How to Make Grilled Shrimp Salad

When you're looking for something quick and healthy, nothing fits the bill better than a grilled shrimp salad. It's full of vibrant vegetables and quick-cooking protein, topped with an herby vinaigrette.

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This grilled shrimp salad is the ideal weeknight dinner. It boasts a laundry list of fresh vegetables, healthy protein and a delicious homemade dressing. We used two tricks to have this healthy main ready in less than an hour.

How to Make Grilled Shrimp Salad

First, we needed a quick-cooking protein that requires almost no prep. The ideal candidate for this is frozen raw shrimp. It thaws almost instantly, doesn’t require hours of marinating time and cooks in minutes.

The other trick was creating a vinaigrette that can double as the marinade. This cuts down on prep time while also decreasing the overall ingredient list.

For the shrimp, vinaigrette and marinade

  • ¼ cup minced parsley
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-½ pounds jumbo raw shrimp (16-20 count), peeled with tails left on, deveined
  • Vegetable oil

For the salad:

  • 6 cups roughly chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • ¾ cup shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

This recipe makes four servings.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Keep a Microplane on hand for zesting citrus fruit.
  • This set of mixing bowls comes with a five-quart bowl that’s perfect for the marinade
  • Use a pair of OXO grill tongs to carefully flip the shrimp

Step 1: Make the Marinade/Vinaigrette

shrimp marinadeLauren Grant for Taste of Home

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together first eight ingredients for the vinaigrette. You’ll also use this to marinade the shrimp to give it more flavor

Step 2: Marinate the Shrimp

shrimp marinatingLauren Grant for Taste of Home

Pour half of the vinaigrette into a large bowl. Then add shrimp to the bowl with vinaigrette and toss to coat; cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Keep an eye on the shrimp, though! Because you can marinate the shrimp for too long. You don’t want to leave shrimp in a marinade that contains acid (citrus juice, vinegar, buttermilk) for longer than an hour, because the shrimp will begin to cook. I’ve found 30 minutes to be the ideal amount of time for marinating shrimp, adding enough flavor while not impacting the texture.

Step 3: Prepare the Grill

Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium; brush grill grate clean.

Here are the methods we recommend for cleaning grill grates.

Step 4: Toss the Salad Together

In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients, except the olive oil and vinegar.

Step 5: Grill the Shrimp

grilling shrimpLauren Grant for Taste of Home

Brush grill grates with oil, place the shrimp on grate and grill for two minutes. Then flip and continue to grill until no longer opaque, two to four minutes. (If using smaller shrimp, thread shrimp onto metal or wooden skewers.) Discard marinade.

How do you prevent shrimp from sticking to the grill? you ask: It’s always a good idea to brush the grill grate clean with a wire brush and to coat the grate with oil. It’s especially important when grilling shrimp. Once the grill is hot, quickly brush the grill grate with a wire brush. Right before you place the food on the grill, coat the grates with vegetable oil. The most effective way to do this is to fold a few paper towels into a small square, and using grill tongs, dip the paper towels in oil and brush on the grill grate to coat.

Editor’s tip: Keep an eye on the shrimp because it can overcook quickly. Once the shrimp are opaque and curled into a C shape, they’re cooked. If they’ve curled up into an O, they are overcooked. Remember C is cooked, O is overcooked.

Step 6: Finish the Vinaigrette

grilled shrimp saladLauren Grant for Taste of Home

Add a quarter cup of olive oil and white wine vinegar to reserved vinaigrette. Serve shrimp over salad and drizzle with reserved vinaigrette.

Variations on This Shrimp Salad

What I love most about this salad is you can easily make it your own with a few ingredient swaps! This recipe is all about celebrating fresh flavors and features plenty of green vegetables—not only do these vegetables add a variety of textures, but they also create a gorgeous green canvas for the shrimp.

Instead of the herby vinaigrette, whip up a Mexican-inspired vinaigrette/marinade featuring cumin, lime, honey and cilantro. Just be sure to double the marinade and reserve half of it for use as the vinaigrette! Then replace the cucumber and edamame in this salad with black beans, corn and tomato.

Looking to make a Thai-inspired salad? Add some fresh mint, basil and shredded carrot to the salad and whisk up a vinaigrette with sesame oil, ginger and lime. Even add a few pickled radishes if you want.

If you’re feeding a whole crew, you may want to think about bulking this salad up even more. The beautiful thing about this salad is that the flavors are incredibly versatile, which means you can add just about any salad toppings you desire!

Lauren Grant
The veggie- and cheese-obsessed lady behind the food blog Zestful Kitchen, Lauren Grant is a trained Culinary Scientist and Journalist. She is a blogger, writer, recipe developer, and self-taught photographer.