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This summery Grilled Shrimp Salad is light, crisp, and refreshing, but totally satisfying. You’ll love the succulent shrimp paired with fresh fruit, tangy goat cheese, and a zingy Strawberry Lime Poppyseed Vinaigrette. Gluten free and packed with flavor!
Summery Grilled Shrimp Salad with Strawberry Lime Poppyseed Dressing
Years back, I used to go to Zumba class in the evening. It was just late enough that I had to have dinner before class or I’d pass out. But if you have ever done Zumba, you know that you probably don’t want to have a belly full of lasagna or tacos or chili right before you go jump and dance around for an hour.
That means Wednesday night was salad night in our house. Not that my husband and then-toddler were all that excited about salads on the regular. So I had to keep it creative and hearty enough for the husband’s appetite. But it also had to include ingredients that a 2-year-old would eat. A 2-year-old who, at that point, wanted nothing to do with lettuce.
That’s where this grilled shrimp salad came from. I have always loved a little sweet in my savory salads. And can’t resist the combination of watermelon and feta or goat cheese. It’s such a bright and fresh flavor for the summer.
But to really get those warm-weather vibes, I added in even more fruit plus some zippy grilled shrimp. It’s an unexpected flavor combination that makes the perfect light but satisfying meal!
What You’ll Need to Make This Salad
For the Grilled Shrimp
A super simple quick marinade gives the shrimp and extra little burst of flavor.
- Limes: Use a zester to get the zest off of the limes before you cut them in hal
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper: Just a pinch or two, to taste.
- Shrimp: While raw is preferred, you can use pre-cooked shrimp in a pinch. It still doesn’t hurt to give it a soak in the marinade and a couple of minutes on the grill or grill pan for that extra flavor. Make sure it is peeled and deveined.
For the Salad
It’s really super simple to toss these ingredients together.
- Pine nuts: Toasting them in a skillet gives a nice, toasty flavor and provides a bit of crunch for the salad.
- Mixed spring greens: You can also use your favorite greens, such as romaine, arugula, or spinach.
- Chopped fruit: For the best bright, summery flavor, I like equal parts mango, pineapple, and watermelon. But feel free to mix it up.
- Goat cheese: You’ll love the tangy flavor when you crumble it on this salad.
- Strawberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette: A simple and super delicious recipe is included, but you can also use bottled dressing. We like one made by Marzetti in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, but there are other ones available in the store and online.
For the Strawberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette
While you can buy a bottle, this really only takes seconds to whiz up in the blender.
- Strawberries: Chop them up so they blend easier.
- Lime juice: Make sure it is fresh.
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper: A little sprinkle to taste.
- Poppy seeds
Making the Shrimp Salad
Here are some of the details for making the salad, but make sure you check out the recipe card for the quantities and step-by-step instructions.
Grill the shrimp: Whisk together the marinade ingredients and add the shrimp. Let it marinate for 15-30 minutes. Preheat your grill or grill pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. If you are using raw shrimp, make sure it is pink and cooked through. Pre-cooked shrimp ust needs a couple inutes to be warmes up and get a little of that grill flavor.
Make the dressing: Toss all of the ingredients in a blender or mini food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl or jar and stir in the poppy seeds.
Assemble the salad: You can make one big salad to toss and serve, or individual salads. Fill a large bowl or individual plates or bowls with the greens. Top with the fruit and grilled shrimp. Crumble over the goat cheese and sprinkle on the pine nuts. Drizzle with the dressing. Toss, if desired, and enjoy right away!
- Instead of watermelon, mango, and pineapple, try other fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and peaches. Even cucumber or tomato will add a little savory freshness.
- If you don’t like goat cheese, skip it, or try feta, cotija, queso fresco, or go a little crazy with blue cheese.
- Change out the pine nuts for another crunchy option such as walnuts, toasted unsweetened coconut, even something unusual like Tropical Granola.
Things That Will Come in Handy
- Grab a Microplane zester and a handheld juicer for those four limes you need for this recipe.
- If you are making the dressing, a strawberry huller makes prepping the strawberries super fast.
- But you can also buy a bottle of Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing if you prefer.
Fruity Summer Shrimp Salad
For the Shrimp:
- Zest and juice from two limes
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb. raw or precooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
For the Salad:
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 8 cups (two 5 oz. bags) mixed spring greens
- 3 cups chopped fruit (equal parts mango, pineapple, and watermelon, or your fruit of choice)
- 4 oz. goat cheese , crumbled
- Strawberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette (see below or storebought)
For the Shrimp:
- Combine the lime juice and zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk together.
- Add the shrimp, and marinate for 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat a grill or grill pan on the stove.
- Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. If you are using precooked shrimp, you just want to get them warmed with a bit of the grill flavor. If you are using raw shrimp, you want them to be pink and cooked through.
- Remove from the pan and set aside.
For the Salad:
- Prepare the dressing, if making it from scratch.
- Place a skillet over low heat and add the pine nuts (do not use any oil). Let them toast for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently until golden and giving off a nice, toasted aroma. Be careful not to let them burn, as this can happen quickly. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place the lettuce into one large salad bowl or divide between individual plates or bowls.
- Top with the fruit, grilled shrimp, goat cheese, and pine nuts.
- Drizzle with the vinaigrette, about 2 Tablespoons on each individual serving or about 1/2 cup over one full salad. Toss, if desired and enjoy immediately.
For the Strawberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette:
- Combine all of the ingredients except poppy seeds in a blender or mini food processor, and blend till pureed and emulsified.
- Stir in poppy seeds.