Shrimp Avocado Salad bursting with juicy jerk shrimp and tropical fruit doused with Caribbean Citrus Vinaigrette!
This Shrimp Avocado Salad recipe is vibrant, fresh, satisfying, crunchy, creamy and what island dreams are made of! It is loaded with juicy jerk marinated shrimp, creamy avocado, pineapple, mangos, kiwis, oranges and jicama, then dusted with toasted coconut and roasted macadamia nuts all doused in tangy, bright Caribbean Citrus Vinaigrette. This Shrimp Avocado Salad recipe is easy to make, exploding with texture and you can prep all the ingredients except the avocados ahead of time for easy entertaining, make ahead dinners or light lunches.
Shrimp Avocado Salad Recipe Video
Shrimp Avocado Salad Recipe
Hello Shrimp Avocado Salad! My favorite types of salad are bursting with everything but lettuce and this Shrimp Avocado Salad recipe is no exception. You are going to crazy over the layers of crunchy, creamy, juicy textures and smoky, spicy, earthy, bright, tangy, fresh flavors!
More reasons to love Shrimp Avocado Salad!
- The BEST shrimp! The shrimp marinates in splashes of lime juice, soy sauce, ketchup and Island spices so each morsel is packed with flavor – just look at its marinated color!
- The BEST dressing. The tantalizing shrimp and luscious combo of fruit, coconut and nuts is all brought together by the Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette. It’s layered with hints of orange juice, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, honey and cilantro.
- Healthy. Nothing but fresh fruit, veggies and shrimp!
- Customizable. Use all or some of the shrimp avocado salad ingredients – but I highly suggest not skipping the coconut or macadamia nuts.
- Quick & easy. Chop your salad ingredients while you marinate the shrimp and make the dressing.
- Make ahead. You can prep the shrimp, salad fixings and dressing ahead of time so your shrimp avocado salad can come together in minutes – literally!
- Meal prep. I’ve included meal prep instructions so you can enjoy this shrimp avocado recipe on the go.
Caribbean Shrimp Avocado Salad with Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette. She’s waiting for you.
What shrimp is best for Shrimp Avocado Salad?
The shrimp is KEY to this Shrimp Avocado Salad. Its spicy earthy seasoning is the ideal compliment to the sweet and tangy fruit. The dynamic marinade infuses the shrimp with flavOR and is SO GOOD, I’ve already dedicated an entire post to it (coming soon).
For this Shrimp Avocado Salad recipe, you will need one-pound medium shrimp that is uncooked, peeled and deveined. I like to purchase my shrimp at Costco because it comes completely prepared and ready to thaw and cook – saves tons of time!
You will toss the raw, defrosted shrimp in:
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- Jerk seasonings: chipotle chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, all spice, ground ginger, salt
Then sit back and prepare for an explosion of YUM!
HOW TO DEFROST SHRIMP
- Easy Defrost: The easiest way to defrost your shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.
- Quick Defrost: Place the frozen shrimp in a colander then place the colander in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold tap water and let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, replace the water with new cold tap water and submerge the shrimp again. Let shrimp sit an additional 10- 20 minutes. If the shrimp isn’t completely defrosted, then repeat.
HOW To CLEAN SHRIMP
If you don’t purchase your shrimp deveined, you will need to do it before making this Shrimp Avocado Salad. It is easy to do if you have never done it before:
- First, locate the vein in the shrimp running along its back.
- Make a shallow cut and use the tip of the knife to lift it out.
- The veins and shells can then be thrown away.
- Rinse the shrimp and lay on a paper towel to dry.
Other Shrimp Avocado Salad Ingredients
- Avocados: sliced or chopped avocados adds satisfying creamy burst to complement the crunchy textures of this Shrimp Avocado Salad. Make sure you use ripe avocados but not overly ripe or they will turn to mush. To tell if an avocado is ripe, squeeze it gently. A ripe avocado should yield slightly to pressure but not feel overly soft. If your avocados ripen before you are ready to use them, they can be stored in the refrigerator which will dramatically slow down the ripening process.
- Lettuce: I like to use a spring mix but you are welcome to use half Romaine, half spinach or all of one or the other.
- Pineapple: fresh pineapple please! Choose the pineapple with the most uniform, largest eyes, this means the pineapple was allowed to ripen the longest on the branch. Also, look for eyes that are flat, meaning the spiky points are pressed against the pineapple instead of sticking out. Flat eyes mean the pineapple is sweeter. It is possible for a green pineapple to be ripe, but more often than not, look for yellow coloring around the eyes and base. Look for a pineapple in which yellow reaches high up the pineapple. The higher the yellow, the more evenly flavored the pineapple.
