Tropical Chopped Salad

Long-time readers know how much I respect and admire Melissa and Dallas Hartwig of the Whole30. I was thrilled when they asked me to collaborate with them on the “Meal Maps” that will be included in their soon-to-be-born book It Starts With Food. One of the new recipes I developed is a creamy avocado dressing. I can’t share that recipe quite yet, but I can cough up the recipe for a salad it inspired.

Like it or not (and for the record, I don’t like it), winter barely arrived in Austin this year, and now it’s gone, baby, gone. Our temperatures are hovering in the high ’70s. The xeriscaping in our yard is overrun with green things. The air is oppressive with moisture. My hair is a frizz ball β€” all indications that SXSW will invade Austin soon, and we’ll begin the downward slide toward 100+ temps and flip flops. I recognize that to sun worshippers, this all probably sounds like a great idea. But I like chilled air that makes my breath catch, scarves and boots, and cozy evenings with a book. I’m pretty much the anti-Texan, really.

However, the warm weather does inspire me to eat things that are cool, crisp, easy to throw together, and colorful. Here’s the one I’ve been craving ever since we took the photo of the super top-secret avocado dressing.

This salad is perfect for a lazy day when your biggest ambition is to Β flip over from sunning your front to sunning your back. If you find yourself in a snowsquall, wishing for an island breeze, you can use defrosted, frozen mango in this recipe to import sunshine into your day.


Tropical Chopped Salad

Serves 2-4 | Prep 20 minutes | Whole30 compliant

Ingredients, per person:
  • 1 pound shrimp (any size will do)

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Jerk Seasoning

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 ripe mango

  • 1 medium ripe avocado

  • 2 medium red bell peppers

  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste


With a small, sharp knife, pierce the shrimp at the head end and carefully cut along the back toward the tail, removing the dark vein. Rinse in running water. Bring a saucepan of water to boil and add the shrimp. Set a timer for 4 minutes and let the shrimp enjoy the hot tub; no need to bring it to a boil again. When time is up, drain the shrimp and let them cool just until you can handle them without burning your ngertips. Cut them into 1/2-inch pieces.


In a medium bowl, mix the warm shrimp with the lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, onion, Jerk Seasoning, and cilantro. Let the shrimp marinate while you prep the other ingredients.


While the shrimp is in the flavor spa, dice the mango, avocado, and red pepper into equal-sized dice. I like 1/2-inch cubes. Toss everything together and eat languidly.

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