Does it seem weird to post shrimp and rice salad on a windy and snowy day when the temperatures won’t get above freezing? Not in my world, where visions of Sunday brunch and civilized lunches with friends dance in my head. The salad won’t change the climate outside, but it makes me feel like warm and happy inside.
Colorful, crunchy, and loaded with vegetables as well as shrimp, the salad uses leftover rice as a “base” and is finished with a light and lovely lemon vinaigrette. When summer arrives, this shrimp salad will be spectacular, stuffed into ripe tomatoes. In the meantime, it’s great served on its own or piled on a roll or between two slices of really good bread.
There’s no shame in buying pre-cooked shrimp for this recipe or using frozen shrimp, some of which are quite good. I happened to have shrimp left over from an Asian soup I made earlier in the week.
You can use any type of black or green olives that suits your fancy or that you have on hand. I used the last of my Cerignola green olives from Mrs. Wheelbarrrow’s fennel, orange, and olive refrigerator pickles. They’re not salty, but have a nice “bite.” Olives vary considerably in taste and the garden-variety canned black olives (packed in water) are milder tasting than brine-cured olives. Which ones you use impacts how much salt you add (less if the olives are salty) as well as the overall taste of the salad. Here’s a great guide to olives from Zingerman’s, a famous deli in Ann Arbor. Of course, if you’re an olive-hater, leave them out, but they do impart a nice flavor that’s isn’t too pronounced.
The dressing for this shrimp and rice salad is a simple vinaigrette, with a pronounced lemon flavor. I like it so much I double it and saving half for tossed or even chopped salad. If you’re going to serve the salad a few hours later or the next day, extra vinaigrette is nice to add because the salad does absorb some of the dressing over time.
Shrimp and Rice Salad
Servings – 3-4 as a salad or sandwich Cost – $5
- 4 ounces, medium cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in thirds
- 1 cup cooked rice (preferably jasmine), cold
- 2 scallions, mostly green part, chopped (aobut 2 tablespoons
- ¼ cup diced pepper
- ¼ cup diced celery
- ¼ cup diced cucumber (center section with seeds removed if too juicy)
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 2 tablespoons diced olives (see note above)
- 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley, preferably flat leaf or Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- ¼ – ⅓ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise (Optional. Also, you can substitute sour cream or yogurt.)
- Cutting board
- Medium-large bowl
- Measuring spoons
- Spatula or large spoon
- Small jar with tight fitting lid or small bowl & fork or spoon to stir dressing
- Chop the shrimp and dice the vegetables and add-ins.
- Mix the shrimp and vegetables with the rice. Add the dill, olives, and parsley.
- In the separate jar or small bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, lemon zest and (optional) mayonnaise. Mix well and pour over the salad. Toss and chill for at least 30 minutes – 1 hour to let the flavors meld together.
Serve as a salad on its own, on top of baby spinach or arugula, or stuffed in tomatoes, or in a sandwich.