Tropical Coconut Shrimp & Ahi Salad

Coconut shrimp, seared sesame-coated Ahi, and beautiful tropical fruits create this colorful and flavorful kebab! Serve it over Napa cabbage and drizzle it with sweet Thai chili vinaigrette.

Tropical Coconut Shrimp & Ahi Salad

This salad is big enough for the main course, yet light for a warm summer evening. I love the sweet Thai chili sauce vinaigrette because it complements the fruit and coconut on the shrimp, but you could easily serve this salad with a teriyaki sesame dressing if you prefer a more savory taste. I’ve accounted for about 1/8 pound of ahi and 1/4 pound of shrimp per person. You can adjust as you like!
Servings 4 as an entrée


Tropical Dinner Salad

  • 1 head Napa cabbage finely sliced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro clean and stems removed, reserving just leaves
  • 1 papaya peeled, seeded and sliced
  • 1 mango peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 large avocado sliced
  • 1/2 pound fresh ahi
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp peeled, deveined, leave tails on (we used medium-large shrimp, but you can use the size you like best)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
  • 1 cup panko
  • ¼ cup coconut or pistachio oil

Sweet Thai Chili Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Thai chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder



  • In a bowl, mix panko and coconut.
  • In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Dip shrimp in beaten eggs, and then dredge in the coconut-panko mixture, the coating on all sides.
  • Heat coconut oil in a skillet and cook shrimp in batches, over medium-high heat, until browned on both sides.
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  • Set aside or keep warm in the oven until ready to assemble the salad.
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  • Mix white and black sesame seeds and spread out on a plate. 
  • Prepare ahi by brushing with olive oil on both sides and pat each side onto the plate with the sesame seeds, coating both top and bottom of fish. Heat grill to high heat and place a cast iron griddle on the barbecue and heat for about about 15 minutes.
  • When ready to cook fish, place fish on griddle and grill for about 2 minutes per side. Fish should be very rare and seared on top and bottom. Slice into thin slices. 

To assemble:

  • Place cabbage and cilantro in a large salad bowl, or serving platter. Toss with half of the dressing.
  • Arrange fruits, avocado, shrimp, and sliced ahi, alternately on four skewers, and place on top of the cabbage.
  • Drizzle remaining dressing over or pass so each can add their own. You can also plate each salad with the dressed cabbage and place the accouterments on accordingly

Sweet Thai Chili Vinaigrette 

  • Place all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Can make ahead and refrigerate until ready to use.
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Try marinating the shrimp in olive oil with cilantro and finely sliced serrano peppers for a spicy variation to the coconut shrimp

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