A cold Cajun Shrimp Salad on a hot summer day is the perfect healthy bowl to enjoy for lunch or dinner.
Our quick & easy Cajun Shrimp Salad features flavourful and healthy ingredients like avocado, mango, lime, cilantro, garlic, ginger, spinach and tomatoes.
Our Cold Cajun Shrimp Salad is low carb, Keto diet-friendly, dairy free, egg free and gluten free.
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Travel to Louisiana by Making Cajun Shrimp Salad at Home
I have enjoyed traveling throughout the USA on press trips as a professional food and travel journalist.
I’ve eaten at many of the top restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.
Growing up watching The Food Network I was always spellbound by Chef Emeril Lagasse, who helped educate Canadians about Louisiana’s unique Creole and Cajun cuisines.
During my first visit to New Orleans I enjoyed a decadent food tour, spending 3 days eating my way through famous eateries like Dickie Brennan’s Tableau, Ruby Slipper Cafe, Café du Monde, The Court of Two Sisters and Luke Restaurant.
After spending years eating my way across America, I’m still fascinated by the distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in Germany, Italy or Spain, each state in the US had its own local specialities.
Cajun VS Creole Food
Louisiana is considered one of America’s best foodie destinations. New Orleans with its extravagant Mardi Gras parade and year-round “party all day and night” vibe has made the city a popular attraction for decades.
So what makes Louisiana’s food culture so unique?
Cajun and Creole food are both native to Louisiana and can be found in restaurants throughout New Orleans. One of the simplest differences between the two cuisine types is that Creole food typically uses tomatoes and tomato-based sauces while traditional Cajun food does not.
A simplified way to describe the two cuisines is to deem Creole cuisine as “city food” while Cajun cuisine is often referred to as “country cooking.” While many of the ingredients in Cajun and Creole dishes are similar, the real difference between the two styles is the people behind these famous cuisines.
In Louisiana, the best place to find authentic Cajun and Creole cooking is in homes across the state, which is what makes the food so special. Many of Louisiana’s most talented chefs learned their trade from their parents or grandparents. Cajun and Creole are two distinct cultures, and while over the years they continue to blend, there is still a vast distinction in Louisiana, and both have their own unique stories.
The word Cajun originates from the term “les Acadiens,” which was used to describe French colonists who settled in the Acadia region of Canada which consisted of present-day New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
Authentic Cajun food is a robust, rustic food, found along the bayous of Louisiana, a combination of French and Southern cuisines. It was brought to Louisiana from the French who migrated to the state from the Canadian Maritimes 250 years ago and used foods, right from the land.
Think of meals with lots of smoked meats as well as meat-heavy, one-pot dishes like jambalaya or the rice-filled, spicy pork sausage known as boudin. The backyard crawfish boil is also another byproduct of Cajun culture. Though delicious Cajun food can certainly be found in New Orleans, the true heart of Cajun country lies northwest of the city in areas like Breaux Bridge and Lafayette.
My Family Loves Cajun Shrimp Salad
After traveling to Louisiana I returned home freshly obsessed with Shrimp & Grits, Ettouffee, Beignets, Po-Boys and Cajun Shrimp Salad.
After enjoying several Cajun Shrimp Salads at restaurants throughout Louisiana I was keen to recreate my own recipe at home.
My family loves fresh salads, especially if they are quick and easy to make last minute.
We’re all omnivores and thankfully don’t have any allergies. We try and balance a healthy diet that features lean meat, sustainable seafood, local cheese, legumes, seeds, nuts and fresh vegetables.
This easy Cajun Shrimp Salad is best enjoyed on a hot summer day. Serve it as a lunch for one or prepare a large salad bowl to serve at a big family gathering at a barbecue or buffet.
Shrimp Salad Health Benefits
Our Cajun Shrimp Salad recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Scallions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system.
Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
Packed with folate, vitamin C, and potassium, spinach helps keep your blood, immune system and eyes healthy.
A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, limes help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.
Avocados contain almost 20 different vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, and good fats that together support your heart health and nervous system.
Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, niacin, vitamin B-6 and phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and potassium.
Seafood is a high-protein food that is low in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. High in vitamins and minerals, seafood has been shown to have numerous health benefits including decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and hypertension.
A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals.
