Spicy Shrimp Cocktail Salad

I think the very best cure for homesickness or wanderlust is to cook something to remind you of a certain place, so today we are having one of my favourite light, bright and summery meals: Spicy Shrimp Cocktail Salad.

‘Oh no!’ I hear you cry, ‘Not one of those sad, bedraggled 60’s monstrosities, a few sad (and slightly suspect) shrimp, buried in goopy mayonnaise, with a limp lettuce leaf as a garnish!’

Not at all! I’ve given this recipe a fresh update, with stacks of punchy flavour from fresh lime juice and spicy sriracha chilli sauce. I’ve also ditched the cocktail glass which means you can load up your plate with lots of lovely, crispy, fresh greens.

Delicious and good for you? Perfect for banishing the cold weather blues, and if you’re lucky enough to be in sunnier climes, the perfect light dinner or lunch with a very chilled glass of white wine.


Can I use pre-cooked shrimp to make Spicy Shrimp Cocktail Salad?

If you’re really in a hurry, you can make this recipe with ready cooked prawns, though I think the flavour is better if they haven’t been hanging around too long – this is where a bag of frozen shrimp is a lifesaver – you can poach them straight from frozen – they’ll need about double the amount of time in the hot water to cook through.

Spicy Prawn Cocktail Salad
Spicy Prawn Cocktail Salad


Spicy Prawn Cocktail Salad

Spicy Prawn Cocktail Salad

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This Spicy Prawn Cocktail Salad recipe is fresh, zingy, with just the right amount of spice. Best of all, it's super quick and easy, and delicious too!


for the dressing:

  • 125 ml mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1-2 Tbsp sriracha chilli sauce
  • 20 ml lemon juice

for the salad:

  • 500 g large raw prawn tails, shelled and deveined
  • 1 tray ice-cubes, to cool the prawns
  • 2 salad hearts, little gem, butter, romaine
  • 1 large cucumber
  • handful of snow peas
  • ½ punnet alfalfa sprouts
  • salt & pepper

to serve:

  • lemon and lime wedges
  • some crunchy white bread


  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together, adjusting the amount of Sriracha to taste. Pour into a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add 1 tsp of salt and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Remove from the heat, tip in all of the prawns, then cover tightly with a lid. Allow to stand for 4-5 minutes until the prawns are opaque and pink, and curled into a tight ‘C’ shape.
  3. Meanwhile prepare a bowl of cold water with the ice cubes. When the prawn are cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the bowl of cold water. Allow to cool for a few minutes before draining - you can now finish peeling them if necessary - I like to leave a couple intact for the look, but I remove most of the skin.
  4. Wash the lettuce and separate the leaves, tearing any overly large ones into pieces. Pile onto a platter or individual plates if using. Use a vegetable peeler to peel long ribbons of cucumber, chopping the central core into cubes, and add to the platter. Slice the snow peas very finely, snip the sprouts and scatter both over the salad.
  5. Arrange the prawns on top, season with salt and pepper then drizzle over a little of the dressing. Serve with extra dressing on the side (I find everyone likes a different amount) and a few wedges of lemon and lime.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 314Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 647mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.

Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author, food photographer and Le Cordon Bleu Gastronomy and Nutrition graduate. Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

Articles: 337

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