Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad

27

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing! 

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing!  #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Hey guys! I’m excited to share with you my experience at the Terranea Resort last weekend during a food blogging retreat with these lovely ladies, from left to right, NikkiMeganLauren, Ashley, (me,) Liz, Amelia, and Lindsay!

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Big blogging conferences are a great way to meet people you’ve known virtually for years face to face but, confession: as an introvert, they kind of make me squirm…eek! That’s why I get so excited about any chance to meet fellow food bloggers in a more intimate setting, like our Eat, Sea, Retreat hosted by the gorgeous Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California (my state spirit animal!)

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This 100+ acre property has every amenity you could ever ask for including a working farm, hiking trails, a 9 hole golf course, restaurants galore, and a spa, just to name a few. It’s located just 35 minutes south of LAX and while it’s easy to get to, it kind of feels like you’re on a Hawaiian vacation or something!

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Although our time together was short, it was packed with a great mix of work and fun. Including work-fun like making goat cheese stuffed zucchini blossoms (we are food bloggers afterall!) with the resort’s Executive Chef, Chef Bernard, who not only oversees all the restaurants at Terranea, but is super hands on at their farm, beehives, and salt salt conservatory. Here he is in action >

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What made the resort so perfect for the group was its impressive foodie offerings including 8 (EIGHT!) restaurants ranging from a small deli to the ultra-decadent Mar-sel which features upscale California cuisine. I will never forget the multi course meal we had our first night with wine pairings ranging from sabered champagne to dessert wine. This is a must-try restaurant if you are ever in the area. #firepitsmileyface

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The whole property is one big postcard with views for days and fire pits sprinkled here and there complete with s’more kits for sale. Fancy or California-cool, there’s an experience here for any type of trip you’d like to have. Free sunsets for all, though!

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Terranea offers traditional hotel lodging plus multi-bedroom villas for families and bigger groups like ours. The villas are great because they come with a full kitchen so you can save a few bucks and cook at “home” (wish my home was as nice as theirs – seriously contemplated contacting their interior decorator!)

That said, our retreat was also sponsored by Nature’s Path Organic and Stoneyfield, who provided us with breakfast sustenance each morning to make customized fruit and yogurt bowls before beginning work for the day. I fell in love with Nature’s Path Qi’a – so crunchy and satisfying with juicy fresh fruit!

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Both days were filled with blogger-led sessions ranging from “Social Media Scheduling and Time Management” to “Getting Clear On Your Niche.” (I’m not sure how interesting this is to you – I know I’d probably fall asleep listening to someone in a different industry talk about their work conferences…zzz!)

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You really learn so much more from connecting with people face to face though, rather than over email or text. That said, I walked away from the retreat mind brimming with ideas, and seven super sweet new friends. Can’t wait until next year – and be sure to check out these ladies’ blogs. They really are all fantastic!

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As I mentioned, our villas were equipped with full kitchens so we took the opportunity to not only enjoy breakfast at home, but dinner on the second night too. On the menu? Taco Salads! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – food bloggers are not picky eaters. Feed us and we’re yours!

That said, we filled the kitchen island with a bounty of fresh lettuce, cherry tomatoes, black beans, tortilla chips, salsas, and the butteriest (that’s a word, right?) California avocados I’ve ever had in my life, then each went to town concocting our own custom taco salad.

The experience reminded me that dinner doesn’t have to be complicated to be completely satisfying (because, wowie wow wow, it was!) so I decided to make my own taco salad back at home, Shrimp and Avocado Salad to be exact, to share with you today!

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing!  #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Shrimp are the star of this scrumptious salad because I’ve been craving them for weeks and had a big bag in the freezer to use up. I thawed then marinated them in a simple yet outstanding mix of extra virgin olive oil, honey, cilantro, lime juice, and chili powder to give them a tangy-chili-sweet taste once sauteed until snappy. Bonus? The shrimp marinade also acts as the salad dressing saving loads of time. I mean, you don’t use the marinade as the dressing because, gross, rather the tangy dressing is divided in half killing two birds with one stone. I’ll take it!

Paired with crisp grape tomatoes, fresh lettuces, creamy avocado, and crunchy tortilla chips, this salad is going to blow all other taco salads out of the water. The crunch, the freshness, the flavor – ALL THE THINGS! But especially that dressing, man, LOVED it!!

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing!  #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Oh! I can’t forget to mention – Terranea makes their own sea salt (SAHcool!) and sent us home with a few vials of their best. On taco salad night during the retreat Ashley sprinkled some of the big flakes on the fresh avocado before we scooped it onto our plates and it was truly the best avocado eating experience of my life. I sprinkled a few flakes on top of this salad to give it some pop and it was amazing!

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing!  #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Alrighty then! This salad is a cinch to make, afterall, as I mentioned, the shrimp marinade and salad dressing are one in the same. Simply combine 1/4 cup each extra virgin olive oil and fresh lime juice with 1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro, 1 Tablespoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small food processor or blender then process until smooth.

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing!  #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Scoop 3 Tablespoons of the dressing into a plastic bag with 1/2lb raw, peeled then deveined jumbo shrimp. I like to buy frozen raw shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined to save time. All you have to do is thaw in a bowl of water for 15-20 minutes then you’re ready to rock.

Pop the bag into the refrigerator then marinate for 10 minutes – no longer. If you leave the shrimp in the marinade for too long the lime juice will start to cook the shrimp ceviche-style. Delicious, but not what we’re going for here!

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing!  #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Once the 10 minutes is up, sear half the shrimp in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes a side. Finish with the other half then you’re good to go.

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing!  #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

All together now! Divide fresh romaine lettuce and shredded red cabbage (love that color and crunch,) between plates then top with the shrimp, chopped avocado, halved grape or cherry tomatoes, and lots of blue corn tortilla chips. I like to crush ‘em up with my fork to get lots of crispy crunch with each bite. Drizzle the extra dressing on top then dig in!

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing!  #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad

serves 2

Description

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing! 

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 10oz chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • coarse sea salt (optional)
  • blue corn tortilla chips, crushed

Directions

  1. Combine the first six ingredients in a food processor or blender then process until smooth. Place shrimp in a plastic bag then add 3 Tablespoons of the dressing and marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes (no longer.) Reserve remaining dressing for salad dressing.
  2. After the shrimp have marinated, spray the bottom of a skillet with extra virgin olive oil or nonstick spray then saute in two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, for 1-2 minutes a side, or until just barely cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly. Discard remaining marinade.
  3. Divide lettuce and red cabbage between plates then top with avocados, tomatoes, sauteed shrimp, and crushed tortilla chips. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired, then drizzle dressing on top and serve.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

 

This filling entree salad is going to redefine taco salad night. Seasoned ground beef and cheddar cheese is all well and good, but the light mix of shrimp, avocado, and that honey-cilantro-lime dressing with a pinch of chili powder is SO good!! Can’t wait for you to try this!

Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is light and refreshing with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing!  #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

If you’re looking for another taco salad twist, check out the Picadillo-Style Chicken Taco Salad I recently shared on Better Homes and Garden’s blog, Delish Dish!


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