The California Shrimp Louie Salad

By Sally Cameron on May 06, 2012

fish & seafood, 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 memory of my mom, I’m making her favorite shrimp salad for Mother’s Day – the California Shrimp Louie Salad.

Shrimp Louie Salad |

The California Shrimp Louie Salad

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

This shrimp salad is a west coast classic and it’s 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.

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. She won’t be around forever.

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.

hardboiled eggs |

Herb Roasted Cherry tomatoes|

The Dressing

According to The Food Lovers Companion, classic Louie dressing is a combination of mayonnaise, chili sauce, cream, scallions, green peppers, lemon and seasonings. My variation uses Vegenaisemy 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 like food spicy. It’s really hot (at least for me, I’m a heat wimp). You can also use Tabasco. 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.

Other Fun Links:

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

Shrimp Louie Salad |
Print Recipe

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.
Servings 4 servings



  • 1 cup  reduced fat Vegenaise or your favorite light mayonnaise 8 ounces/135 g
  • 3-4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery 32 gr, optional
  • 1 large garlic clove finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 24 ml
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce 5-6 ml, horseradish works too, like Sriracha or Tabasco
  • 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 pound cooked small shrimp
  • 4 hard boiled eggs for hot water method, see directions in my recipe
  • 16   sweet grape tomatoes or 4 Roma tomatoes quartered, washed and slice in half
  • 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 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.


Leave a Comment
Jamie | 05/07/2012 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.

Madonna | 05/07/2012 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.

Rachel | 10/16/2016 at 10:34 am

Surprising my hardworking beautiful daughter with this dish tomorrow on her day off. thankyou lord.

    Sally Cameron | 10/16/2016 at 10:38 am

    How sweet of you Rachel! Hope you have a wonderful day together tomorrow.

BARBARA MEDLIN | 04/15/2017 at 12:50 pm

I am a transplant from the S.F. bay area and LOVED Crab Louie’s!! I recently was given some canned Crab and made some Louie Dressing. Can I freeze it?

    Sally Cameron | 04/15/2017 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Barbara, i would say not. This is one thing best made and enjoyed fresh. Such a good salad with either crab or shrimp!

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