Thai Grapefruit Salad

Beautiful Thai summer grapefruit salad

The Spruce / D.Schmidt 

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
160 Calories
4g Fat
27g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 160
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 28mg 9%
Sodium 1011mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 113mg 563%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 510mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This fresh and lively citrus salad makes a beautiful addition to any table. In Thailand, instead of grapefruit, they would use pomelo, which is larger in size and white to coral colored but have nearly the same taste and texture as pink grapefruit. This salad makes a gorgeous appetizer, side salad, or delicious lunch. You'll find it unique and refreshing, and so will your guests. 


For the Salad Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from 2 to 3 medium limes

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar, to taste

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Thai chili sauce, to taste

For the Salad:

  • 12 to 16 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined

  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut, unsweetened or sweetened

  • 1 pomelo, or 2 pink grapefruit

  • 1 cup cucumber, diced

  • 1 red pepper, diced

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 red chili pepper, minced, optional

  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted cashews

  • Handful salad greens, optional, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients together in a cup, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.

  2. Set a pot of water to boil on the stove. Add shrimp and boil just a few minutes, until shrimp turn pink and plump and firm to the touch. Drain and set aside to cool.

  3. Place shredded coconut in a dry frying pan or wok over medium-high heat and stir until coconut turns light golden brown and fragrant. Place coconut in a small bowl to cool and set aside.

  4. Prepare your grapefruit, removing as much of the white peel as possible from the fruit. Break into bite-sized pieces, 3 to 4 cups is a good amount. Set prepared fruit in a salad bowl.

  5. Add to the bowl the cucumber, red pepper, shallots, basil, cilantro, and fresh chili, if using.

  6. To put the salad together, add shrimp to the salad bowl, then pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine. Add most of the toasted coconut and cashews, reserving a little for garnishing, then toss again.

  7. Taste-test the salad for a balance of sweet/sour/spicy/salty. Adjust to your liking, adding more sugar if too sour. Your salad is now ready to serve, or, if desired, prepare individual plates with a bed of greens and then top with generous portions of the pomelo salad. Sprinkle with reserved coconut and cashews.


  • Like most Thai salad dressings, this is an oil-free dressing, so it doesn't appear to "cling" as well as oil-based dressings, naturally collecting at the bottom of your salad bowl. Be sure to toss a little more than you would for a regular salad in order to saturate ingredients with the dressing.
  • This salad is best eaten right away–the fresher the better. If preparing for a party, keep the dressing apart from the salad until you're ready to eat, then toss them together just before serving.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the chili sauce with a minced fresh red or green chili pepper in the dressing.
  • Purple onion is a good substitute for shallots.
  • Use mint instead of basil.
  • Peanuts can replace the cashews.

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