Spicy Basil and Grilled Shrimp Salad

Make your summer party complete

A summer shrimp salad dinner
Shrimp grilling on my uncle's grill.

I love shrimp. There are so many things you can do with it, from tossing it in rich shrimp and grits, to throwing it on the barbecue, to stir frying it with veggies, to stirring it into a scampi. There are literally endless options. However, I always tend to crave shrimp the most during the summer. This is why I chose to feature it in this cool, zesty, and refreshing spicy basil and grilled shrimp salad.

This dish is PERFECT for your summer table. We served it outside with my mom, aunt, and uncle for company. It’s not challenging to make. Therefore, I was able to dart between the kitchen and the patio table to chat and enjoy a cocktail while I cooked. The best part was that it was a total hit with my family, and I’m sure it will be with yours as well.

So, keep reading to learn all the tips and tricks, or click the video for a step-by-step Cooking School tutorial.

Why make this spicy basil and grilled shrimp salad?

Shrimp skewers ready to be put on the grill.

I wanted to create a flavorful and light summer meal that is quick to come together and utilizes produce from the garden. So, this salad was born. We harvested fresh, crispy lettuce, tender basil, and spicy fresno peppers from the raised beds. The lettuce adds crispness, the basil adds a hint of herby tang, and we use the Fresno peppers in the shrimp marinade for more potent spice.

Vegetable Base

Additionally, I wanted the vegetable base of this salad to be cold. It’s been steadily in the 90’s here. The last things we wanted to do were to heat up the kitchen or consume a hot meal.

Lettuce from the garden.

In fact, you can even make the noodle and vegetable base for this dish several hours to a day ahead of time to give it time to fully chill in the fridge. The flavors only get better with time!

Vegetable noodle mixture for the spicy basil and grilled shrimp salad.

I also love to add whole pea pods to salads. Snow peas take center stage in this one. They bring crunch and sweetness to the palette, counteracting the soft chewiness of the noodles.

What are cellophane noodles?

Speaking of the noodles, we use cellophane noodles. If you don’t know what these are, they’re commonly used in stir fries and soups, and are well-known for their transparent appearance. They have a chewy texture that is similar to angel hair pasta, and they hold up well during cooking. Best of all, they are gluten free and can be found in most grocery stores or on Amazon.

Shrimp marinade.

Grilling Technique

Finally, let’s talk about technique. It can be intimidating to cook shrimp on the grill for the first time. Don’t worry! If you put them on skewers, they are way easier to turn and move around on the grill. And as long as you keep a close eye on them and remove them promptly when they become pink and opaque, they’ll be perfectly cooked and you will have officially slayed your shrimp grilling technique.

Vegan Option!

For a vegan version of this spicy basil and grilled shrimp salad, cook up a batch of my crispy fried tofu and use that in place of the shrimp. Alternatively, you can cube some raw tofu, marinate it exactly as you would marinate the shrimp, stick it on some skewers, and grill it for 10-15 minutes over medium heat, flipping halfway through! Equally easy and equally delicious!

Shrimp Context

Serve this recipe alongside some chilled Pinot Grigio and garnish with sesame seeds. I like to amp up my garnishes by adding some zesty condiments. Sriracha and sambal oelek work so well for this because of their delicious acidity. Or, if spice and acid aren’t your thing, try drizzling some sweet mirin (Japanese rice wine) over the salad. Literally everything tastes great on top of this dish, so feel free to go wild with your toppings

Funny story before I go: one of the best things about having a food blog is cooking for my testing entourage (a.k.a. my family). They give me their honest opinions on everything I cook, and they’re there to save my…apron…when things go wrong. In the case of this dish, I was all set to go, and then realized that I’d run out of cooking gas for the grill. That’s when my uncle, Zio, stepped in and offered us the use of his grill. So, if you make this recipe and love it, thank Zio because he made it all possible.

Spicy basil and grilled shrimp salad.
Spicy basil and grilled shrimp.

I’d love to know if you’ve made this at home and how you chose to serve it! Also, if you’ve been loving our recipes and tips, be sure to hit us up on social media for additional content :).

Love to you all! I’ll be back soon with a homemade comfort classic!

Spicy Basil and Grilled Shrimp Salad

This is a cool and refreshing summer salad topped with plump grilled shrimp and just a tiny bit of spice. It’s the perfect balance of flavors!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Marinating Time:: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad, Entree
Cuisine: Healthy!
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: Gluten-free, Vegan option, quick, easy, salad, shrimp, basil, grilling, summertime recipes, healthy recipes, seafood
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 390kcal
Author: LM

Equipment

  • Grill

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. shrimp peeled and deveined with heads removed
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 8 oz. glass noodles *also known as cellophane or bean thread noodles
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce

For the shrimp marinade:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar packed
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Fresno pepper finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 tsp. ginger finely minced

Optional garnishes:

  • sesame seeds
  • sriracha sauce or other chili garlic sauces
  • mirin

Instructions

To prepare the vegetable and noodle base:

  • Bring a medium-sized pot of water just barely to a boil and then off the heat.
  • Add the dried cellophane noodles to the water and make sure that they are completely submerged.
  • Let them soak, checking the texture every 5 minutes or so until they become al dente.
  • Drain them in a colander and rinse briefly with cold water to stop their cooking.
  • In the meantime, heat a large skillet or wok and 1 tsp. of the sesame oil over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is shimmering, add the snow peas and soy sauce, and toss to fully coat the peas in soy sauce and oil.
  • Cook until the green of the snow peas becomes more vibrant and they become slightly more tender.
  • Add the drained and rinsed noodles to the skillet, tossing to separate and evenly distribute them. Add more oil if noodles begin sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Cook until the noodles are just beginning to brown and they have absorbed the soy sauce and oil. Remove immediately from the heat and place them in a large bowl in the refrigerator until they have completely cooled. You can make this part of the recipe several hours to a day before grilling the shrimp.
  • Once the salad has completely cooled, add the basil and stir to make sure it’s thoroughly incorporated into the noodles and peas.

Marinate the shrimp:

  • To a small bowl, add brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, Fresno peppers, and lime juice, then whisk to combine.
  • Add the shrimp and marinade to a large freezer bag. Seal it and then shake it or massage it to coat the shrimp in the marinade.
  • Place the bag flat in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.

Grill the shrimp:

  • Once the shrimp has finished marinating, place them on skewers in even portions.
  • Grill over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes total, flipping once halfway through the cooking time. You’ll know the shrimp are fully cooked when they become firm, opaque, and pink.

To serve:

  • Evenly divide the noodle salad between desired number of serving bowls and top those with 4-6 shrimp.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds. You can also add sriracha or any other chili garlic sauce. If you don’t like spicy foods, mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) also makes a lovely condiment.

Notes

To make this recipe vegan, simply cube some fresh tofu, marinate exactly as I’ve described the shrimp above, place the tofu cubes on skewers, and grill them for 10-15 minutes over high heat. Flip once halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 286mg | Sodium: 450mg | Potassium: 198mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 621IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!