Shrimp & Cauliflower Salad – Low Carb and Gluten Free

Oh look, another low carb recipe featuring cauliflower… you’re shocked, I know – and if you aren’t a fan of cauliflower, you are probably sick of seeing it here.  I just can’t help myself though.  It’s becoming an addiction of sorts – and a deliciously healthy one at that!

In case you need more reasons to try it, here are a few facts about cauliflower.

a)  Cauliflower is loaded with anti-oxidants & phyto-nutrients making it a proven cancer fighter.

b)  Cauliflower is a powerful detoxifier and stimulates natural detox enzyme production.

c)  Cauliflower can super charge your immune system – it’s both anti-viral & anti-bacterial.

d)  Cauliflower is chock full of Potassium, Calcium, B-vitamins and Vitamin C – among other things.

So if you needed even MORE reasons to love cauliflower, there ya go!  It should be noted though, that if you have a history of gout, excessive consumption of cauliflower which contains purines, can aggravate your condition.  Also, raw cauliflower is a goitrogen, and in excessive quantities is thought to inhibit thyroid function in people with existing thyroid disease, so be aware of that as well.  Otherwise you can, and should, eat cauliflower with reckless and wild abandon – because it’s both delicious and good for you!

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s talk about this fantastic salad!  After subbing in the lightly cooked cauliflower for the orzo in the beautiful and delicious “Anti” Pasta Salad, I decided to try the same thing in another of my favorite orzo-based salads.

This one is derived from an orzo salad that I once saw on the Barefoot Contessa years ago.  After roasting shrimp in the oven, she added it to cooked orzo along with with cucumbers, lemon and dill (and probably some other stuff I can’t remember!)

I loved this salad and must have made it at least 20 times that summer, but then I moved on and it’s been years since I’ve had it.  I wasn’t sure if the lemon and dill would complement the cauliflower or not, but it was worth a try, and I’m really glad I did!

Even my husband, a sworn hater of all things cauliflower, ate some and pronounced it “not disgusting.”  This is a major win in our house people!  I rank it much higher than “not disgusting,” in fact I might even like this one more than the Mediterranean based Anti Pasta Salad – it’s a tough call though, one might even say a “toss up!”  (Get it?  See what I did there?  Bad salad pun totally intended!)

Wanna make this even easier?  Buy pre-cooked shrimp instead of raw and just slice it up and throw it in.  I sometimes find the pre-cooked shrimp to be limp and soggy – to rehabilitate it, throw it into boiling water for about a minute, then into an ice water bath with the juice of one lemon squeezed in and let it sit until cool.  They firm up nicely and nobody will guess that you “cheated” and used pre-cooked.  It’ll be our little secret…

Wanna make this even easier?  Buy pre-cooked shrimp instead of raw and just slice it up and throw it in.  I sometimes find the pre-cooked shrimp to be limp and soggy – to rehabilitate it, throw it into boiling water for about a minute, then into an ice water bath with the juice of one lemon squeezed in and let it sit until cool.  They firm up nicely and nobody will guess that you “cheated” and used pre-cooked.  It’ll be our little secret…


Shrimp & Cauliflower Salad - Low Carb and Gluten Free
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Seafood
Serves: 6 cups
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 lb medium raw shrimp
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 3 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Peel & clean your shrimp, removing the tails also.
  2. Place the shrimp on a cookie sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until opaque. Don't over cook them or they will be rubbery.
  3. Meanwhile, cut all of the florets off of the cauliflower - discarding the tough bottom stalk. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces. Add the cauliflower (and nothing else) to a microwave safe, shallow bowl or pan, and microwave for about 5 minutes. You want it to be softened but not mushy - you might have to do it in two batches to make sure it cooks evenly.
  4. While your shrimp and cauliflower are cooling, peel, seed and chop your cucumbers into about ½ inch pieces.
  5. When your shrimp are cool enough to handle, slice into halves or thirds lengthwise to make it pretty, or just chop them roughly if you want to save time.
  6. Combine your shrimp, cauliflower, and cucumber in a medium bowl. Then add your lemon zest and chopped dill. Pour in your olive oil and lemon juice and toss to coat.
  7. Taste and then season with salt and pepper as desired.
This salad is relatively easy to make, it keeps well, and even gets better with a day or two in the fridge. It's also hearty enough to eat as a complete lunch, so it's perfect if you're packing it for work or just a busy day on the go.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 214 Fat: 13g Carbohydrates: 5g net Protein: 17g



  1. says

    Right now where I get cauliflower is pretty inexpensive – $1 for a huge head, which is a great deal, so we’ve been eating a lot of cauliflower with reckless abandon.

