Many moons ago I worked a desk job. During a time when I wore high heels, went to happy hours, and had accessories to complete every pencil skirt and perfect hair bun. I wasn’t fancy, but I was well maintained. I’m still not fancy but more ‘hot mess’ than ‘cute lady boss’. Despite what my title was or could have been at work, I still humbly brought my lunch every single day. And this Thai shrimp salad with almond dressing (paleo + whole30) is perfect for just that.
I type humbly with a smirk. Because this salad looks anything but humble – it is fancy. But like my once ’20-something-climbing-the-corporate-ladder/girl-power’ status, this salad looks powerful and put together, but deep down it’s really simple, fresh, and easy. Wait, that was a bad analogy. I’m not saying I was easy, no…delete…edit, undo…errrrr. Easy to be friends with. Easy to converse with. Right? That makes more sense – are you with me? Ok let’s just move on.
This Thai shrimp salad with almond dressing is fantabulous for those lunches you bring to work AND those lunches you eat at home. Why? No cooking required, no lefttovers needed. All the ingredients of this restaurant-quality meal can be found in your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry. WIN! Because nothing is worse than wanting to build a bomb salad but realizing you only have uncooked meat. And skipping the main protein hub just means you’re hungry again in an hour.
Let me count the ways I love thee: paleo, whole30 compliant, gluten-free, easy to make, and THE DRESSING. It’s the creamy burst of flavor that completes every single bite. I kind of want to put it on everything – like maybe slather my body with it, put it in a syringe and have it in my purse everywhere I go, mix it in my coffee, lick it from the bowl. Obsessed doesn’t even scratch the surface.
And!!! And and and, you can use any leftover dressing for other meals. Drizzle it over grilled chicken or on roasted vegetables, combine it with rice or quinoa, or use it as a dip for spring rolls. A dressing that wears many hats, kind of like me (if I do say so myself). But I’m not Thai, soooo never mind. Analogies = 0 for 2.
The only thing you need to do to make this Thai shrimp salad with almond dressing is some cutting and chopping action. This is where meal prep is clutch. Simply chop the vegetables a few days or the night before – that way assembling is a breeze. Be sure to make the dressing beforehand too, and store in an airtight container or mason jar in the refrigerator.
No more breaking the bank going out for salads anymore! This budget-friendly lunch will be your next go-to whether you’re bossin’ it up on the 37th floor, or in your toy-infested living room.
- 6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup matchstick carrots
- ¼ cup packed cilantro
- ¾ cup diced cucumbers
- ⅓ cup cashews
- ½ pound cocktail shrimp, thawed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- ⅛ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
- ½ teaspoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon raw honey (omit for whole30)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1½ teaspoon water (or less if you like a thicker dressing)
- Compile the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well
- Add the cocktail shrimp
- Mix the almond dressing ingredients well and drizzle over the salad. Double the recipe if desired (keeps well in the refrigerator)
- Top the salad with cashews or sliced almonds if preferred