Tips For Making Healthy Cajun Shrimp Salad
If it’s your first time making Cajun Shrimp Salad we suggest you start by reading the ingredients list and recipe directions below so you understand each step.
Hosting a large dinner and time crunched? You can easily prepare the salad dressing and fry the shrimp and bacon the day before your guests arrive. A few minutes before you’re getting ready to sit down to dinner, slice the vegetables, toss in dressing and top with Cajun-spiced shrimp.
Do not toss the dressing prematurely into the salad as it will make the tender greens wilt.
We’ve used canned corn in this recipe but if corn is sold by the cob when you’re cooking this Cajun Seafood Salad we recommend grilling it on the barbecue to give it an additional smokey flavour.
If mangos aren’t fresh and in season you can always substitute for fresh figs or blackberries.
We love presenting the salads colourful ingredients over a bed of baby spinach and romaine lettuce. You could also substitute for finely chopped kale, peppery arugula or rocket.
What To Serve with Cajun Shrimp Salad
This popular Cajun Shrimp Salad can be enjoyed as a main course or side dish.
It keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days so store it in an airtight container and enjoy leftovers as a quick and easy lunch at work. Make sure to separate the leftover salad ingredients from the dressing so they don’t wilt in the fridge overnight.
We love serving our Cajun Shrimp Salad as an entree, enjoying large bowls with a slice of sourdough bread or gourmet crackers. We intentionally created a salad that is well balanced nutritionally so your body has everything it needs in one dish.
The best Cajun Shrimp Salad should be paired with a bottle of dry white wine, preferably from a local winery in Beamsville, Niagara on the Lake or Prince Edward County. The recipe also pairs well with a citrus-forward IPA craft beer. If you’re more of a mixed drink fan check our our guide to the best craft cocktails.
There’s a reason so many restaurants have “soup & salad specials!” We definitely recommend pairing our homemade Cajun Shrimp Salad with a healthy soup like Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup or Carrot and Leek Soup.
If you’re looking to host a healthy potluck or salad themed buffet you may also want to serve Goi Ga Vietnamese Salad, Roasted Vegetable Couscous, Sweet Potato Rice, The Best Canadian Salad Recipe, Garlic Lemon Chickpea Avocado Salad, Vegan Chinese Cucumber Salad, Cajun Spicy Chorizo Corn Salad, Cherry Pecan Kale Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette, Carrot and Tahini Salad with Crispy Cumin Chickpeas and Pistachios, Fennel, Apple, Celery and Roasted Hazelnut Salad, Nam Tok Authentic Thai “Waterfall Beef” Salad, Laos Papaya Salad Tum Mak Hoong and Roasted Beetroot Salad with Grapefruit, Pistachio and Herbed Cream.
If you’re serving this cold salad at a barbecue, it pairs nicely with plump sausages, hamburgers, steaks or grilled prawns.
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How To Make Cajun Shrimp Salad Recipe
Healthy Cajun Shrimp Salad Bowl
- Mixing bowls
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Salad tongs
- French knife
- 10 Shrimp peeled and deveined
- 2 tsp Cajun Seasoning
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Lime juiced
- 4 cups Baby Spinach
- 4 cups Romaine Lettuce chopped
- 4 Bacon slices cooked until crisp then chopped
- 1 Ripe mango diced
- 1 Avocado diced
- 1 cup Cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cup Corn
- 2 tbsp Cilantro leaves
- 2 tbsp Scallions sliced
Cilantro Lime Ginger Dressing
- 3/4 cup Cilantro Leaves
- 2 tbsp Lime Juice
- 2 tbsp Honey
- 2 tbsp Ginger coarsely chopped
- 2 Garlic cloves minced
- 1/3 cup Olive oil
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
- In a small bowl, toss the shrimp in Cajun seasoning.
- In a non-stick pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil then fry the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Add a splash of lime juice and remove from heat. Set aside
- For the dressing: In a blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, honey, ginger and garlic. Blend for 20 seconds. With blender running on low speed, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified and thickened, approximately 30 seconds. Blend in salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large salad bowl mix the spinach, mesclun, bacon, mango, avocado, corn, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and scallions.
- Top with Cilantro Lime Ginger dressing and using tongs ensure the salad ingredients are well mixed.
- Use tongs to transfer salad ingredients into two bowls. Top each salad with 5 cajun shrimp and serve.
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