- Mangos: my most favorite fruit, please don’t skip! They offer a pop of juicy sweetness that cuts through the spicy shrimp and tangy fruit. If you are intimidated by mangos, don’t be, just check out my How to Cut A Mango Post that teaches everything you could ever want to know about mangos! To check for ripeness, focus on FEEL not color because every variety is a different color when ripe. For example, red doesn’t necessarily mean ripe. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness. A ripe mango will give slightly like a ripe avocado. If you are intimidated.
- Kiwis: take care your kiwis are ripe or else they will taste bitter. It is better to omit bitter kiwis than include them. Ripe kiwis will give a little when squeezed, much like avocados.
- Mandarin oranges: are a class of orange of which contains both tangerines and clementines. We want clementines in our fruit salad as they are seedless and super easy to peel.
- Jicama: add a satisfying, fresh, juicy crunch. If you are intimidated by jicama, you can substitute cucumbers instead but I promise jicama is super easy to work with. Simply peel the jicama with a carrot peeler then chop.
- Bell pepper: adds a satisfying crunch. I like red bell peppers because they are the sweetest, but you may sub whatever color you have on hand.
- Red onion: if you are sensitive to red onions, you can rinse them in a fine mesh sieve under cold water then pat dry to remove some of the bite.
- Cilantro: adds a zesty, tangy layer.
- Coconut: adds so much yum! Sweetened coconut balances the tangy ingredients and toasting it enhances the nutty deliciousness. To toast coconut, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread coconut into a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 5-7 minutes until golden, watching closely towards the end as it can change very quickly.
- Macadamia nuts: roasted, salted macadamia nuts are gems in this Shrimp Avocado Salad – you will want them in every bite! I find my macadamia nuts in the bulk bins at Sprouts. You may also substitute roasted, salted cashews.
- WHAT AVOCADOS ARE BEST? For this Shrimp Avocado Salad, you want to pick avocados that are ripe but not TOO ripe. You want to select avocados that are still semi-firm so they won’t turn mushy.
- HOW CAN I TELL IF AVOCADOS ARE RIPE? Always test avocados ripeness by touch and not sight alone. Ripe avocados will be darker in color, but the real indicator is that the avocado gives slightly when gently squeezed.
- WHAT AVOCADOS TO AVOID? Avoid avocados that are firm to the touch as they are not ripe at all. On the other end of the spectrum, avoid avocados that feel soft, which means it’s overripe.
- HOW DO I RIPEN MY AVOCADOS QUICKLY? If your avocados are taking longer than you’d like/need to ripen, you can speed the process along by placing your avocados and 1-2 bananas or apples in a brown paper bag. The other fruit release a lot of ethylene which triggers ripening in the avocados.
- HOW DO I SLOW DOWN RIPENING? On the other hand, if your avocados are ripe before you want to make the Shrimp Avocado Salad recipe, place them in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. Avocados can last a couple weeks in the refrigerator, just don’t place them in the refrigerator before they’re ripe or they won’t ripen at all.
DRESSING for Shrimp Avocado Salad
The crowning glory to the Shrimp Avocado Salad is the Caribbean Citrus Vinaigrette. It marries all of the textures and flavors together with its bright, tangy pops of flavor. If you think of it, I like to make my vinaigrette the day before so it can chill and the flavors can fully blend, so irresistible.
You will need:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup orange juice (about 2 oranges)
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
how to make shrimp avocado salad
STEP 1: Marinate Shrimp
- Add marinade ingredients to a freezer bag or medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add shrimp and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes in the fridge.
- Meanwhile make dressing chop the rest of your ingredients.
STEP 2: Make Dressing
- Add vinaigrette ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine OR add to a jar and shake well. Store in the refrigerator.
- When ready to serve, whisk or shake jar to recombine.
STEP 3: Cook Shrimp
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.
- Add shrimp and cook approximately 3 minutes per side, or just until opaque and cooked through.
- Cook shrimp in batches if your shrimp cannot comfortable fit in a single layer.
OR OVEN SHRIMP
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Line shrimp in a single layer so it isn’t touching.
- Roast for 6 to 8 minutes or opaque.
