Eat Your Veggies (and Shrimp) Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Crunchy fresh veggies mixed with warm grilled veggies- I really can't think of a better salad combination. I started eating this winning combo a couple years ago and it's remained my salad go-to ever since. Although this salad is delicious with just veggies, I will never turn down an opportunity to eat shrimp; and, ummm, this salad practically begs you to add some big, fat shrimp to the top.

Trust me.

Unless you hate shrimp, then chicken would be my second choice. But who doesn't love shrimp? (just kidding, I know there are like 2 of you out there)

Thanks to a little chili powder and cajun seasoning, each juicy shrimp is a burst of salty, spicy goodness. If your worried about the word "salty" or "spicy", stop. The creamy and refreshing avocado cilantro dressing balances the dramatic flavor of our ocean friends and is a beautiful complement to the grilled veggies.

The ingredient list is long, but don't let that scare you away- you probably have many of the ingredients already. And it's one of the easiest salads to make, too. Although, I do have a confession- when it come to the grill, I leave that to my husband; it's the only space in the kitchen I haven't completely taken over. I did, however, just purchase this Lodge Cast-Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle that I can't wait to try. Plus, no need to worry about my child playing with knobs on the grill or getting into the propane tank if it's just me around to supervise his madness.

Speaking of my child, no nap today.

AGAIN.

You guys, I am not ready for this transition. He slept in until 845am, which was very generous, but there's one little problem with this... I am in bed with him. My tiny human is a very light sleeper and wakes when I try to get up. Basically, I'm stuck spooning with him until he wakes up. Now, I have a love / hate relationship with this. It's 95% love, 5% hate. I LOVE cuddling with him and soak in as much of his snuggles while I can, but 845 is late and this mama has stuff to do. 

I know, I should never complain about my child sleeping in, but if I had my choice, I would pick a 630am wake-up with a mid-afternoon nap any day of the week. But, sooner or later, the control freak in me will have to let go of this one because no matter how hard I fight it, he's getting older and nap time will soon be a thing of the past.

At which point... off to preschool he goes!

Just kidding. 

Kinda.

Ok, maybe 1/2 day a week.

Eat Your Veggies Shrimp Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients

For the Salad:
3 hearts Romaine lettuce, chopped
2 cups fresh baby kale, chopped
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups english cucumber, peeled and chopped

For the grill:
1 pound asparagus
4 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise
2 bell pepper, halved and seeds removed
1 ear of corn, husked
olive oil
salt + pepper

For the shrimp:
1-2 pounds shrimp, shell removed (I will always recommend extra shrimp)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cajun seasoning
Juice from 1/2 lime
salt + pepper
olive oil

Avocado Cilantro Dressing
1 large avocado
2/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1/4 - 1/2 cup water (more as needed)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 jalapeno
1 large bunch cilantro
salt + pepper, to taste
Juice from 1 lime

Instructions

  1. For the grill- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly coat vegetables with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the vegetables directly to the grill and cook on each side until cooked to desired doneness- times will vary depending on vegetable, so keep a close watch. Corn typically takes the longest, while asparagus cooks the fastest. When vegetables are cooked, remove from heat and prepare the dressing.

  2. For the dressing- Combine all ingredients except the cilantro in the bowl of a large blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Add cilantro and pulse until just incorporated.

  3. For the shrimp- In a large bowl toss shrimp with seasoning and lime juice. When ready to cook, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan. When hot, add shrimp the the skillet in a single layer (you may have to do this in two batches) and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until edges turn pink. Using tongs flip each shrimp and remove from heat. Shrimp are done when center is opaque and all grey bits are gone. Transfer shrimp to a plate.

  4. Make your salad. Roughly chop grilled vegetables and toss with the remaining salad ingredients (lettuce, kale, carrots, cherry tomatoes and cucumber). Divide shrimp between bowls and serve with your Avocado Cilantro Dressing.

Enjoy!

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