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This Lettuce and Shrimp Salad is a delightful mix of sweet and tangy grapefruit, salty chewy shrimp, and the creamy richness of avocado. A perfect sensory harmony. A simple dressing of oil and vinegar is all it takes to make these flavors sing in your mouth. Despite its elegant appearance, it’s quick to assemble, making it a perfect choice for a healthy appetizer or a light lunch.
- Baby lettuce or mixed greens: The foundation of our salad, these leafy greens are loaded with vitamins A and C, perfect for boosting your immune system.
- Shrimp: Adding protein to our salad, shrimp is low in fat and a great source of selenium.
- Grapefruit: This zesty citrus fruit is a vitamin C powerhouse, adding a refreshing tanginess to our salad.
- Avocado: Creamy and rich, avocados provide healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber.
- White balsamic vinegar: Adds a slightly sweet and tangy kick, and unlike regular balsamic vinegar, it will not turn your dressing brown.
- Lemon flavored extra virgin olive oil: Rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, with an added citrus note.
- Himalayan pink salt (or another “finishing salt”): A premium salt such as Himalayan pink salt, fleur de sel or Maldon salt not only enhances the flavor of a simple salad but also adds trace minerals.
- Fresh ground black pepper: A sprinkle of this spice boosts nutrient absorption and adds a hint of warmth.
How to Make this Healthy Lettuce and Shrimp Salad
(See full recipe below)
- Start by boiling your shrimp and letting them cool in an ice bath.
- Supreme your grapefruit and slice your avocado.
- Toss your salad greens in olive oil; this will create a barrier that helps prevent the leaves from getting soggy when you add the vinegar.
- Plate your salad, topping it with shrimp.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and remaining olive oil, then finish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
How to Boil Shrimp
Boiling shrimp is a simple process that can be done with both fresh and frozen shrimp, regardless of size, and with the shell on or off depending on your preference.
If you’re using frozen shrimp, start by thawing them properly. This can be done by placing the shrimp in a colander and running cold water over them for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the frozen shrimp in a leak-proof plastic bag, submerge it in a large bowl of cold tap water. The shrimp should be under water completely. Depending on the size of the shrimp, it will usually take about 20 to 40 minutes to thaw using this method. Remember, once the shrimp has been defrosted, it should be cooked right away. If you’re not cooking the shrimp immediately after thawing, store them in the refrigerator and cook within two days. Never refreeze thawed shrimp.
For fresh shrimp, simply clean and rinse them under cold water. If you prefer to peel your shrimp before cooking, do so at this stage but leave the tail on for aesthetic purposes.
Now it’s time to boil the shrimp. Fill a pot with enough water to completely cover the shrimp, add salt to taste, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink, which usually takes about 2-3 minutes for medium-sized shrimp. For larger shrimp, cooking time may take up to 5 minutes.
Remember, whether you’re using fresh or frozen, peeled or unpeeled, the key to perfectly boiled shrimp is not to overcook them as this can make them tough and rubbery.
After cooking, immediately transfer the shrimp into a bowl filled with ice cubes. This rapid cooling halts the cooking, guaranteeing that your shrimp remain juicy and tender. Give them a quick pat dry with a towel prior to incorporating them into your Lettuce and Shrimp Salad.
How to Supreme a Grapefruit
This is a technique to remove the fruit segments without the pith or membrane. Check out this video for a step-by-step guide.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
You can easily customize this recipe!
- Try using crawfish instead of shrimp or an orange instead of grapefruit.
- Any vinegar of your choice can replace the white balsamic, and plain olive oil works just as well.
- Consider adding shallots for an extra flavor punch or cucumber for an extra crunch.
- A handful or peppery arugula or watercress can replace the lettuce.
- Flavor your shrimp cooking water with spices if you’d like an extra kick.
You can prepare the shrimp and grapefruit in advance. Only slice the avocado right before serving, or it will turn brown.
For convenience, you can opt for store-bought pre-cooked shrimp.
This salad serves four as an appetizer or two as a main course.
It’s recommended to consume this Lettuce and Shrimp Salad immediately after preparation, as the avocado may discolor and the salad may lose its freshness if stored. However, you can prep the shrimp and grapefruit up to two days in advance to save time.
1. Is it necessary to salt the shrimp?
Salting the water before boiling shrimp is not strictly necessary, but will enhance the flavor of the shrimp. The salt in the water seeps into the shrimp during cooking, giving them a tastier and more seafood-like flavor. However, if you’re watching your sodium intake or if you prefer your shrimp less salty, you can certainly boil them without adding salt to the water. It’s all about personal preference!
2. What is a good spice to add to the water for a spicy shrimp
If you’re looking to give your shrimp a bit of a spicy kick, you might consider adding cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes to the boiling water. For a more complex flavor profile, try a blend like Creole or Cajun seasoning, which often includes ingredients like garlic powder, onion powder, black and white pepper, paprika, and dried herbs in addition to cayenne. Remember that these spices can be quite potent, so start with a small amount and adjust to taste.
More Favorite Recipes
Lettuce and Shrimp Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado
- Start by boiling your shrimp. Fill a pot with enough water to completely cover the shrimp, add salt to taste, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink, about 2-3 minutes for medium-sized shrimp or up to 5 minutes for larger shrimp.
- After cooking, drain the shrimp and immediately transfer it into a bowl filled with ice cubes to halt the cooking.
- Supreme your grapefruit and slice your avocado.
- Toss your lettuce with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl. This will create a barrier that helps prevent the leaves from getting soggy when you add the vinegar.
- Give your shrimp a quick pat dry with a towel.
- Arrange your lettuce, grapefruit, and avocado on your plates, then garnish with the shrimp.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and the remaining olive oil, then finish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.