Texan, I tend to lean toward the spicier side, it is really easy to adjust at each step to moderate it some if you are “a bit more spice timid”. The minced onion, pepper, cilantro is key to carrying the flavors throughout. This is going to be a summer favorite for sure. I substituted flat leaf parsley for the cilantro and it was great that way too.
So happy to hear you enjoyed it , Julie!
Hi there! I had fun cruising around your website/blog. Your recipe for Mexican Shrimp Salad caught my eye. We have a Farmers’ Market daily just a couple blocks from the condo, so I was able to get all the veggies there and got the fresh cilantro from our herb garden down behind the condo. Our friendly butcher at the grocery store just down the street was able to supply the deveined shrimp.. It all went together easily and it was delicious. Thanks for sharing!
Yum! I’m sure it was extra delicious with such fresh ingredients! ?
I made this for an outdoor barbecue and it was a big hit. I doubled the recipe using 2 lbs. of frozen shrimp – peeled, deveined & tails off. I chopped, minced all the ingredients the night before so that it only had to be assembled the day of the party. One mistake I made was to cook all the shrimp at once in a big wok. I should have cooked them in 2-3 stages as it was hard to control even cooking for all of them at once. Another mistake was to use lite olive oil vegetable spread instead of butter. It became watery which took away from the sauteing process and simmered them instead. I later read the container’s ingredients and saw that the first ingredient is water.
Lessons learned for next time, but it was still a big hit. This is now one of my go-to party dishes.
I’m so glad to hear it was a hit! Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂
I made this last night after searching for a Mexican shrimp salad (I had bought tons of shrimp and avocado and was looking for ways to use it up!). This was really delicious and very easy. I fried strips of corn tortillas for a crunchy topping and also added some cilantro lime crema. Thanks for the recipe!
Your additions sound delicious, Katie! Not much better than homemade fried tortilla strips! 🙂
Do you think excluding the sugar would make a huge difference? I’ve been doing low carb. I have a number of alternatives if you think the sweetness is something that shouldn’t be skipped
Hi Christi! You can omit it from the recipe if you’d like. I add the sugar because it helps caramelize the shrimp a bit when you cook them and gives them a little more color and texture!
Made this last night. It was delicious. I used 1/4 lb more shrimp though. My guest and hub loved it too.
Great recipe – prep is quick and it’s quite delish! Since I always keep good uncooked frozen shrimp on hand, I had almost everything I needed without a special shopping trip. I didn’t have avocados on hand so I substituted cucumber – a clean, crisp balance with the spicier ingredients. I didn’t have a jalapeno so substituted a red pepper. Served it over chopped romaine. All the great color makes for a lovely presentation. And it’s a great make-ahead recipe – for a party or family meal. Thanks – I will definitely make this again!
Can you use cooked. Frozen shrimp
How would I change this up if I were to use already boiled shrimp?
Very refreshing. I left out some of the hot spice so it wasn’t as flavorful. Next time I’ll add more in.