Saturday, May 22, 2010

Southwestern-Style Shrimp Taco Salad

Now that the weather has turned warmer, and the weekend days have turned a bit lazier, it's always nice to have some lighter meals on the menu. Salads, in particular, are one of those meals where if we haven't had one in a while, we forget how great they are. When done right, salads can be a completely satisfying, filling dish.

We couldn't believe how delicious this Southwestern-Style Shrimp Taco Salad was. I found this one in the May issue of Cooking Light Magazine. It was, as my husband put it, exquisite. So many flavors, but none of them competed with each other. The dressing was a sweet-tart delight that added a hit of smoky spice. The shrimp contributed a filling, tasty protein to the mix. The greens and tortilla chips were so crisp, and the roasted corn, burst tomatoes, and avocado were all so tender and unique in taste.

Were it not for the steps involved in the preparation, this would be a snap to make. It does take a bit of time, but I assure you that it is well worth every second you will spend on readying this salad for your dinner table. Trust me on this.

Once all the components have been gathered and prepared, you can assemble this any way you want to. The recipe, as written, instructs you to use the tortilla chips as a bed for the rest of the salad, but we framed our bowls with chips rather than throwing them on the bottom. Alternatively, you could crush the chips and sprinkle them on top. Then you can add the remainder of the ingredients any way you like. The dollop of sour cream is totally optional; I had mine without and loved it. Andy used the sour cream and thought it was a revelation. So it's really your call.

Best of all, this salad was fantastically filling, but it doesn't make you feel heavy or gross after you've eaten it. It's almost refreshing in a way; it feels so good to eat something comprised mostly of fresh ingredients that taste so great together. I can't stress this enough, but I'll try one more time: you should try this salad! It's a perfectly summery meal, and one that we can't wait to eat again.

The original recipe can be found here.

Southwestern-Style Shrimp Taco Salad

adapted from Cooking Light

makes 3-4 servings


1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. fresh minced garlic

2 tsp. pure maple syrup

2 tsp. chipotle hot sauce (we used Chipotle Cholula, yum!)

3/4 pound peeled, deveined raw shrimp

2 ears shucked corn

cooking spray

1 cup chopped romaine lettuce

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 plum tomatoes, chopped (we used 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved and slightly burst)

2 oz. baked tortilla chips (Cooking Light used blue corn chips, we didn't have those)

1/3 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup peeled, diced avocado

Lime wedges, for garnish (optional)


1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Combine lime juice, olive oil, cumin, garlic, maple syrup, and hot sauce in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place shrimp in a shallow bowl. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. of lime mixture over shrimp, tossing gently to coat. Reserve remaining lime mixture. Thread shrimp onto metal skewers. Lightly coat corn with cooking spray. Place shrimp kebabs and corn on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 8 minutes, turning kebabs once and turning corn frequently until browned. Remove from grill; cool slightly.

2. Remove shrimp from skewers and place in a large bowl. Cut kernels from the ears of corn. Add corn, chopped lettuce, green onions, cilantro, black beans, and tomatoes to shrimp. Drizzle reserved lime mixture over the shrimp mixture, and toss to combine.

3. Divide tortilla chips evenly among shallow serving bowls; top each chip serving with shrimp mixture, dividing evenly. Combine sour cream and avocado in a small bowl; mash with a fork until well blended. Top each serving with 1 Tbsp. sour cream mixture. Serve with lime wedges if desired.

Note: we didn't mix up the sour cream and avocado like the recipe indicates. Instead, we sprinkled the diced avocado and dolloped the sour cream on top. It worked great!

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