This Peas and Shrimp Salad recipe is a super easy side dish that’s perfect for any holiday get together! It’s served cold because it’s creamy with sweet green peas (I totally used frozen!), shrimp, and cashews and water chestnuts which make it crunchy. Make this if you need a tasty and light Thanksgiving side dish!
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I was first introduced to this salad on my first Thanksgiving as a married gal. J and I were living in Las Vegas at the time, which was conveniently close to much of his extended family in California. I regret that we worked jobs that didn’t allow us to visit more.
But we were lucky enough to both have the Thanksgiving holiday off, which is extremely rare when your a manager at one of the large hotels on the Strip (both of us were at the time). So we hopped into my inlaw’s car and didn’t stop until we made it to Calabasas.
My husband’s Aunt Kerry hosted us along with my husbands immediate family and many of his extended family member in her beautiful home. It was a holiday to remember full of lots of laughter and two sweet little newborn babies (my sister inlaw was also newly pregnant, so we had even more to be thankful for!).
What was also memorable was the fantastic meal Aunt Kerry prepared. Remember how I said I married into a family of excellent cooks? I wasn’t joking! Between the gorgeous spread she created and the delicious dishes that many of the other guest brought, we had a feast fit for a king (or queen!).
But one dish made a big impression on me. It was this salad filled with sweet baby shrimp and green peas. It was full of great flavor and texture and was a light and refreshing addition to a heavy meal. And when I inquired about it Aunt Kerry and J’s mom told me how this dish was an old-faithful addition to most of their past family Thanksgivings and was a simple mix of a few basic ingredients.
It’s funny because over the years life got busy and I forgot about that delicious salad. Until this summer, when my inlaws were in town visiting. My mother inlaw made it for our celebration after T’s baptism. Let me just say, it went fast! Everyone just couldn’t get enough! And that’s saying something, because we had a ton of great food like this pulled pork!
I love how there are a few basic ingredients but they still manage to pack a terrific flavor punch. Baby shrimp aren’t available around here so I grabbed frozen shrimp that was already cooked along with frozen peas. Chopped water chestnuts and cashews give this dish a great crunch and minced green onions add plenty of aromatic flavor. A little salt and pepper and some mayonnaise to bind it all together and you’ve got yourself some serious salad happiness.
Like many of the best family recipes, this came to me without too many specific measurements. I opted to keep it at basic measurements because it really is best done by taste. Don’t worry- I’m not leaving you completely in the dark or anything, but strongly encourage you to taste as you go until it’s flavored to your idea of perfection.
Other great holiday side dishes include:
Yields 6-8 Servings
This Peas and Shrimp Salad recipe is a super easy side dish that's perfect for any holiday get together! It's served cold because it's creamy with sweet green peas (I totally used frozen!), shrimp, and cashews and water chestnuts which make it crunchy. Make this if you need a tasty and light Thanksgiving side dish!
10 minPrep Time
10 minTotal Time
- 1 large bag of peas (I believe its a 32 oz. bag), thawed- but do NOT use the microwave to thaw them!
- 1 lb. of cooked baby cocktail shrimp (if these are not available, you can dice larger shrimp like I did)
- 1 can of water chestnuts, chopped
- 1 bunch of green onions (white and green parts), chopped
- 3/4 of a can of salted cashews (I chopped them in this but my mother in law leaves them whole- they taste delicious either way!)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup - 3/4 cups of mayonnaise
- Defrost the peas the night before in your refrigerator or on the counter top for an hour. Do not microwave the peas to defrost them, this will mess with the texture
- Drain your peas and then pat them dry to remove excess water.
- Add your shrimp, water chestnuts, and green onion to the bowl.
- Stir in your mayonnaise. Start with a scoop or two and mix it. Add additional scoops as needed until you get the consistency you want. You want it the be lightly dressed without swimming in the mayonnaise (unless that's how you like it!).
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
I know I wrote this twice but seriously, don't use your microwave to thaw your peas. While I encourage you to taste every recipe as you go to make sure it's seasoned properly, that's a big component of this one. I used my mini prep processor (linked below) to do all my chopping. It cut my prep time in half. Except for the shrimp. I did that by hand.
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