Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Recipe: Garlic-Black Pepper Shrimp & Avocado Salad

I hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July weekend! I know I did, hanging out with mom, going swimming, and having yummy food, of course. My mom and I stuck with a south-of-the border theme and the food was wonderful, as was the company. But summer cookouts can be hard work, what with the prepping, the actual cooking time, the clean-up (my least favorite). For the next few days after constantly cooking, you just want to have something quick & easy to make. That's how I'm feeling right now, but you know I refuse to compromise on taste, which is why this recipe is one of my regular favorites.

There's not much to it, really. It's just a combination of shrimp, avocados, and other fun ingredients, drizzled with a simple, yet flavorful white wine vinaigrette. The shrimp are given a savory kick of garlic and lots of fresh ground pepper, making this salad anything but boring. It's beautiful to look at, and pretty good for you as far as dinners go. I've had similar salads at major restaurant chains and have enjoyed them just as much as I enjoy mine. However, I still prefer mine for one big reason: price. Even at lunch menu prices, a salad with shrimp will cost you at least $7. The PGEW version, including the white wine vinaigrette, costs a mere $3 serving. You can feed two people for less than the price of one restaurant salad. And it takes only 15 minutes to make! The most you'll spend on any one thing is the few minutes required to thaw the shrimp (if you're using frozen shrimp). Perfect for a warm summer evening after a long day's work.

Garlic-Black Pepper Shrimp & Avocado Salad (serves 2; total cost per serving: $3)

3 c butter lettuce
20-25 large fresh-frozen shrimp
1 large avocado
1/2 c cherry or grape tomatoes
3 green onions, chopped
1/8 t freshly ground pepper
Couple dashes of salt
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 T olive oil

White Wine Vinaigrette
1/3 c grapeseed oil (or another light oil like canola)
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 t herbes de provence (your favorite aromatic herb mix will work if you can't find HDP)
Fresh ground pepper
Couple dashes of salt

Thaw the shrimp in a bowl of cool water for about 5 minutes. Peel & devein if needed, then rinse and pat dry. Season with the pepper and salt, and allow to sit for a few minutes. Prepare the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients and whisking vigorously. Rinse the lettuce and dry in a salad spinner. Place an equal amount of lettuce on a couple of large dinner plates. Slice the avocado and arrange it on each plate, then toss in the tomatoes. Add the chopped green onions, then set the plates aside.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and carefully cook for about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until they are completely pink and have begun to curl. Spoon an equal amount onto each pre-assembled salad plate, drizzle with plenty of dressing, and enjoy!


  1. Favorite aromatic herb mix? I'm not much of a cook... any other suggestions or something more specific I could try?

  2. This sounds great! As a fellow Trader Joe's (formerly Sacramento, now Boston) frequent shopper, I love seeing things to buy on the cheap and perk up a bit. The other night I bought one of their tomato soups and added some curry powder, tofu and random leftover veggies (peas and onions etc..).. so delicious!



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