Seriously Simple: Shrimp Louie is a fresh take on a classic

Seriously Simple: Shrimp Louie Is A Fresh Take On A Classic
Diane Rossen Worthington/TNS

This Louie filling is packed with juicy shrimp pieces along with crisp diced cucumber and watermelon radish.

Shrimp Louie is a classic California salad made famous in 1950 from The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. There are many stories of who originally invented this refreshing salad, but it looks like it was a chef from somewhere on the West Coast.

As a California native, I have enjoyed many a Shrimp Louie salad at a small seafood stand in the famous Farmers Market of Los Angeles. Sometimes I change it up and add fresh chunks of Dungeness crab with the shrimp. These days, fresh crab meat has become impossibly expensive. Fresh cooked shrimp is still within our budget

The original salad always includes shredded lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, shrimp and a zesty Thousand Island-style dressing. I wanted to take this idea and make it an easy, no-cook Seriously Simple meal that you could serve as a main course or an appetizer.

This Louie filling is packed with juicy shrimp pieces along with crisp diced cucumber and watermelon radish. A dice of avocado and chopped tomatoes all add up to a tasty tangle of shrimp and vegetables enriched with the Louie dressing. If you’re a purist, feel free to add some chopped hard-boiled egg to the garnish.

Look for butter lettuce or light green romaine leaves as the cup to hold the filling. You can also use iceberg lettuce or little gem leaves. The crowning touch to these seafood cups is a sprinkling of smoked paprika that brings all the flavors together. Feel free to multiply this recipe for a group.

Shrimp Louie in Lettuce Cups

Serves 2

  • 1/2 pound cooked shrimp, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 Persian cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons 1/2-inch dice watermelon radish
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon bottled white horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

To serve:

  • 6 lettuce cups, butter lettuce or romaine leaves
  • For garnish:
  • 2 tablespoons 1/2-inch-dice tomato
  • Smoked paprika

1. In a medium bowl combine the shrimp, cucumber, radish and avocado.

2. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and mix to combine. Add the dressing to the filling and coat the ingredients. Make sure to keep avocado intact. Taste for seasoning.

3. Arrange the lettuce cups on a plate and spoon the filling evenly among the lettuce leaves. Garnish with tomato dice and finish with a sprinkling of smoked paprika. Serve immediately.

(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at