Grilled Shrimp, Creamy Elote Corn, and Avocado Summer Salad

grilled shrimp corn avocado salad

Grilled shrimp salad with all the works (elote-style corn! lime-sprinkled avocado! creamy dressing!) is summertime comfort food at its best, says Arizona’s Michelle Ezratty Murphy, one of our favorite homecooks and winner of a couple Familia Kitchen Recipe Contests.

”Now that it’s hot outside, salads are always on our menu. But salads can get boring. That’s why I like to liven them up with fun veggies or proteins, like grilled shrimp or well-marinated chicken or beef. And lastly (and almost the most important), a really good and memorable sauce or dressing,” she explains.

WATCH Michelle Ezratty Murphy make her superstar grilled shrimp summer salad, step by step.

It must be said: Michelle has a magical way with gussying up lettuce. In addition to this grilled shrimp wonder, her carne asada with grilled corn and cilantro salad and chicken tequila salad are two of our most popular ensalada recipes at Familia Kitchen.

It’s no coincidence that all three feature her signature Southwestern salad dressing. ”This shrimp salad is topped with my yummiest of all dressings: my southwestern,” says Michelle. Inspired by Mexican and Arizona-style spices and flavors, it is decadently creamy and spiced with a flavor-packed mix of 13 spices, condiments and herbs, plus lime juice and sour cream. “It is perfect over salads, as well as a yummy dip for grilled salt and pepper shrimp on its own.”

You might think that the shrimp skewers — lemony fresh and juicy-charred —  are the defining ingredient of the dish. We’d like to point your attention to our vote for MVP: The roasted-corn elote riblets. Michelle air fries or roasts strips of plump kernels to caramelized gold. She then coats them in a tangy mix of mayo, sour cream, and queso fresco with paprika, chili powder and lemon juice. They. Are. Killer. Biting into her corn riblets reminds us of buying spicy elotes from street vendors in Mexico City and at Chicago’s summertime festivals, like Mole de Mayo.

Here’s how you know Michelle is a saintly person, in addition to being a gifted homecook. She regularly makes this salad for her husband and kids, even though she describes herself as “a non-seafood person.” That’s right, Michelle doesn’t eat shellfish or fish of any kind, and still stands in her burning-hot Arizona backyard BBQing shrimp for this summertime family favorite. ”I usually develop recipes that can be eaten without the seafood and still be a full and satisfying meal, or I switch out the protein for chicken or steak for myself.  It honestly isn’t that difficult, especially if the sauces or marinades that I use are interchangeable with pretty much any protein,” she explains. Still: Labor of shrimp love.

Serve with Warm Tortillas for Next-Level Delicioso

No need for any additional sides, either ”because this salad is so full of flavor and veggies. Though a warm flour tortilla to dip into the pico de gallo wouldn’t hurt,” says Michelle. It sure wouldn’t. Fresh tortillas, of course, make everything better. Here is Michelle’s recipe for handmade flour tortillas if you want take this grilled shrimp, corn and avocado salad to the next level of delicioso and make this salad a summer all-star meal.

”Trust me, no one will complain when you say you’re serving salad for dinner,” promises Michelle. “Because of its versatility, this grilled shrimp salad is fresh, flavorful and bright. If you can eat it outside al fresco, you might actually think you’re on vacation somewhere, that’s how good it is.”

If you want to try more of Michelle’s recipes with Southwestern and Mexican flair, check out her sweet tamale cakes with salsa verde, Aztec tortilla soup, 7 layer dip with one bonus ingredient (taco beef!), Arizona burrito with carne asada, and chili con carne with bacon and sofrito.

Ready to Make Michelle’s Shrimp and Corn Summer Salad?

Grilled Shrimp, Creamy Elote Corn, and Avocado Summer Salad

Recipe by Michelle Ezratty Murphy
5.0 from 1 vote
Cuisine: Southwestern, Mexican


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the Elote-Style Corn
  • 3 ears corn, fresh

  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise

  • 3 Tbsp sour cream

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

  • 1 tsp adobo or seasoning powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 cup queso fresco (crumbled), or cotija cheese (if more readily available)

  • 1 cup cilantro, fresh, chopped (for garnish)

  • For the Grilled Shrimp
  • 20 shrimp, cleaned and deveined

  • Olive or avocado oil, as needed for drizzling

  • Salt, to taste

  • Black pepper, to taste

  • For the Pico de Gallo
  • 6 to 8 Roma tomatoes, chopped and seeded

  • 1/2 red onion, small, chopped

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)

  • For the Creamy Southwestern Dressing
  • 1 tsp black cracked pepper

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp sugar

  • 1/4 tsp garlic, minced

  • 1/4 tsp thyme, minced

  • 1/4 tsp parsley, minced

  • 2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp dried dill

  • 1 tsp sweet paprika

  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 cup lime juice

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • Putting It All Together: For the Salad
  • 3 to 4 cups Romaine or iceberg lettuce, shredded

  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo (see above)

  • 1/2 cup Southwestern dressing (see above)

  • 1 avocado, sliced

  • 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled, or cotija cheese

  • 1 cup cilantro, fresh, chopped


  • Prepare the Elote-Style Corn
  • In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients together except for the cilantro.
  • Carefully slice through the ears of corn with a sharp knife lengthwise in to quarters. Rocking the knife back and forth will make it easier to cut.
  • Transfer the cut corn sections to an air fryer. Cook 4 riblets at a time. Cook for about 12 minutes at 400 degrees, shaking the corn half way. When the corn is cooked, it will be dark in color (will look like it was roasted or grilled) and they will curl creating a crescent moon shape. You can also roast the corn in a 400° oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • When all the corn is cooked, place the riblets on a plate in a single layer.
  • With a basting brush, liberally coat the corn riblets with the sauce, on both sides.
  • Crumble the cheese over the corn, then sprinkle on the chopped cilantro. Set the corn aside while you make the rest of the salad.
  • Grill the Shrimp
  • To prepare the shrimp, preheat grill to 400°.
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper the shrimp. Drizzle some olive or avocado oil over the shrimp, coating well.
  • Thread the shrimp on to skewers.
  • Grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
  • Once the shrimp are done, squeeze lemon over them and set aside.
  • Make the Pico de Gallo
  • Slice and combine tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime, salt and optional jalapeño, if using .
  • Let the pico sit in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to allow the flavors to come together.
  • Make the Creamy Southwestern Dressing
  • Combine all the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Stir well and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  • Add more lime juice if you would like the dressing a little thinner.
  • Build the Salad: Putting It All Together
  • Wash and dry the lettuce. Tear or slice into bite-size pieces.
  • In a large salad bowl, place the lettuce on the bottom.
  • Spoon the creamy Southwest salad dressing over all the lettuce.
  • Place the pico de gallo over the lettuce, in one corner of the plate.
  • Neatly slice the two avocado halves into thin slivers. Place in another corner, on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle kosher salt and the juice of a lime over the avocado slices.
  • Place the roasted corn riblets on the salad, evenly.
  • Lastly, slide the shrimp off of the skewers and onto the salad, evenly
  • Squeeze a little extra freshly squeezed lemon juice over the shrimp for extra flavor.
  • Just before serving, crumble a little bit more queso fresco or cotija cheese on top of the salad. Add a final dash of chopped cilantro for a pop of flavor and color. Enjoy!


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