    This looks yummy and will have to give this a try. I have some fresh dill in the frig waiting to be used. Thanks, Melissa!

    • says

      Hi Doris! $1 a head is crazy cheap! I’m totally jealous – just bought some at Aldi’s for 1.69 each and thought that was a great deal! Hope you like this salad – I’ll be making it a lot this summer…

  2. says

    It’s difficult to be sick of cauli when it’s bang in season – only available for a scant few months to seasonal eater, best make hay while the sun shines, so to speak. I’m mourning the end of wild garlic, gathering up the last each evening knowing it will be all but gone in a couple of weeks.

    Anyway … those look like prawns. Do you guys (I guess I mean you folks over the pond) call shrimp what we call prawns? Our prawns can be about 5mm in diameter and maybe a couple 20-30mm long right up to big fellas 10mm thick and 50mm long, and beyond. Srimp tends to be brown and much smaller. Same genus, but not the same species.

    Either way, inspiring!

    • says

      Hello again Paul! Yes to our shrimp being pretty much the same as what you guys refer to as prawns. Generally in the US people refer to all of them as shrimp, unless you are in the food business. I’m growing some cauliflower in my garden for the first time this year. Hoping they do well and I’ll have a bumper crop! :)

    • says

      Best of luck with those cauliflowers – I gather they’re pretty easy to grow. We’re just in the process of moving, so maybe at the next place – there’s some space and I’ll put up a few planters and till the rest of that area.

  3. naj says

    Hi, I made this salad today with a few tweaks and it was delicious! I added mushrooms (baked with the shrimp in the oven) and added avocado as well. SO delicious and perfect for a hot summer day. Thanks!

    • says

      The mushrooms I’m not sure about – love them just not necessarily in this dish though I won’t knock it til I try it! The avocado I can really get behind and I wish I’d thought of it myself! Thanks for the idea, will be adding some to my next batch for sure!

  4. Mary says

    As someone who tried that recipe of Barefoot Contessa’s recently, there was also parsley, onion, and scallions in it. This looks sooooo much better. We’re so trying it sometime soon.

    • says

      I don’t remember any of those things (it sounds yummy) but it’s been a LONG time since I’ve made the original version I saw on her show. This was definitely a great substitute though, I’ve made it several times and it’s always a hit. Hope you guys like it too!

  5. Karen says

    I notice most of your recipes are high in fat content although it is good fat, will it
    affect any weight loss efforts. Also someone who might have cholesterol problems eating foods that have a higher fat content be a problem.
    I love your recipes they all look so delicious.


    • says

      Hi Karen,

      Most of the recipes here that are low carb and high fat are for someone following that particular eating plan like Keto, Atkins, or a Paleo way of eating. For someone eating that way the body relies on fat instead of carbohydrates for energy and it will actually improve your health. Here’s a link to some basic information about a low carb high fat way of eating. It’s one of the many resources out there to learn about this way of eating. Hope that helps!

  6. CD Berry says

    FYI – cruciferous veggies — like cauliflower — that can inhibit thyroid function … only do so when eaten RAW. So good news is — because the cauliflower is cooked (even a gentle steaming or saute’ and keeping the crunch), that effect is eliminated! Other veggies that fall in this category are broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale and spinach. Enjoy the salads — just don’t overdo. For a salad base that is almost as nutrient rich but does not join this group in – when raw – slowing metabolism – is romaine lettuce … so consider subbing it when recipes call for spinach or Kale.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: