Sriracha Lime Shrimp Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

I love the Peanut dipping sauce served alongside spring rolls in Asian restaurants so much, it needs to make an appearance on other dishes. And in the summa-summa-summertime, I am always looking for ways to make salads interesting. This Sriracha Lime Shrimp Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing is light, fresh and flavorful, exactly what I want for dinner during a Texas summer.

 

 

Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. honey simple syrup
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. sriracha
Zest and juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper

1 head romaine lettuce, sliced
4 oz. sliced red and green cabbage blend
1 cup shredded carrots
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
Asian Peanut Sauce – see recipe

Garnish:
Chopped cilantro
Chopped peanuts

Toss together romaine lettuce, sliced cabbage, shredded carrots and red onion. Pour Asian Peanut Sauce over the top and toss to combine. (Note: this intentionally makes a lightly dressed salad. If you like more dressing on your salad, you might want to make 1.5x or 2x the dressing.)

Peel and devein shrimp, place in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together canola oil, honey simple syrup, chopped cilantro, sriracha, lime zest and juice (or pulse through a food processor) and pour over shrimp, coating evenly. Preheat grill pan (I love my red Le Creuset Double Burner Grill Pan) on medium low. Grill shrimp 3 minutes per side, until cooked.

Top salad with grilled shrimp, chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts. Enjoy!

Greek Pasta Salad

Summertime is for BBQs, and this Greek Pasta Salad should be on every picnic table. It’s a great make-ahead option, tastes great cold or at room temperature, and since it’s not loaded up with mayo, it’s even a bit on the lighter side. Cool fresh vegetables, tangy artichokes and a salty pop from the feta is sure to be a crowd pleasing side for your favorite grilled entrees.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta (ditalini, orzo or rotini)
16 artichoke hearts (approx. 200g), stems removed and chopped
3 tbsp. (approx. 50g) sundried tomatoes, chopped
½ cup red onion, minced
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
Red wine vinaigrette (recipe below)
Chopped basil (optional garnish)

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
¾ cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. Greek yogurt (plain or non-fat)
1 tsp. dill weed
2 tsp. Greek oregano
Salt and pepper*

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions, drain and place in a bowl. Set in refrigerator to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together Red Wine Vinaigrette ingredients and pour over cooled pasta. Add chopped artichokes, sundried tomatoes, minced red onion, chopped cucumber and feta cheese. Gently toss to combine. Top with chopped basil and set in fridge for at least one hour. Toss again before serving and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Enjoy!

Note: taste pasta salad before adding additional salt. After cooking the pasta in salted water and adding the feta, it may be salty enough. Also, the sundried tomatoes and artichokes I use (both Trader Joe’s brand) are pre-marinated and add a little extra salt and olive oil to the pasta salad. If using a different brand, you might need to add a little salt and pepper or a drizzle of olive oil.

Blackened Shrimp and Mango Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

The holidays are over and it’s the time of year to plan lighter meals. I love salad, but in order to be a meal they have to be big and hearty. This Blackened Shrimp and Mango Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette is fresh, with tons of flavor and is so healthy! Mango and lime make this a go-to recipe during the summer, but it’s perfect any time of year you need a big healthy salad.

 

Blackened Shrimp ingredients:
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
Zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. blackening seasoning

Salad ingredients:
1 head romaine lettuce
1 mango, peeled and diced
½ red onion, diced
½ red pepper diced
½ cucumber, diced
2 tbsp. green onion, sliced

Vinaigrette ingredients:
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp. honey simple syrup
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, toss together peeled and deveined shrimp with olive oil, lime zest and blackening seasoning. Set aside until ready to grill.

Meanwhile, combine diced mango, red onion, red pepper, cucumber and green onion in a medium bowl. Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and pour over diced mango mixture.

Preheat grill pan on medium-low and grill shrimp 2-3 minutes per side until cooked. Place romaine lettuce on a large serving platter, top with mango mixture and cooked shrimp.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Pecan Spinach Salad

Cranberry Pecan Spinach Salad with Balsamic VinaigretteDuring the summer we have salads a few times a week. Some salads are fresh and herb-y, some are a meal all on their own, and this one is a perfectly sweet and salty treat to have anytime. I like this salad best with chicken or steak off the grill; baby spinach gets a sweet kick from the glazed pecans, salt from the crumbled blue cheese, all tossed in a tangy homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette.

All salads are not created equal and this one is no exception.

Ingredients:
12 oz. bag of baby spinach
½ small red onion, sliced thin
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup glazed pecans
½ cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

In a large salad bowl, combine baby spinach, sliced red onion, blue cheese, dried cranberries and glazed pecans. Toss with Balsamic Vinaigrette to evenly coat and serve. Enjoy!

Maryland Crab Cake Salad

Maryland Crab Cake SaladThere is a restaurant in Austin called The Grove that was designed with me in mind. Extensive wine list, great salads, pizzas and charcuterie; it’s a wine lover’s dream. They make a fantastic crab cake salad – mixed greens, lightly dressed with a citrusy vinaigrette, topped with a crab cake and drizzled with remoulade. It’s light and fresh, but the crab cake and creamy remoulade make it just a little sinful.  And at about $20, it’s also kind of expensive. Luckily for me, the Central Market by my new house has a great seafood selection; they even have ready-to-make crab cakes that rival most restaurants in town. If I were feeling adventurous, I might make my own, but this easy shortcut gets dinner on the table in about 15 minutes.  Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner and much easier on the wallet than eating out!

Maryland Crab Cake Salad 2Ingredients (serves 4):
5 oz. container spring mix
½ red onion, sliced thin
Red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, sliced
Cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, sliced
4 tbsp. Citrus Vinaigrette (see recipe)
4 crab cakes
4 tbsp. remoulade

Preheat a non-stick skillet on medium-low heat, spray with cooking spray, and brown crab cakes until they are cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl, combine spring mix, red onion, bell pepper, cucumber and toss with Citrus Vinaigrette to lightly coat. Portion salad into 4 bowls, top each with a crab cake and drizzle 1 tbsp. remoulade over each. Enjoy!

Note: the easiest way to remove seeds from a cucumber is to cut off the ends, stick a butter knife in the seedy center, and turn in a circular motion to loosen the seeds. They should come right out.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Corn and Black Bean SaladSummer means grilling, and if the cooking is being done outside, it’s time to whip up some easy sides that are packed with veggies and don’t require turning on the oven. I love making dishes that use a bunch of fresh ingredients, but sometimes if I’m using a piece of an onion or half a bunch of cilantro, as much as I plan to make something with the other half, a few days later I wind up throwing a wilted bunch of cilantro in the trash. Making this Corn and Black Bean Salad on a night when I also make Guacamole for an appetizer, uses several of the same ingredients, so less waste and the flavors complement each other nicely. Besides, everyone loves to snack on Guacamole while waiting for dinner!

Corn and Black Bean Salad 2Ingredients:
16 oz. bag frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
2 tbsp. red onion, minced
2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, stems removed and chopped

For the dressing:
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of ½ lime
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. canola oil
¼ tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper

Corn and Black Bean Salad 3In a medium bowl, mix together corn, black beans, diced bell pepper, diced jalapeno, minced red onion and chopped cilantro. In a separate bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, lime juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in canola oil, cumin, salt and pepper and pour dressing over vegetable mixture. Stir and refrigerate for one hour before serving to let flavors fully incorporate.

Enjoy!

 

Note: this makes a great summer side, but I’ve also been known to make this as an appetizer and scoop it up with some chips!