California Shrimp Salad


When I graduated from college, I received a graduation gift from one of my long-time family friends. The gift was a vegetarian cookbook, titled The New Laurel’s Kitchen by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, and Brian Ruppenthal. As someone who loves to cook, I was so excited to receive a cookbook! Even though I am not a vegetarian, I love the way that fruits and vegetables fill me with energy on a daily basis, so I am always looking for great plant-based recipes! What made this gift even more special was the note inside from my family friend. She said that she had been using this cookbook in her family for years. I love that each time I make a recipe for my family, I am connecting with hers.

One of my favorite recipes of all time is “California Tossed Salad”, or as we call it simply in my family, “California Salad” – over time my family has modified it even further to meet our taste preferences. This delicious and refreshing salad is made with romaine lettuce, avocado, cucumber, and red onion, as well as croutons and parmesan cheese. In the cookbook, no dressing was included, but I like to make mine with a tasty homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Additionally, since this salad does not include a complete source of protein, I personally like to include shrimp for additional protein. Any protein source, such as chicken, beef, or a plant-based source like tofu would be a great addition to this versatile dish!

Remember, incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet means increasing volume of fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based food sources. It does not mean “meatless” or “vegetarian”. Some people find that when they increase plant-based foods at meals, they can also decrease the portion size of meat at the meal. Being plant-based provides many options and flexibility to fuel your body.

To make your own California Salad at home, follow this recipe:

California Shrimp Salad

  • Serves: 2-4


    For the salad:

    2 heads romaine lettuce

    1 cucumber

    ½ red onion

    2 avocados

    1 cup croutons

    ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

    12 oz cooked, frozen shrimp, thawed

    • For the dressing:
      • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
      • 2 tbsp olive oil
      • ½ tsp garlic powder
      • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard


      1. Wash and dry all produce.
      2. Chop the romaine lettuce, peel and dice the cumber, dice the red onion, and dice the avocado into small cubes and place into a large mixing bowl.
      3. Combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl and mix well.
      4. Dress salad with dressing and add the croutons, parmesan cheese, and shrimp. Toss well.
      5. Enjoy the salad among good friends or family!

    Robin Kohnhorst

    Robin Kohnhorst is a dietetic intern and graduate student at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. Prior to starting at SHSU, she graduated with her BS in nutrition from Texas A&M University. Robin enjoys running outside and loves to cook! She has really enjoyed her dietetic internship thus far and is looking forward to the day she is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

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