Shrimp Louie Salad is a refreshing-yet-indulgent classic that combines a medley of vibrant mix-ins with a boldly-flavored dressing. This salad is studded with plump, juicy shrimp, creamy avocado, and crisp romaine lettuce, all drizzled with a tangy Thousand Island-inspired sauce. It’s perfect for a light lunch, weekend brunch, or elegant main.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Quick to make: This salad comes together in just 20 minutes, making it ideal for a quick, no-fuss summertime meal.
- Versatile: Shrimp Louie salad works equally well as a light main dish or as a side. Plus, it can easily be adapted to include your favorite ingredients.
- Light & healthy: This recipe is packed with lean protein, healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Impressive: Although it’s simple to make, shrimp Louie salad has a gourmet feel that never fails to impress family or dinner guests.
Classic shrimp Louie salad
Shrimp Louie salad is an American classic popularized in the San Francisco area in the early 1900s. I’ve been making this crowd-pleaser for years and it’s always a hit! It’s simple and refreshing yet decadent and indulgent at the same time.
Much like crab Louie salad, this recipe showcases seafood in all the best ways! Jumbo shrimp are seasoned with smoky, spice, and savory flavors, then seared to golden perfection. Paired with the crunch of romaine lettuce, sweet bursts of cherry tomatoes, and the creaminess of avocado, it’s an unforgettable contrast of textures and tastes.
The finishing touch is a homemade Louie dressing, featuring ingredients like mayo, capers, lemon, and Tabasco sauce. Serve it by itself or with some crusty bread, a bowl of celeriac, fennel, sweet potato soup, or a hearty sandwich.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Shrimp: Seared shrimp adds a delicate seafood flavor and a firm texture. I use raw, jumbo shrimp for my salad, but you can also use frozen shrimp. Substitute it with crab for a crab Louie salad.
- Romaine: I love the crisp, refreshing bite of romaine lettuce, but feel free to use iceberg lettuce, butter lettuce, or mixed greens instead.
- Avocado: Adds a rich, creamy, and buttery element, which perfectly contrasts with the other ingredients. If avocado isn’t available, try roasted sweet potatoes.
- Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes add a pop of color and juiciness. Grape tomatoes are another great option, or you can try vine-ripened tomatoes.
- Eggs: Not only do hard-boiled eggs add rich, creamy flavors, but they are also an excellent source of protein! Use farm-fresh eggs for the best results.
- Dressing: The combination of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, capers, lemon, Worcestershire sauce, honey, Tabasco sauce, smoked paprika, and garlic powder creates a quintessential Louie salad flavor. If you prefer, you can use Thousand Island dressing.
How to properly boil eggs
Before starting anything else, you’ll need to tackle the eggs. For the best results, bring a medium pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Carefully lower the eggs into the water, making sure they’re fully submerged with a couple of inches to spare.
After about 9-10 minutes, carefully remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to an ice bath. Once they feel cool to the touch, you can gently crack and peel each egg.
How to make shrimp Louie salad
- Make the dressing: Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender or mason jar and blend until smooth. Don’t forget to taste and adjust the seasonings if needed!
- Cook the shrimp: Mix the peeled shrimp with seasonings and Tabasco sauce, then sear them in a hot skillet with avocado oil until they’re pink on the first side. Flip them and add butter, then cook for a few more minutes until they appear golden.
- Assemble the salad: Start with a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, then arrange your tomatoes, avocados, hard-boiled eggs, and seared shrimp evenly on top. Drizzle some dressing over the top and your shrimp Louie salad is ready to be devoured!
This shrimp Louie salad is practically a meal in itself, but if you’re looking to round it out, here are a few ideas:
- Bread: Serve it with a slice of crusty bread to sop up any leftover dressing.
- Sandwich: For a heartier meal, add a prosciutto mozzarella sandwich to the side.
- Soup: Pair it with soup like gazpacho, salmon corn chowder, or seafood bisque.
- Beverages: Complement it with chilled white wine, rosé, or an Aperol spritz. For a non-alcoholic drink, try a refreshing iced tea or sparkling lemonade.
Frequently asked questions
Absolutely, you can use frozen shrimp in this recipe! Just make sure they’re thawed before starting. One method is to let them slowly defrost in the refrigerator overnight. If you’re short on time, you can speed up the process by placing the shrimp in a bowl or a colander and running a gentle stream of cold water over them.
Yes, you can use a different type of seafood. Some of my favorites include crab or lobster instead of shrimp.
Yes, this salad is naturally gluten-free as written in the recipe card. Just double-check that your Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free since some brands contain gluten.
Storage & reheating
I suggest eating shrimp Louie salad fresh, but if you happen to have leftovers, here’s what to do:
- Fridge: Store the eggs, lettuce, and dressing separately if possible. Make the salad right before you’re ready to eat it again. You can store the ingredients for up to 2 days.
- Prep ahead: You can prep the dressing and the hard-boiled eggs ahead of time. All you have to do is cook the shrimp and assemble the salad when ready to serve.
- Protein alternative: Swap the shrimp for grilled chicken or tofu for a different take.
- Flavor change: Add olives or pickles for a tangy punch. You can even add a few pickled jalapeños for a spicy kick.
- Greens: Use mixed salad greens, arugula, or spinach instead of romaine lettuce.
- Cheesy: Add feta or goat cheese for extra creamy, cheesy, umami-rich flavors in your shrimp Louie salad.
- Watch the shrimp: Keep a close eye on the shrimp as they cook to prevent a tough, rubbery texture. Aim for a light pink color with a slight curl.
- Time the dressing: Don’t add the shrimp or dress the salad until just before you’re ready to eat! This will help keep the lettuce crunchy and fresh.
- Use ripe avocados: It’s important to use ripe avocados for optimal creaminess and depth of flavor. They should give under gentle pressure, but not be too squishy.
Looking for more salad recipes?
If you enjoyed this shrimp Louie salad recipe, be sure to check out some more of my favorite salads like these:
If you try this Shrimp Louie Salad, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Classic Shrimp Louie Salad
For the shrimp
Shrimp Louie dressing
For the salad
- 2 heads romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 large avocado sliced
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes halved
- 4 medium eggs hard boiled
- ½ lemon cut into 4 wedges
Hard boil the eggs
- Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil on medium heat. There should be enough water to cover the eggs by several inches. Once boiling, carefully lower the eggs into water with a long-handled slotted spoon. Boil for 9 to 10 minutes and then remove from the heat. Carefully remove the eggs and transfer them to an ice bath until eggs are cool to the touch. Once cooled, gently crack and peel each egg. Place the peeled eggs onto a plate to the side until you’re ready to cut in half and add to the salad.
Make the dressing
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth or add to a mason jar and blend with an immersion blender. Taste and add additional seasoning, if needed. (*To make ahead, pour into a small jar or small air-tight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.)
Cook the shrimp
- In a large bowl, add the peeled shrimp, dry seasonings, and Tabasco sauce and mix well together. Bring a large skillet to medium-high heat, and add in the avocado oil. Once hot, add in shrimp and cook on one side for 2-3 minutes or until pink. Flip the shrimp onto the other side, add in butter, and cook for several more minutes, or until golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Assemble the salad
- Add the lettuce to a large serving platter. Scatter the tomatoes on top, then add the sliced avocados, halved eggs, and shrimp. Top with salad dressing and leave some on the side for extra.