Posh Prawn Cocktail – old school with a new school twist

Posh prawn cocktail

When you think of prawn cocktail, you normally envisage a bland, unhealthy starter plastered on a tired, drink-stained pub menu. But this ‘Posh Prawn Cocktail‘ recipe from the Hairy Dieters’ inaugural book turns an old school ‘classic’ into a tastier, more refined version at a fraction of the calories of the original.

Not only does it taste the business, if you get your skates on it can be ready in just 15 minutes, making it ideal for a mid-week lunch that you can take into work. Just don’t eat it out of a wine glass (as the Hairy Dieters suggest below) otherwise your colleagues will think you’re a twat. I used a trusty tupperware box to transport mine and even doubled up my portion, which still only comes in at 278 calories! The cost of ingredients might be higher compared to other bog-standard lunches but this meal is a healthy treat that you’ll love.

Recipe: Posh Prawn Cocktail

Calories: 139 per serving (or 278 calories if you ‘double up’)

Serves: 4

Book: The Hairy Dieters How to Love Food and Lose Weight

Prep time: Approx 15 mins

Cooking time: none


  • 50g light mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt (optional)
  • 2 baby gem lettuces (leaves separated)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1/4 cucumber (sliced)
  • 200g cooked and peeled king prawns (thawed and drained)
  • 100g smoked salmon (cut into wide strips)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Lemon wedges (for squeezing)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Cost per portion: Approx *£2.39 *cost based on Tesco’s prices – December 2022

Method: Mix the mayonnaise, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt (if using) and using lots of freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Stir in the prawns. Arrange the lettuce leaves in wide glass dessert dishes or shred the leaves and pile into stemmed wine glasses.

Arrange the tomatoes and cucumber on top of the lettuce, then spoon in the prawn cocktail mixture. Arrange strips of smoked salmon on the prawns, then sprinkle with a little paprika and some ground black pepper. Add lemon wedges for squeezing and serve.


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