Calabrian Shrimp and Avocado Salad

If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I have a pretty big obsession with jarred Calabrian chili paste. It’s quite an incredible product: punchy and bright chili flavor with some subtle fermenty funk, all enveloped in the the most luscious spicy oil you have ever tasted. My go to brand is Tutto Calabria, but I’m told Trader Joes has a pretty decent version as well.

Like most condiments, it lasts forever in the fridge, so I keep it on tap so I can make tasty little dishes like this one: spicy Calabrian shrimp and avocado salad with a caper, anchovy, cilantro dressing. It’s easy (one pan), super flavorful, and full of healthy and satiating fats. The dressing is like the perfect hybrid of chimichurri and Italian salsa verde, but with cilantro instead – so make double and keep it in the fridge for saucing eggs, meat, and sandwiches.


  • For the best consistency, really mince all of your dressing ingredients.

Calabrian Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Recipe by Molly MossCourse: Main, Appetizers, SidesDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the caper, anchovy, cilantro dressing
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tbsp very finely minced shallot

  • 2 tsp chopped capers

  • 3-4 anchovy filets, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes

  • 1 tsp chopped oregano

  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped cilantro

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  • For the salad
  • 1 small head little gem lettuce

  • 12 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced

  • Olive oil

  • 1-2 tbsp Calabrian chili paste

  • 1 tbsp butter or plant based butter

  • 1/2 lemon

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 ripe avocado


  • Combine the minced garlic, shallots, oregano, capers, anchovies, chili flakes, and red wine vinegar in a bowl and stir to combine.
  • Add the cilantro and olive oil and stir to combine. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside
  • Cut the bottom inch off of the little gems and use your hands to “unfurl” the leaves (see picture above). Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over high heat.
  • When the skillet is hot, add enough oil to coat the pan, then add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.
  • Saute for 1-2 minutes per side, until bright pink and tender.
  • When the shrimp are almost done cooking, add the Calabrian chili paste and butter. Stir until the shrimps are coated in the sauce. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and more salt and pepper if desired. Remove from heat.
  • Divide the lettuce into two bowls and top with the sliced cherry tomatoes.
  • Cut the avocado into slivers and add half an avocado to each bowl.
  • Add half of the shrimp to each bowl, then generously drizzle the dressing over each salad. You may not need all of the dressing.
  • Finish with freshly cracked pepper and a little crunchy sea salt.