How about a simple, flavour packed 15 minute Thai Prawn Salad with a zesty quick homemade Chilli Lime Dressing? Whether you speak in “prawn” language or “shrimp” language, this recipe is summer in a dish, and ideal when the weather is warm, or when its cold and you wish it were warm.
Juicy tender prawns (shrimp), bright leafy greens with zucchini noodles make this not only a superfood salad, but also a packed with fibre, like this Pulled Chicken Burrito Bowl, this Asian Salmon Butter Bean Salad, and this Summer Sausage Salad (So easy to pull together when you have nothing in in the fridge for dinner).
You can use Fresh Prawns or frozen prawns that have been defrosted. Either way its easy, delicious and great to clean out the cobwebs after a weekend bender of too many carbs, a little too much wine and maybe a bit too much chocolate.
How Spicy is this Thai Prawn Salad?
I’d describe this prawn salad as medium heat, and the heat comes from the dressing which contains one long red chilli, finely chopped with the seeds removed.
For a milder salad, use half a long red chilli, seeds removed. In addition, omit the pepper in the salad.
Make sure to definitely remove the seeds of the chilli as leaving them in will make this dish infinitely hotter. Also make sure to avoid buying the smaller red chilli’s as these tend to often be very hot - I stay way clear of these.
TIP: A quick way to remove the seeds from the chilli, is to slit the chilli on the curve with a sharp knife, and use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds in one go.
Prawn Salad Ingredients
- Whole medium green prawns (fresh or frozen)
- Zucchini Noodles (pre bought, or spiralize your own)
- Soy sauce + Coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon Olive/Coconut oil
- Shallots/spring onions + Green beans
- Essential Herbs: Coriander/Cilantro leaves, Mint leaves, Thai basil leaves
- Baby gem lettuce + lime zest
- Fried Shallots
- Lemongrass (optional)
How to Prepare the Prawns
Fresh Prawns: Peel the prawns and discard the heads, leaving tails intact. De-vein the prawns and chop each one into 2 or 3 chunky pieces depending on how big they are. You’re looking to create small bite sized pieces.
TIP: Avoid unpleasant smells and don’t throw prawn heads directly into the bin if bin day is a while away. Wrap them up and put them in a plastic bag and into the freezer until bin day.
Frozen Prawns: When I buy frozen prawns, I buy them with the head already removed and tail on, so I defrost them in the fridge naturally in a bowl with plastic wrap over. When they’ve defrosted, drain all the liquid using a strainer, and roughly pat prawns dry using paper towel. Cut into bite sized pieces.
Once you have the prawns prepared, don’t skip the step to marinate them. It really adds to the flavour and you only need to let them sit in the marinade for 15 minutes in the fridge. It makes a huge difference.
Thai Dressing Ingredients
- Fresh lime juice + Fish sauce
- Fresh red chilli + Freshly grated ginger
- Granulated sweetener that measures like sugar (for example: Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener)
How To Make the Dressing
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a whisk until combined. Alternatively you can put it into a jar with a secure lid and shake. Dressing makes about ⅔ of a cup.
This Thai Prawn Salad is so packed with flavour already that you don’t really need much extra, but if you love to go a bit OTT in the kitchen and get maximum bang for you buck, try some finely chopped peanuts sprinkled on top for extra texture.
You can buy these in small bags already chopped. I find them in the aisle where all the nuts are.
Alternatively you may like to try adding some lightly roasted white sesame seeds for a warm toasty hit on top.
Tips For Success
- Fresh herbs are essential to this recipe. Don’t even consider using dried. Fresh coriander/cilantro, Fresh Mint, and Fresh Thai Basil
- What to Use Instead of Thai Basil? If you can’t find this fresh in the supermarket, substitute with regular basil. I do it all the time because sometimes thai basil is hard to come by and I don’t want to make a special trip to the Asian grocer just to get it.
- Use fresh lime juice and fresh ginger. I know you can get lime juice in a bottle and crushed ginger in a bottle and there is a time and place for those things, convenient that they are. This is not one of those. Fresh lime juice and freshly grated ginger will go a long way to making this a standout Thai Prawn Salad and not a sad, drab wannabe asian salald.
- Chicken: Use ground chicken/chicken mince in place of the prawns, following the same instructions to marinate before frying off in a wok or pan.
- Beef: thinly cut beef strips (eg: sirloin, or topside) work well, marinated and then lightly cooked in the pan or wok in place of the prawns.
- Noodles: Instead of the zucchini noodles, you could use vermacilli noodles or glass noodles as they’re sometimes known. They’re they super thin, fine dried noodles you find in the Asian food aisle in the supermarket.
- Add Fruit: Take it up a notch and add some diced mango pieces on top to serve. The subtle hints of spiciness work wonderfully with the tender sweetness of the mango.
Making this simple, low carb Asian inspired Prawn Salad will send your tastebuds singing. Its light, fresh and definitely a meal on its own. Big enough for a dinner serving, or just a good for lunch, and a smashing way to impress your friends at a dinner party.
Thai Prawn Salad
- 600 grams/1.3 pounds whole medium green prawns
- ½ teaspoon Freshly ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Olive/Coconut oil
- 2 medium Shallots - thinly sliced
- 1 cup Green beans - cut into 3 cm lengths
- 2 cups Zucchini Noodles
- 1 cup Coriander/Cilantro leaves
- 1 cup Mint leaves
- 1 cup Thai basil leaves
- 1 baby gem lettuce - leaves torn
- Zest of 1 Lime
- ½ cup dried shallots
Chilli and Lime Dressing
- ⅓ cup Fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup Fish sauce
- 1 long fresh red chilli - deseeded and finely chopped
- 3 teaspoons Ginger - very finely grated
- 4 tablespoons stevia or other natural sweetener that measures like sugar
- Prepare the Prawns: Peel the prawns and discard the heads. De-vein the prawns and chop each one into 2 or 3 chunky pieces depending on how big they are.
- Prepare the Dressing: For the chilli and lime dressing, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a whisk until combined. Alternatively you can put it into a jar with a secure lid and shake. Dressing makes about ⅔ of a cup.
- Marinate the Prawns: Add the prawn meat to a bowl along with the fresh shallots, white pepper, soy sauce and ¼ cup of the chilli and lime dressing for 15 minutes.
- Cook the prawns: Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the prawns and cook for 5 minutes or until the marinade is crisp and prawns cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Prepare Zucchini noodles/beans: Add zucchini noodles and beans to a bowl of boiling water so they are just covered. Let them sit for 5 minutes, then drain.
- Transfer zucchini noodles and beans to a large bowl. Add the herbs, lettuce, and lime zest, ¼ cup chilli and lime dressing and ¼ cup dried shallots. Toss until combined. Add the cooked prawns and toss again. Serve immediately with the remaining dressing and dried shallots on top.
- This salad is best eaten as soon as its made. Avoid storing leftovers as they'll go soggy
- Frozen Prawns: buy them with the heads removed/tails on. Defrost naturally in fridge covered with plastic wrap. Drain excess liquid and roughly pat dry with paper towel before cooking.
- Spice Level: This is a medium level of spiciness if you make the recipe as is. To make it less spicy, omit the white pepper and some or all of the chilli
- Noodles: Vermacilli glass noodles can be used in lieu of zucchini noodles.
- Thai Basil: Use fresh regular basil if you can't find thai basil, it will produce much the same result.
- Lime juice/Ginger: Use fresh for best results as it gives a punchier flavour.