Fruit & Grain Summer Salad

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Well we made it approximately 36 hours in veggie-land before the siren song of a dudes lunch at a new, local taquería proved to be too hard to resist.

Carne Asada Taco Lunch Special: 1

Ben: 0

Mmm yeah, I probably would have done the same thing. Ah well, as they say, it’s the thought that counts, and even if 3 mouthwatering steak tacos made an appearance 8 1/2 days earlier than planned, we’re both still trying to continue to eat extra clean and healthy this week.

Ignoring, for example, the urge to order a family-sized Taco Pizza from Godfather’s last night (my kryptonite!) choosing to make light and fresh Fruit & Grain Summer Salads for supper instead. :)

Check this out! Spring greens are tossed with a homemade basil dressing then topped with sauteed shrimp, flavored quinoa, fruits, berries, veggies, and fresh herbs. It is SO SUMMER!

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Said summery fruits, berries and veggies include ruby-red Roma tomatoes, plump blueberries, and juicy cantaloupe (which is literally sweeter than candy right now.)

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My favorite part is the jumbo shrimp sauteed in a homemade basil dressing piled atop quinoa cooked in chicken broth then tossed with a little more of the basil dressing. I can hardly handle this combo!

Start the Fruit & Grain Summer Salad by making the Basil Dressing that will serve triple duty as salad dressing, flavoring for the cooked quinoa, AND as a marinade for the sauteed shrimp. Go basil dressing, go!

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Combine 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice,

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1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor.

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I bought this smoothie attachment thingy for my blender a couple weeks ago to make, well, smoothies and other things like this dressing.

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Um yeah, epic failure. For some reason it doesn’t “catch” the ingredients to spin them around. I can’t understand it!

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At any rate, I poured the ingredients into my trusty mini food processor, which chopped the fresh basil and garlic, and blended the dressing together lickity split. :)

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K! After the dressing is made, combine 1 cup chicken broth with 1/2 cup RINSED quinoa in a saucepan.

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Bring the broth up to a boil then put a lid on top, lower the heat to medium-low, and let it simmer for 15-20  minutes, or until the broth is absorbed, and the quinoa is light and fluffy.

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Turn the cooked quinoa out into a small bowl, then add in 1 sliced green onion, and a heaping Tablespoon basil dressing.

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Mix it all up, then let the quinoa hang out while you get the shrimp ready.

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That’s just 10 frozen jumbo shrimp I thawed by placing in a tupperware container under cold running water for about 5 minutes. Pat the shrimp dry, toss with 1 Tablespoon basil dressing, then saute for 2 minutes a side in a hot skillet, or until they’re pink & plump.

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Salad assembly time! I wrote the recipe to include just 1 bag salad mix, but I had some more (more!) kale that needed harvesting in my garden, so I tore the leaves off the stems, put them in a big bowl, and gave ‘em a little massage for a couple minutes.

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Add the bag of lettuce on top (I used a Spring Mix but you can use whatever you like) and toss with the remaining basil dressing.

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Divide the lettuce between two big bowls and bust out the toppings. My favorite! As a side note – I eat salads for the toppings, and usually eat the lettuce first to save all the goodies for last. Ben does the opposite. He could eat just lettuce and dressing plain. I find that so odd. Thoughts?

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Anyways, evenly split the cooked quinoa, 1 cup each cantaloupe cubes and blueberries, and 2 chopped Roma tomatoes between the bowls.

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Top the salads with the sauteed shrimp then sprinkle with freshly chopped herbs like more basil and mint, then dig in!

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Fruit & Grain Summer Salad

Print this recipe!

Serves 2

Slightly adapted from BHG.com

Ingredients:
1/3 cup packed fresh basil
3 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 green onion, sliced
10 jumbo shrimp
1 bag salad mix (I used Spring Mix)
1 cup cantaloupe cubes
1 cup blueberries
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (chives, mint, basil, parsley)

Directions: 

  1. Prepare the basil dressing by combining basil, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper, then process until basil is chopped small, scraping down the sides once or twice if necessary.
  2. Rinse quinoa very well under cold running water. Combine with chicken broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Place a lid on top, lower heat to medium-low, then cook until the broth has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add green onion and a heaping Tablespoon of the basil dressing, then stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, toss shrimp with 1 Tablespoon basil dressing in a small bowl, and heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray the skillet with non-stick spray then add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes per side, or until pink.
  4. Add lettuce to a large bowl and toss with remaining dressing. Divide the dressed lettuce, quinoa, shrimp, cantaloupe, blueberries, and tomatoes between two plates. Top with fresh herbs and serve.

I just don’t even know where to begin, since each bite tasted completely different!

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The shrimp and quinoa laced with basil dressing definitely had me seeing fireworks, but the fresh mint and cantaloupe totally knocked my socks off too. I always forget to pair mint with other things besides liquor. Silly me. ;)

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I love that you also get your weekly quinoa fix with this dish. I get a little cranky if I don’t have quinoa at least once a week, as does Ben.

I just love it… he whispered while we were eating last night.

Me too, babe, me too. ;)

Have a good one!

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