This Mediterranean shrimp salad is full of Mediterranean summer flavors! It combines whole wheat orzo with paprika-rubbed shrimp, feta cheese, cucumbers, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and is drizzled with a citrusy lemon vinaigrette.
This Mediterranean shrimp salad is perfect for anyone who's looking for a filling and satisfying salad. The whole wheat orzo packs a healthy punch of fiber and protein. The shrimp and feta cheese bump up that protein content even more (more filling power!). The veggies offer vitamins, minerals, even more fiber, and lots of great texture and crunch. And to finish it off, the lemon-shallot vinaigrette offers healthy fats from the olive oil and the most delicious, citrus-forward zingy taste. YUM!
- Shrimp: I personally like the jumbo or extra-large shrimp and find that it's best when they're de-veined and peeled.
- Whole wheat orzo: Feel free to swap out with regular orzo if you prefer.
- Cucumber: I prefer English cucumbers and Persian cucumbers as I think they have more flavor than the other varieties I've tried.
- Bell pepper: Perfect for that crunch (and vitamin C!).
- Tomatoes: I love using cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes in salads like this because they're less watery but feel free to use any tomato you prefer!
- Feta cheese: The perfect briny and salty cheese to finish off this salad. I always find that the whole blocks have much more flavor and taste more authentic than the pre-crumbled feta cheese.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Use a quality olive-oil if possible! It makes a world of difference in the taste. I personally prefer O-Live organic olive oil.
- Paprika: One of my favorite spices and it adds so much flavor to the shrimp.
- Lemon juice: Use freshly squeezed lemon if possible.
- White wine vinegar: Helps to add even more acidity to the dressing.
- Shallot: I try to let the shallot soak in vinegar for a few minutes to soften the harshness of the shallot (also known as macerate).
- Parsley: Fresh herbs make such a flavorful and fresh garnish for just about any dish, this salad included.
How to Make Mediterranean Shrimp Salad
- Orzo: Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. You'll know it's done when it has a firm and chewy texture. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Shrimp: Thaw and pat shrimp dry completely with a paper towel. In a medium bowl, combine smoked paprika, juice from ½ lemon, and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add shrimp to bowl and mix well to coat the shrimp with the spice mixture. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Cook the shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side, or until it is opaque and cooked through. Cook in batches if needed. Remove from heat.
- Lemon vinaigrette: Soak minced shallot in white wine vinegar. Combine and mix 4 tablespoons olive oil, juice from remaining ½ lemon, minced shallot, white wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble: In individual bowls, combine cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, shrimp, and orzo. Drizzle desired amount of vinaigrette over salad. *Store leftover vinaigrette in the fridge for up to 2 days.*
- Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve and enjoy!
- To make your life easier, buy de-veined shrimp (so you don't have to de-vein them yourself!). Peel them (or buy them pre-peeled) before cooking.
- If you're using frozen shrimp, make sure they are thawed completely before cooking. To thaw shrimp quickly, simply put the frozen shrimp in a large bowl and place it under cold, running water until they are thawed. Pat them dry completely before cooking.
- If there isn't room for the shrimp to lie flat on the pan, cook in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
- Since this salad has simple ingredients, try to buy the best quality fresh ingredients you can find to truly make the ingredients shine in this salad!
Variations and Substitutions
- Make it gluten-free: Swap the orzo with a gluten-free orzo or any kind of gluten-free pasta.
- Make it dairy-free: Swap the feta cheese for a vegan "feta" cheese or omit completely.
- Change up the veggies! Add spinach or kale to bulk up the veggies and fiber.
What to Serve with Mediterranean Shrimp Salad
This salad would go perfectly with a Mediterranean-inspired feast! I'm picturing it now: a picnic or dinner on the patio with all of your favorite people and delicious Mediterranean food for everyone! Serve this salad alongside Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash, Creamy Hummus Pasta, Mediterranean Sweet Potatoes with Vegan Tahini Dressing, or Lentil Stuffed Peppers with Orzo & Feta.
If you made this recipe, I’d love to see your creation! Don’t forget to snap a picture and tag me @thebalancedbite on Instagram. Follow along on Pinterest and Facebook for more healthy & tasty recipes!
More Healthy Salad Recipes:
- Peach Salad with Avocado
- Shrimp Taco Salad Bowl
- Quinoa Black Bean Avocado Salad
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad
- Butternut Squash and Farro Salad
- Lemon Parmesan Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
Mediterranean Shrimp Salad
- 16 jumbo shrimp, deveined and peeled
- ¼ cup whole wheat orzo
- 4 tablespoons+ 2 teaspoons O-Live Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- Juice of 1 lemon, divided
- ½ large English cucumber, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- ½ medium bell pepper, cored and chopped
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until it has a firm and chewy texture. Drain and set aside.
- Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel. In a medium bowl, combine smoked paprika, juice from ½ lemon, and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add shrimp to bowl and mix well to coat the shrimp with the spice mixture.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. Cook the shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side, or until it is opaque and cooked through. Make sure the shrimp lies flat on the pan. Cook in batches if needed. Remove from heat.
- Lemon Vinaigrette: Soak minced shallot in white wine vinegar. Combine and mix 4 tablespoons olive oil, juice from remaining ½ lemon, minced shallot, white wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble the salad: In individual bowls, combine cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, shrimp, and orzo. Drizzle desired amount of vinaigrette over salad. *
- Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve and enjoy!
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