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There's nothing boring about this Shrimp and Avocado Salad. Tangy-sweet mango plays off of buttery shrimp and avocado while gentle jalapeño heat and a zesty lime vinaigrette liven things up.
This versatile salad works equally well as a starter or as a light meal on its own. Serve on a bed of tender crisp butter lettuce leaves with a hunk of crusty bread as a main. Or mounded into pretty glass tumblers as an elegant appetizer.
Ingredients You Need to Make Shrimp and Avocado Salad
- Shrimp: Look for firm shrimp that are firm and plump. Avoid those that look slimy or limp and never buy shrimp that smells of ammonia (a sign that they have spoiled).
- Avocado: You'll want a ripe, but firm avocado for this salad. Look for a plump, black avocado that yields to medium pressure. You don't want it to be mushy or overly soft. Tip: Buy a firm avocado several days ahead if you prefer to ripen it at home. This is a good way to avoid bruised avocados - also true for stone fruits like peaches and nectarines.
- Mango: Pay more attention to texture than color. A ripe mango will give slightly to gentle pressure.
- Jalapeño: Look for a bright green, firm jalapeño with no signs of wrinkling or discoloration.
- Shallot: Look for firm shallots with the skin intact and no green shoots.
- Butter Lettuce: Butter lettuce leaves should be perky, not droopy or beginning to brown at the edges.
- Olive Oil: Use a fruity, flavorful extra virgin olive oil.
- Lime: Look for bright green limes that are heavy for their size and have a strong citrus scent. Avoid those that are yellowish-green as they are likely less ripe.
- Rice Vinegar: Use unseasoned rice vinegar for this recipe.
How to Cook Shrimp for Salad
You'll need cooled, cooked shrimp for this shrimp avocado salad. Poaching peeled, deveined raw shrimp in salted water with lemon wedges is a great way to ensure that they add lots of great flavor (The same method I use for this Shrimp Salad and this Seafood Pasta Salad).
Shrimp should be poached just until they're cooked through (cook time of 2-3 minutes) and then plunged into an ice bath to stop the cooking. And you don't want to let them hang out too long in the ice water either - just until they're cool. Lift them out with a slotted spoon, pat dry, and they'll be succulent and ready to go.
How to Cut a Mango
I'm not much for gadget, but I consider my mango slicer / splitter / corer essential. Some people cut mangos with ease using only a knife, but not me. I always end up making a mess! If you share my malady, then you need a mango splitter. You peel the mango, cut a little slice off the bottom so that you can stand it on end, line up the splitter over the stem and press down. You'll end up with two perfect halves as pictured below.
More Salad Options
Medium shrimp (ideally wild) tend to have more flavor than large or jumbo shrimp, so I recommend seeking them out. But any size will do, so go with what you like or have available.
I prefer a subtle onion flavor in this salad recipe, so I've opted for a shallot. But minced red onion is a great alternative if you want a stronger onion flavor. And romaine lettuce stands in well for butter lettuce if you want some extra crunch. For added color and sweetness, toss in a few halved cherry tomatoes as I do at times.
What to Serve with Shrimp and Avocado Salad
More Shrimp Recipes to Try
Shrimp and Avocado Salad
- 1 pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- ½ lemon cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 large mango
- 1 jalapeño seeded and minced, (see recipe note #1)
- 1 small shallot minced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lime juiced, about 2 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 avocado diced
- ½ head butter lettuce
- fresh cilantro for garnish, optional
- Prepare ice bath for shrimp.
- Bring 4 cups water, lemon wedges and kosher salt to boil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook uncovered 2 to 3 minutes, until just cooked through. Transfer with slotted spoon to ice bath.
- When shrimp are cool, lift out of ice bath with slotted spoon. Pat dry and coarsely chop. Reserve.
- Peel, pit, and dice mango; place in a large bowl. Add jalapeño and shallot; stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, and rice vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over mango mixture and toss to coat.
- Add shrimp and avocado to mango mixture and gently toss to combine.
- Line 4 shallow bowls with butter lettuce leaves; drizzle with a olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon salad evenly among bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves (if desired) and serve immediately. (see recipe note #2)
- Please note that handling raw chili peppers that have been cut up can severely irritate your skin. I recommend wearing gloves when handling them.
- To serve as an appetizer: tear lettuce leaves and line the bottom of 6 glass tumblers. Mound salad evenly into tumblers. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.