STEP 4: Assemble
- Add lettuce to a large bowl and top with remaining Salad ingredients. Drizzle with desired amount of Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette and toss to combine.
TIPS FOR SHRIMP AVOCADO SALAD
- Use ripe fruit. The key to this Shrimp Avocado Salad is to use ripe, sweet fruit. You don’t want under-ripe fruit or it will be too tangy in combination with the dressing.
- Customize ingredients. The salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions. You can use add/swap any ingredients for your favorites.
- Don’t over marinate shrimp. Don’t marinate shrimp longer than 60 minutes or the acidic marinade can break down the shrimp proteins and make it mushy.
- Don’t over-cook shrimp. Cook shrimp just until opaque for the juiciest shrimp.
- Cook shrimp with tails on. I recommend cooking your shrimp with the tails on because the tail shells contains flavor that seeps out and we get more robust shrimp flavor. Once your shrimp is cooked and resting you can remove the tails if you desire.
- Chill dressing. You’ll want to refrigerate your Caribbean Vinaigrette for at least 30 minutes but it is even better refrigerated overnight. You can place the dressing in the freezer to chill more quickly if serving in less than an hour.
HOW DO I SERVE SHRIMP AVOCADO SALAD?
There are three ways to serve Shrimp Avocado Salad:
- If you don’t expect or want leftovers: add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing.
- Create a salad bar: consider creating a salad bar and keeping everything separate because the fruit can make the lettuce soggy when stored together. Simply line up all of the ingredients in separate serving bowls and let guests assemble their own Shrimp Avocado Salads.
- If you expect leftovers: If you still want to toss the salad, then add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl except the avocados, coconut and dressing. Let individuals dress their own salads with avocados, coconut and dressing. You will want to chop fresh avocados when serving leftover salad.
WHAT CAN I PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME?
I love that you can prepare almost every element of this Shrimp Avocado Salad ahead of time:
- Vegetables & Fruit. You can chop all of your vegetables and fruit ahead of time. Store fruit in separate containers with a paper towel so their moisture doesn’t make the lettuce soggy. I do not recommend storing your pre-cut fruit longer than a day because they soften and part of the beauty of this Shrimp Avocado Salad is its freshness.
- Shrimp. The shrimp is delicious just after its cooked or you can cook it up to 3 days ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Dressing. It tastes exponentially better made in advance and it will save you time later! The dressing can be made 24 hours ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
HOW LONG DOES SHRIMP AVOCADO SALAD LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
The Shrimp Avocado Salad will become soggy if tossed with the dressing. If you hold the dressing, coconut and avocados, it can last for up to two days. If want to keep the freshest leftovers, then I suggest keeping the components in a separate container (as mentioned above), so they don’t make each other soggy.
SHRIMP AVOCADO SALAD RECIPE MEAL PREP
This Shrimp Avocado Salad makes excellent meal prep if you want to prep the ingredients ahead of time and serve later for dinner or for lunch on the go. Here’s how:
- Divide lettuce between desired number of containers.
- Top with red onions, bell peppers (pat dry), macadamia nuts and shrimp.
- Separate chopped jicama, mangos, pineapple, kiwis, mandarin oranges and coconut in separate plastic bags and place on top of salad containers OR I like to roll out a large piece of plastic wrap and add lines of each ingredient (amount for that container), roll over that ingredient so its enclosed, then add the next ingredient and continue to roll up and add ingredients until they are all enclosed; repeat for each container.
- Divide dressing into separate containers/baggies.
- Store salad containers in the refrigerator and serve with freshly chopped avocados.
IS SHRIMP AVOCADO SALAD HEALTHY?
YES! If you’re looking for a healthy yet deeply satisfying meal, look no further than Shrimp Avocado Salad! The filling ingredients are packed with nutrition as well as the shrimp and avocados.
The shrimp is a rich source of protein and several vitamins and minerals. Shrimp may also promote heart and brain health due to its omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Avocados are also a nutritious powerhouse. Studies have shown that cholesterol levels are significantly are reduced when you eat 1 to 2 avocados a week – and this salad has two avocados! Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5-ounce serving of avocado:
- Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
- Folate: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
- 10 grams of Fiber: 36% of the DV
- avocados also contain small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).
Looking for more Salad Recipes?
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Cilantro Lime Chicken Taco Salad
- Taco Salad
- Greek Chicken Salad
- Caprese Chicken Salad
- Avocado Chicken Salad
- Wedge Salad
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