Spicy Shrimp Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing is a delicious easy lettuce wrap with Thai fresh herbs and spices.
A spicy vibrant shrimp salad nestled in a crispy lettuce cup drizzled with a refreshing lime cilantro dressing is just what your doctor ordered to help you with that case of the winter blues.
Are all of your family and friends rubbing it in that have gone on this amazing tropical destination? Are you still shoveling the snow off your roofs? Do you spend every morning heating your key because your car door is frozen shut? Do you need to shed a few pounds before swimsuit season? Are you living in steamy Singapore or Thailand and can’t even bear the thought of turning on an oven?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then you need to make yourself this delightful spicy shrimp salad and I am certain it will put a smile on your face.
Spicy shrimp salad can be served as an appetizer or served as a light lunch or dinner. I call it spicy as that is the way my teenagers like it with lots of red chili peppers. However, you do not have to add one little tiny chilli pepper to yours if you do not like spicy dishes. I did not use the usual Thai (burn your eye sockets if you touch them) bird chilis. Instead, I choose a little milder Chinese chili pepper as you want to keep the Scoville level under the inferno level as after all you are going after the taste, not the burn. I kept my portion absolutely free of the ring of fire chilis and I think these little salads were perfectly flavored.
I have to add in my 2 little cents if you are new to using fresh chili peppers. Do not touch anything on your face or anywhere for that matter on your body once you have started to cut up chilis. Some people even wear gloves, I don’t go that far but I most certainly open the windows a crack when frying up chilis. Trust me on this one, you will thank me later.
I really wish I had doubled my recipe or had made more as my boys inhaled it in less than 5 minutes and were asking for more. Don’t you think it’s a little crazy for teenage boys are to like something this healthy?!?! I thought so too but they say are both trying to watch their weight. They both must have new girlfriends or something. Wink Wink… Smiling…
You can also use whatever fresh vegetable you have in your refrigerator or even add fresh fruit, like pineapple, papaya or mango if you like. It was just clean out the refrigerator crisper day, so this is what I had around. I also emphasize the use of fresh herbs in this dish as it really brings this salad to a whole new level. If you do not have cilantro, try mint or parsley.
If you have an allergy to shellfish you can also use grilled chicken or grilled flank steak. If you are vegan some grilled firm tofu would be a nice exchange.
You can celebrate spring with a fun gathering and here is fun menu to get you started. For your appetizer, you can start with these refreshing spicy shrimp salad cups with cilantro lime dressing. For your main course, how about my Tropical Thai Swordfish and a side of my Hawaiian Luau Rice. For a sweet and delightful dessert, how about my Mango Sticky Rice?
Wishing everyone a super day!
Spicy Shrimp Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 1.5 shrimp
large (washed, shelled and deveined)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp chili peppers
fresh chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp ginger freshly minced
- 2 cloves garlic
peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper chopped finely
- 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper
- 1 tbsp shallots chopped finely (can exchange with 2 spring onions or 1 tablespoon regular onions)
- 1/2 cup cucumber
- 1 carrots up into thin strips with a mandolin or chopped finely
- 1 cup mung beans
Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar -
- 2 tsp sugar
or sugar alternative - palm sugar or brown sugar (if diabetic exchange with 2 packets of sweet and low or other favorite sugar alternative)
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2-3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic - 1 clove finely minced peeled and chopped
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/4 tsp chili peppers chopped fresh (optional- if you like it spicy- leave out if not)
- 1 head butter cup lettuce leaves washed and dried separated from the stalk
- In a medium wok or frying pan over medium-high heat, add canola oil, ginger, chili (if desired) and peeled and deveined shrimp and fry for about 2-3 minutes (depending on the size of your shrimp), add garlic and fry until aromatic. Do not overcook shrimp. Set shrimp aside.
- In a bowl add chopped green, yellow and red bell pepper, shallots and carrots and bean sprouts. Toss to mix. Set aside.
- Make cilantro lime dressing. In a small bowl, add rice wine vinegar and brown sugar (or sugar alternative) and stir until sugar dissolves. Add fresh lime juice, fish sauce, minced garlic, white pepper, sesame oil, cilantro and fresh chili peppers (if desired) and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference. If you like it more sour than add more lime, if you want it more salty than add more fish sauce, if you want it more sweet than add more sugar or sugar alternative. If you want it more hot, than by all means bring out more of those Thai chill peppers out...
- Chop up shrimp into smaller pieces (not required but it makes it easier to eat when on a lettuce leaf and I was trying to get my shrimp to go a little further with 2 hungry teenagers in the house) Otherwise leave the shrimp whole. Add shrimp and cilantro lime dressing to the mixed vegetables and toss.
- Place your washed and dried lettuce leaves on a serving platter. I used butter cup lettuce leaves as that is what I had on hand but feel free to use whatever you like (iceberg, romaine, endive, etc.) Scoop a large heaping tablespoon of delicious spicy shrimp salad on each lettuce leaf.
- Serve Spicy Shrimp Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing as a starter for 4 people or as a main dish for one not so hungry teenager.