Ensalada de Gambas is our favourite Spanish seafood salad recipe to make at home.
The quick and easy salad features Mediterranean flavours like creamy garlic aioli dressing, crunchy fennel, juicy grapefruit and plump prawns.
Our homemade Spanish Shrimp Salad can be served with large prawns as a main course or with small shrimp as a side dish at a Mediterranean themed dinner party.
We love to serve the creamy and crunchy salad with a chilled glass of white wine and slices of fresh sourdough bread. A sublime salad to serve on a hot summer day!
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What Is Ensalada de Gambas?
Ensalada de Gambas is a Spanish dish, where ensalada means salad and gambas means shrimp or prawns.
Our Ensalada de Gambas recipe features a homemade aioli dressing, which is typical of Mediterranean cuisine. The garlic, egg and oil emulsion is popular in Italy, Provence and Catalan food culture. It’s sometimes described as garlic mayonnaise, similar to Lebanese Toum.
The fresh salad bursts with acidic citrus flavours thanks to fresh lemon juice and grapefruit.
Plump prawns are cooked in garlic oil and tossed in a salad of thinly sliced red onion, crunchy fennel and aromatic parsley.
It’s the perfect summer salad to serve at a Mediterranean themed lunch or dinner.
Travel to Spain by Cooking Ensalada de Gambas at Home
I love traveling to Europe!
During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, France, Malta and Italy.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in Europe, from traditional markets to award winning restaurants.
What I love most about traveling to Spain is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The Spanish dishes in Madrid and Barcelona are unique to what you might find on restaurant menus in Salamanca, Toledo, Valencia, Mallorca, Ibiza, Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Malaga.
Once back home from a Spanish holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of the Mediterranean and can impress friends and family by making our easy Ensalada De Gambas recipe!
Where To Eat Spanish Shrimp Salad
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Spanish restaurant that serves traditional Ensalada de Gambas.
Haven’t traveled to Spain before? It may be helpful to first sample authentic Spanish Prawn Salad at a local restaurant to better understand how it is served. You’ll get an idea for the ideal size of prawns to purchase, desired consistency of the aioli dressing and crunchy vegetables to toss into your salad bowl.
In Toronto, popular Spanish restaurants that may serve Ensalada de Gambas include Carmen, Bar Isabel, Patria, Salt Wine Bar, Bar Raval, Barsa Taberna and Labora.
My Family Loves Homemade Ensalada de Gambas
Spain was one of the first countries I visited when backpacking through Europe in my third year of university.
I flew into Barcelona and traveled on a shoestring to Madrid, Salamanca and Toledo. It wasn’t until years later as a food and travel journalist that I had the opportunity to revisit Spain and experience it’s celebrated fine dining culture.
It was on a trip to Andalusia on the southern coast of Spain where I enjoyed a sublime taste of Spanish Shrimp Salad, which looked like a piece of art on a plate.
I wanted to recreate the dish at home so on a hot summer day at our family cottage in Muskoka I made this bright and light seafood lovers salad.
My family loved the creamy aioli dressing, crunchy fennel, juicy grapefruit segments and plump garlicky shrimp. All of the flavours and textures marry well together.
We enjoyed the salad as an entree with a glass of cold white wine alongside a few slices of sourdough bread. A sublime summer salad for those looking to enjoy a sensory escape to Spain!
Ensalada de Gambas Recipe Cooking Tips
If it’s your first time preparing Spanish Shrimp Salad at home here are some helpful cooking tips.
- Prepare the aioli in a blender or food processor. Slowly pour in the olive oil to ensure it thickens into a creamy mayonnaise. Don’t dump it in all at once.
- If you’re serving the salad as a main course purchase the largest prawns you can find. If you’re serving it as a side dish feel free to use small shrimp.
- We’ve used grapefruit in this recipe but if you’re preparing it in the winter feel free to substitute with seasonal clementines or blood oranges. It makes a very attractive festive holiday salad in December.
- We’ve used red onions in this recipe as they add a pop of purple on the plate but you could substitute for sweet Vidalia onion.
Our healthy Spanish Shrimp Salad recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Eggs contain two vital nutrients that are not present in many foods: iodine and vitamin D. Eggs are also rich in tissue-building protein and vitamin B12, which helps your body manufacture blood cells.
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.
A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons 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.
Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
Grapefruit are known as an excellent source of Vitamin C, vital for the proper function of a healthy immune system.
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.
An excellent source of vitamin K, as well as vitamin C, folate, and iron, parsley helps keep your bones and blood healthy, and protects your skin from damage by free radicals.
The potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content in fennel, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. Fennel contains significant amounts of fibre.
Onions 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.
What To Serve With Ensalada de Gambas
We love serving this crunchy and juicy Ensalada de Gambas recipe as a Spring or Summer salad.
When using large prawns it can be enjoyed as a main course with a few slices of sourdough bread and a glass of chilled white wine.
If you’re hosting a Spanish or Mediterranean themed dinner party you might also like to make:
- Albondigas Spanish Meatballs
- Berenjenas con Miel Spanish Fried Eggplant
- Sopa de Ajo
- Baked Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
- Bolo de Caco Madeira Sweet Potato Portuguese Rolls
- Portuguese Bean Soup
- Roasted Garlic Gruyere French Tomato Tart
- Garides Saganaki
- Oven Baked Halloumi
- Melitzanosalata Greek Eggplant Dip
- Arugula Fig Burrata and Prosciutto Salad
- Traditional Tagliatelle alla Bolognese Pasta
- Ndunderi Amalfi Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi
- Sartu Di Riso Italian Baked Risotto
Other Shrimp Recipes You Might Enjoy…
- Thai Tamarind Prawn Curry
- Kanom Jeeb Thai Steamed Dumplings
- Creamy Thai Prawn Panang Curry
- Crispy Thai Prawn Omelette
- Yum Woon Sen Thai Glass Noodle Salad
- Singapore Chow Mei Fun Noodles
- Khao Pad Sapparod Thai Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice
- Garides Saganaki Sizzling Greek Feta Shrimp
- Cilantro Ginger Lime Cajun Shrimp Salad
- Thai Red Curry Prawn Burger
- Chingri Malai Prawn Curry
- Penang Prawn Noodle Soup Hokkien Mee
- Seafood Laksa Singaporean Shrimp & Fish Soup
- Cajun Louisiana Cream of Shrimp Soup
- Goi Xoai Vietnamese Mango Salad
- Barbecued Thai Red Prawn Curry
- Shrimp & Pork Vietnamese Egg Rolls
- Vietnamese Crepe Bánh Xèo
How To Make Ensalada de Gambas
Ensalada de Gambas Spanish Shrimp Salad
- French knife
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Nonstick Skillet
- Spatula Flipper or Tongs
- Salad Bowl & Tongs
- 1 Egg
- 4 Garlic Cloves sliced, seperated
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 cup Olive OIl divided
- 2 Grapefruits sectioned and divided
- 12 Large Shrimp peeled and deveined
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp Parsley chopped
- 2 Fennel Bulbs julienned
- 1 Small Red Onion julienned
- Put the egg, garlic, and lemon juice into a blender. Puree well. While the motor is still running, slowly pour in 3/4 cup of olive oil. Then add 6 sections of grapefruit and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and parsley. Heat a saute pan with the remaining oil. Cook the shrimp along with the sliced garlic on high heat for about 2 minutes per side, until the shrimp turns pink.
- In a bowl, toss the shrimp fennel, onion and remaining grapefruit sections with 4 tbsp of aioli.
- Decorate a shallow bowl or serving platter with fennel salad, top with shrimp and drizzle with aioli.
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