spinach & arugula salad with shrimp and a cilantro lime yogurt dressing

Well, here I am again, popping my head in after a longer-than-intended blogging hiatus. What can I say? I gotta lot on my plate! Another semester to finish, a clinical placement to wrap up, a dissertation to get off the ground....oh! and that little wedding to prepare for, which is some how, some way, in 3 and a half weeks. Phew!

I HAD intentions of blogging regularly during this time about a re-do of the 4-week pre-summer clean-eating challenge, which I created around this time last year. Four weeks before my wedding and a 10-day Caribbean vacation seems like a reasonable motivator to do the challenge, huh? Unfortunately, I just don't have the hours in the day to track my progress or post a lot of new recipes. Plus, while I AM planning to follow the first portion of the challenge for the next few weeks (the general eat-clean part of it), the 17 day diet part just doesn't fit into my life right now. That kind of restriction simply requires too much time and energy that I don't currently have; plus, I am really trying to maintain my weight (and it's hard NOT to lose weight on the 17 day diet if you really follow it). So, my pre-wedding plan is basically to eat healthy and "clean" -- which I usually do anyway -- but cut down on the added treats for a few weeks, continue working out, and try not to stress! I'm feeling really good about my health right now in general, so it's nice that I don't need to do anything drastic prior to the big day. Besides, who wants to be hungry and grumpy during this beautiful time??

If anyone DOES want to do the 4-week challenge before summer, I'd totally encourage you to do it! Whether you do just the first portion like me or you want to follow the whole 4 weeks like we did last year, it is a great way to start summer off on a healthy foot. Start here, then check out all of the posts within the challenge. And let me know if you have any questions or need a little motivation :)

As for me, I've been making and eating many of my favorite healthy recipes lately -- my beef and spinach meatballs (which I'll sometimes make with turkey instead of beef), hefty salads like this one and this one,  chicken and egg salad for wraps or salads, stuffed avocado, and healthy frittatas.  Here's another favorite to add to the list: spinach and arugula salad with shrimp, avocado, and a DELICIOUS homemade cilantro lime yogurt dressing. It's the perfect pre-wedding meal IMO: plenty of veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, and, of course, it's tasty and flavorful. Ryan's word-for-word evaluation after taking a few bites? "This is like, the best salad I've ever had."

I've talked before about how I prefer to make my own salad dressings. I tend to make pretty basic/simple dressings most of the time (olive oil + vinegar + mustard or citrus or herbs). Well, this one is a little fancier. It's creamy and zesty and decadent-tasting and SO full of flavor. Plus, by "fancy" I don't mean difficult: all you have to do is throw a few ingredients into a food processor and -- voila! Easy and delicious. 

This salad takes all of 10 minutes to throw together. Perfect for busy summer nights when you want something quick and healthy. The shrimp cooks in 3 minutes, the dressing just takes a quick whirl in the food processor, then you just have to chop a few veggies. Simplicity at its best.

Here's how to make it:

Let's make the dressing first. Into a food processor goes 1 cup of fresh cilantro (stems removed), 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (depending upon your level of garlic love), the juice of 1 lime, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, and 1 generous pinch of sea salt.

Begin to pulse while you gradually pour in 3 to 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil into the top. You could probably get away with 2 or 3 tbsp if you want to cut back on fat, but you'll get a thicker dressing. If you want a thinner consistency, up the olive oil. Continue to pulse until your desired consistency is reached. 

I could NOT stop dipping my finger into this stuff before dinner. Oops.

That's it for the dressing. Now let's prepare the shrimp: you need about 12-16 oz. raw, peeled, deveined and de-tailed shrimp. I actually used thawed frozen shrimp this time, which worked perfectly well, but fresh would obviously be great too. 

Toss in some spices: 1/2 tsp each sea salt, pepper, and chile powder, and 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, paprika, and oregano. 

Toss to combine (doing this in a plastic baggie is always an efficient plan). 

Before cooking your shrimp, make sure your veggies are chopped and your salads are basically assembled. The shrimp takes no time to cook so you want everything to be good to go when the shrimp is ready and hot. Chop a ripe avocado, a tomato, and half an onion. Plus any other veggies that sound good! 

For the shrimp, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the shrimp. 

Cook, tossing periodically, until just opaque and pink. Only takes 3-4 minutes. 

Remove the shrimp from the heat immediately. 

Finalize the salads: start with a combo of spinach and arugula (just one or the other would also be great). Top with avocado, tomato, and red onion. Sprinkle with course black pepper. Toss on some hot shrimp. And then pour with that glorious dressing!

Spinach & Arugula Salad with Shrimp and a Cilantro Lime Yogurt Dressing

Cilantro Lime Yogurt Dressing
For about 4 servings
-1 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed
-1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
-Juice of 1 lime
-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
-1 or 2 cloves garlic
-Pinch sea salt
-3 to 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-Place the cilantro, yogurt, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, and salt in a food processor. Begin to pulse, slowly pouring in the olive oil. Continue pulsing and adding oil until desired consistency is reached. 

Spinach & Arugula Salad with Shrimp a Cilantro Lime Yogurt Dressing
For 3-4 servings
-2-3 cups baby spinach
-2 cups arugula
-1 ripe avocado, sliced
-1/2 red onion, sliced
-1 tomato, sliced
-12 - 16 oz raw deveined de-tailed peeled shrimp
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp chile powder
-1/4 tsp paprika
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp oregano
-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-Cilantro lime yogurt dressing (see above)

-Toss the raw shrimp with all of the spices until evenly coated. 
-Arrange salads: combine spinach and arugula; top with avocado, onion, and tomato. 
-Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Once hot, add the shrimp. Cook, tossing periodically, until just opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat immediately. 
-Top the salads with the warm shrimp. 
-Pour the cilantro lime yogurt dressing overtop. 


1 comment:

  1. that dressing looks delicious, and soo easy! i'll have to try it. i'm in a balsamic vinegar/olive oil rut!!



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