Mom’s Favorite Shrimp Salad: The California Louie

by Sally on May 6, 2012 · 2 comments

in Fish & Shellfish, Salads and Dressings, The Daniel Plan

She taught me to scramble eggs, make perfect white sauce and chicken soup. How I miss being in the kitchen with my mom. In her honor, I’m making her favorite shrimp salad for Mother’s Day – the classic Shrimp Louie, California style.

The best thing you can give your mom on Mother’s Day is your time. Don’t spend all day in the kitchen. Spend time with her by being present. This shrimp salad, a west coast classic, is easily assembled for a terrific Mother’s Day lunch. You’ll spend minimal time in the kitchen. Gather your ingredients the day before, hard boil a few eggs, make the dressing and you’re practically ready.

If you asked my mom where she wanted to go for lunch, she’d say The Original Fish Company in Los Alamitos, CA. She loved to order the seafood and avocado Louie salad. In her honor, I’ve created my version of the recipe using the classic components.

Easy Assembly, Healthy Salad

Often done with pricey Dungeness crab, bay shrimp is an economical option for this salad. Cooked bay shrimp are available at most seafood counters and markets. They also come cooked and frozen, ready to go by quick thawing under cold water.

To create the salad you’ll need sturdy lettuce greens like romaine, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, shrimp and the traditional dressing. I like to add crisp, sweet Persian cucumber slices and a few asparagus spears for crunch and color.

According to The Food Lovers Companion, the classic Louie dressing is a combination of mayonnaise, chili sauce, cream, scallions, green peppers, lemon and seasonings. My variation uses Vegenaise, my favorite mayo for it’s light, clean taste. I skip the green peppers (because my family won’t touch them) and skip the cream to reduce fat. The scallions (or chives), can be added to the dressing or sprinkled on top of the salad as garnish.

If You Can Take the Heat

To give the dressing some kick, I use Sriracha, a prepared hot chili sauce. It’s available in most markets. Use it sparingly, unless you can take the heat. It’s really hot (at least for me, I’m a heat wimp). You can also use Tabasco or horseradish. This dressing is so good that while we were shooting the photo I couldn’t stop dipping cucumber slices in it and eating them, so it works as a good dip for raw veggies too.

If you are a heat lover, see the link below for a homemade Sriracha sauce recipe from our friends Todd Porter and Diane Cu. They publish  White on Rice Couple.

This Mother’s Day, spend time with your mom instead of in the kitchen. Relax together, share old memories and create new ones. And by all means, take photos. She won’t be around forever.

Me and Mom in the kitchen, 2005

Mom’s Favorite Shrimp Salad: The California Louie

This classic west coast shrimp salad is easily assembled for a terrific lunch, brunch or picnic.  Gather your ingredients the day before. Hard boil some eggs, wash the lettuce, and make your dressing. A crusty roll or garlic toast make a nice accompaniment. Start with half of the hot sauce if you are heat sensitive.  The dressing makes a great dip for raw veggies too. For a smooth, creamy dressing, skip the celery and sprinkle the chives over the salad.

Serves 4 (halves easily)



  • 1 cup (8 ounces/135 g) reduced fat Vegenaise or your favorite light mayonnaise
  • 3-4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons (32 gr) finely chopped celery (optional)
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon (24 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons (5-6 ml) hot sauce, like Sriracha or Tabasco (horseradish works too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons milk (optional to thin the dressing if desired)


  • 2-3 hearts of romaine lettuce (size varies, enough for 4 people)
  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked small shrimp
  • 4 hard boiled eggs (for hot water method, see directions in my recipe)
  • 16  sweet grape tomatoes, washed and slice in half (or 4 Roma tomatoes quartered)
  • 1 large ripe avocado, quartered and sliced
  • 3-4 small Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber, sliced thin
  • 12 spears of asparagus (optional, but nice)
  • lemon wedges, optional
  • 1 tablespoon (6 gr) finely chopped chives


  1. The day ahead – Make dressing, cover and refrigerate. Hard boil eggs, cool, peel and refrigerate. Directions on how to make perfect, easy to peel hard boil eggs are in my Deviled Eggs post.
  2. Wash romaine leaves (if not pre-washed) and wrap loosely in paper towels placed in a zip bag to remain crisp. For asparagus spears, snap off the ends. Drop into boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes depending on their thickness, or until crisp but tender when pierced with a sharp paring knife. Chill in a bowl of ice water immediately to stop the cooking process. Drain and refrigerate.
  3. The day of serving, chop romaine leaves across for the salad base. Save a few leaf tops for a nice presentation if desired. Place romaine on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Top the greens with sliced avocado, tomatoes, egg quarters, and asparagus spears. Toss the shrimp with a little dressing. Place on top of the salad. Serve extra dressing on the side. If you want to thin the dressing for pouring, use a little milk. 

Other Fun Links:

History of classic salads and dressings, a fun read and good one to bookmark.

For you chili heads who love the heat, here’s a recipe for homemade Sriracha chili sauce from our the White On Rice Couple

Check out the products from Follow Your Heart and pick up some Vegenaise. It’s really terrific.

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This post contains links to Affiliate Programs, where I may receive a small commission for any purchases.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jamie May 7, 2012 at 10:19 am

I don’t even know where to start with this lovely post. What a beautiful thought to make this dish your mom loved…and what a fantastic recipe. As a shrimp lover, this dressing is amazing! I wish I lived close enough to my mom to be able to share a dish like this with her.


2 Madonna May 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm

My nephew orders this anytime we can find it on a menu. Guess I will have to make it for him. Sriracha is a nice touch. Yum.


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