There's nothing like a classic Caesar salad, and this cajun shrimp salad is a zesty and healthier take on a traditional Caesar. Chopped kale replaces romaine lettuce; sliced radishes add some crunch and the homemade spicy Caesar dressing is completely keto-friendly. The juicy shrimp have an intense cajun flavor that pairs well with the creamy avocado. Overall, this is a bold salad with a bit of a kick!
Note: I originally posted this kale cajun shrimp salad recipe in Feb. 2020. It has since been updated with new photos, more tips and slight improvements to the original recipe to give you the best content possible!
why you'll love this cajun shrimp salad
Boring salads are so disappointing and this one is anything but. Similar to Cobb salads and my keto steak salad, this cajun shrimp salad recipe is the best combination of fresh veggies, flavorful proteins and an irresistible salad dressing.
Here's why you'll love this kale and shrimp salad:
- it's a healthy and nutritious meal that makes a great addition to any menu
- cajun shrimp salad is also low carb, keto friendly, gluten-free and dairy optional (omit the Parmesan cheese if needed)
- this salad is packed with flavor and yummy goodies
- it's a fun spin on a traditional Caesar salad (and who doesn't love a good Caesar?!)
is Caesar dressing keto?
I've seen many variations of Caesar salad dressings (recipes and store-bought) that claim to be low-carb or keto friendly. The truth is, they might be sugar-free or have zero carbs, but that doesn't make them healthy.
I always, always, always read the ingredient list. And almost always, store-bought dressings are made with unhealthy, highly processed oils that are high in omega-6 and pro-inflammatory.
This homemade keto Caesar dressing features a blend of extra virgin olive oil (affiliate link), egg yolks and coconut milk.
It's a low-carb version of a traditional Caesar salad dressing which is made with raw egg yolks. Once you whip in the olive oil, you're essentially creating your own olive oil mayonnaise.
It's packed with flavor thanks to fresh garlic, tomato paste, lemon juice and anchovies. A dash of cayenne pepper brings the heat!
the ingredient list
To make this cajun shrimp salad, you will need:
- anchovies (or sub anchovy paste)
- fresh garlic, minced
- egg yolks
- Dijon mustard
- tomato paste
- fresh parsley, chopped
- ground cayenne pepper
- lemon juice
- salt and black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- full-fat coconut milk
- horseradish (optional)
- kale, de-ribbed and chopped
- wild-caught shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- cajun seasoning
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
cajun shrimp salad recipe
This recipe is pretty simple- make the dressing, toss the chopped kale into a large bowl (massage it if you'd like), cook up the spicy shrimp, then assemble the salad and enjoy.
And while there is a bit of chopping involved, just think of it as a no-rush, Saturday night dinner type of salad and enjoy the process. Perhaps turn up the tunes or put on a podcast and chop away.
Here's a quick run-down of the steps involved, but be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the full recipe card!
In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the spicy keto Caesar salad dressing (this can be done up to three days in advance).
In a large mixing bowl or salad bowl, add the kale with about half of the dressing and Parmesan. Toss to combine and let the kale sit in the fridge to soften while you prepare the shrimp.
Arrange the raw shrimp on a plate or baking sheet and sprinkle them with cajun seasoning. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add some olive oil to the pan. When it glistens, cook the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes per side.
Assemble the salad by adding the cooked shrimp to the kale. Top with sliced avocado, Parmesan cheese, sliced radishes. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.
recipe tips for kale cajun shrimp salad
- Choose wild shrimp for the best overall taste. I try to find frozen wild-caught shrimp that are already peeled and de-veined to save quite a bit of prep time.
- Other yummy add-ins to this salad include cherry tomatoes, sliced red onions or green onions. The spiciness of the cajun shrimp will vary based on the type of cajun seasoning you use. If you don't have store-bought seasoning, I like this cajun seasoning recipe. It makes a larger batch and you can store the remainder in your spice cabinet for later uses.
- When pan-frying the shrimp, keep in mind the cook time will vary greatly based on the size of the shrimps. You'll know they're done when they're no longer translucent but instead opaque in color.
- You will most likely end up with leftover dressing. Store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week.
- I've made this kale Caesar shrimp salad with both curly kale and Tuscan kale. Use whichever one you prefer as long as the kale is de-ribbed and sliced thin.
- For an extra crunch, you can toast up some sunflower seeds or slivered almonds with cajun seasoning in the oven! Toss about a cup of sunflower seeds in a little olive oil, sprinkle on about 1-½ to 2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning, and toast at 400°F for about five minutes.
This kale and shrimp Caesar salad is a healthier, nutrient-dense version of the classic, made even tastier with spicy, tender shrimp!
I hope you enjoy this cajun shrimp salad recipe as much my family does! It's filling and flavorful and perfectly fitting for a relaxed, weekend dinner.
you might also love...
- This quick and easy recipe for a low-carb cabbage and sausage soup with roasted vegetables.
- The creamiest (for real) keto cauliflower mash which only requires three ingredients.
- Smoked salmon and dill egg muffins for a delicious and simple keto breakfast that's perfect on the go! (p.s. it's also dairy-free!)
- A copycat Chick-Fil-A kale salad that's better than the original!
- Air fryer halibut (en papillote) for an easy and sophisticated air fryer recipe.
- Keto gumbo, a low-carb and paleo version of a New Orleans favorite.
cajun caesar dressing
- 2 flat anchovy fillets, minced (or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk (or sub whipping cream)
- ½ teaspoon horseradish (optional)
kale cajun shrimp salad
- 1 bunch kale, de-ribbed and chopped small
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 4-5 radishes, sliced
- 1 avocado
- 1 pound large, wild-caught shrimp (peeled and de-veined)
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (see notes for homemade)
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (omit if dairy-free)
cajun caesar dressing
- In a medium mixing bowl, add the anchovy fillets (or paste), minced garlic and egg yolks. Whisk to combine.
- Add the Dijon mustard, tomato paste, lemon juice, parsley, cayenne, salt and pepper, whisking well.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil as you whisk it into the mixture. It will begin to thicken.
- Stir in the coconut milk. Taste and adjust, adding more salt and pepper or cayenne if needed, or more coconut milk if it's too salty. The saltiness will vary depending on the anchovies. If using horseradish, mix it in at this time, also to your taste preference.
kale caesar salad
- Wash, dry and de-rib the kale. Cut it into thin ribbons, then cut crosswise to make them smaller.
- In a large mixing bowl or salad bowl, add the cut kale with about half of the salad dressing and all of the parmesan cheese. Toss to combine, then set the bowl in the fridge while you prepare the shrimp. This step will help soften the kale.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Place the shrimp on a plate or baking sheet and sprinkle with cajun seasoning. Dredge the shrimp through the excess seasoning to coat the other side.
- Fry the shrimp in the skillet for about 2-3 minutes per side, until they're pink and fully-cooked (they will turn opaque in color). Set aside.
- Assemble the salad by placing the sliced avocado, radishes and cooked shrimp on top. Sprinkle on more parmesan cheese and serve the salad with the remaining cajun Caesar dressing on the side.
I often use this recipe for cajun seasoning. It makes a large batch and I keep the remainder in the pantry for later use!
When pan-frying the shrimp, keep in mind the cook time will vary greatly based on the size of the shrimps.
Curly kale and Tuscan kale are both good options. Use whichever one you prefer as long as the kale is de-ribbed and sliced thin.
For an extra crunch, you can toast up some sunflower seeds or slivered almonds with cajun seasoning in the oven. Toss 1 cup sunflower seeds in a little olive oil and sprinkle with 1-½ to 2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning. Spread onto a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes at 400°F.
This salad will refrigerate well. Leftovers will keep for up to one day. Dressing will keep up to one week stored in an airtight container.
Nutrition information includes the entire recipe for the caesar salad dressing. You'll most likely have leftover dressing, so keep in mind the nutrition information will be much lower than the estimate provided here.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 750Total Fat: 67gSaturated Fat: 12.1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 54.9gCholesterol: 275mgSodium: 280mgCarbohydrates: 12.7gNet Carbohydrates: 7gFiber: 5.7gSugar: 2.7gProtein: 29.3g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.