8/18/2022 | By Diane Rossen Worthington

The classic California salad, Shrimp Louie, may spark entertaining memories, or it may become a new favorite. Diane Rossen Worthington of Seriously Simple shares her take on the 1950 West Coast recipe.

Shrimp Louie is a classic California salad made famous in 1950 from The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. There are many stories of who originally invented this refreshing salad, but it looks like it was a chef from somewhere on the West Coast.

As a California native, I have enjoyed many a Shrimp Louie salad at a small seafood stand in the famous Farmers Market of Los Angeles. Sometimes I change it up and add fresh chunks of Dungeness crab with the shrimp. These days, fresh crab meat has become impossibly expensive. Fresh cooked shrimp is still within our budget

The original salad always includes shredded lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, shrimp, and a zesty Thousand Island-style dressing. I wanted to take this idea and make it an easy, no-cook Seriously Simple meal that you could serve as a main course or an appetizer.

This Louie filling is packed with juicy shrimp pieces along with crisp diced cucumber and watermelon radish. A dice of avocado and chopped tomatoes all add up to a tasty tangle of shrimp and vegetables enriched with the Louie dressing. If you’re a purist, feel free to add some chopped hard-boiled egg to the garnish.

Look for butter lettuce or light green romaine leaves as the cup to hold the filling. You can also use iceberg lettuce or little gem leaves. The crowning touch to these seafood cups is a sprinkling of smoked paprika that brings all the flavors together. Feel free to multiply this recipe for a group. And transport yourself back to 1950 California!

Shrimp Louie in Lettuce Cups

Serves 2

Shrimp Louie, a classic California salad, may spark memories or become a new favorite. Try this take on the 1950 West Coast recipe.


  • 1/2 pound cooked shrimp, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 Persian cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons 1/2-inch dice watermelon radish
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon bottled white horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

To serve:

  • 6 lettuce cups, butter lettuce or romaine leaves

For garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons 1/2-inch-dice tomato
  • Smoked paprika


  1. In a medium bowl combine the shrimp, cucumber, radish and avocado.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and mix to combine. Add the dressing to the filling and coat the ingredients. Make sure to keep avocado intact. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Arrange the lettuce cups on a plate and spoon the filling evenly among the lettuce leaves. Garnish with tomato dice and finish with a sprinkling of smoked paprika. Serve immediately.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple: Easy Recipes for Creative Cooks” and “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at

© 2022 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Diane Rossen Worthington

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at