Hey, hey everybody, hope you had a nice weekend and welcome to a new week!
This was one of the best weekends at home in awhile – I got a million things done but still had time for fun. My Mom and I kicked things off with a trip to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. It was awesome to be back among the early morning hustle and bustle. The energy is amazing!
One of my most exciting purchases was a Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant which I put under dirt later that day. I planted a couple of these in my garden a few years ago and they grew as big as trucks but produced truck LOADS of sugary-sweet cherry tomatoes. Grow baby, grow!
We also sampled a few gluten free goodies at the market including this monster cookie from the Sweet Treat Without Wheat folks. Oh my gosh, I would have never in a million years guessed that it wasn’t a traditional cookie. Totally chewy, gooey and totally worth cheating on the online sugar-free course I’m currently taking. I just had to have it. I just had to!
Later that afternoon I ninja-kicked a ton of housework then took a break mid-afternoon to pick a bouquet of tulips from our garden for my Mom/Mother’s Day. Don’t they look like a wedding bouquet? We moved into our house late last summer so I didn’t even know we them in our gardens until they popped up last week. Such a fun surprise!
She absolutely loved them!
Ben and I had very intense plans for Saturday night: wine tasting. Twist my arm.
We love Louis Martini, which has a cabernet from both Napa Valley and Sonoma County, but always forget which region’s we prefer. So, we bought a bottle of each then covered, poured, sipped, and judged. The winner? Sonoma. Bonus that it’s the cheaper of the two, too!
On Sunday, Mother’s Day, I slept in while the boys did cute things, then the whole family convened at my brother and sister-in-law’s house for a Mother’s Day feast to celebrate the most important lady in my life. My Mom! (And Ben’s Mom from afar, of course!)
There was a last minute change of plans because of some morning rain, and our BBQ potluck, which Ben made Grandpa’s Pasta Salad and Green Bean Casserole for, got turned into brunch with pancakes and eggs. It was quite the eccentric spread, but delicious nonetheless.
So thankful to that I get to call the most generous, thoughtful, kind, caring, and giving person I know, Mom. (Arm out for my homie, aka my little brother.)
Also incredibly thankful that I got to celebrate my first Mother’s Day with the people that made me a Mama! I can’t even look at my little boy without wanting to burst into a million pieces, and Ben made this entire weekend very special. Love them. :)
In other news, salad! Nice transition, eh? ;)
I don’t know about you but I could eat a salad every single day of my life, and Santorini Salad with Cucumber-Basil Yogurt Dressing is one of the best I’ve had in awhile thanks to the crunchy combo of romaine lettuce, crispy baked garbanzo beans, fresh tomatoes, tangy feta cheese and sauteed lemon shrimp drizzled with a killer Cucumber-Basil Yogurt Dressing.
I usually forgo creamy dressings in favor of vinaigrette – unless I’m individually squeezing a line of Ranch on a carrot stick, of course – but this cooling Greek-yogurt number is divine!
Now, I can’t take all the credit for this creation. The Santorini Salad is one of the menu items at SweetGreen, the made-to-order salad shop we visited the last time we were in DC. I was trying to decide between the Kale and Wild Rice Bowl and this salad, and while the Wild Rice Bowl eventually won out, I obviously haven’t been able to get this fresh, Mediterranean-inspired salad out of my mind.
This is the kind of meal that you feel yourself getting healthier after eating. How many other dishes can you say that about?!
Start by making the baked garbanzo beans which are a decadent-tasting, crispy-crunchy topping on the salad (recycled pics from my Chicken Power Bowls.) These babies are like healthy corn nuts. Love ’em!
Drain then rinse 1 can garbanzo beans, which are also sometimes called chickpeas.
Dry the beans off well in a kitchen towel then toss with 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper then bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown, shaking the pan halfway through. The garbanzo beans will crisp as they cool, FYI. Set those babies aside to cool and try not to munch your way through the entire batch before assembling your salads.
You’ve been warned.
Next make the Cucumber-Basil Yogurt Dressing – my favorite part of the salad. In food processor (could probably use a blender) combine 1/2 small cucumber, 2 Tablespoons each plain Greek yogurt, chopped fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 small garlic clove, salt and pepper then let ‘er rip. Dressing = done! Mmm, you’ll just love it. I think it’d make an awesome chicken marinade for the grill, too.
Next get the shrimp ready. I almost always buy frozen raw shrimp that’s been peeled and de-veined as it’s a cinch to thaw – just pop the frozen shrimp in a bowl of cool water for about 10 minutes then they should be ready to go.
Pat 1lb peeled and de-veined shrimp dry with a paper towel then mist with extra virgin olive oil and season with garlic salt and pepper. Add them to a hot skillet over medium-high heat then cook for 1-2 minutes a side, or until pink and bouncy. You may need to do this in a couple batches as to not crowd the skillet.
Finish up by squeezing the juice of 1/2 lemon over the shrimp and let the juice sizzle away for 30 seconds or so before removing them to a plate. Could not be easier, people!
Fill plates with chopped romaine lettuce then top with the sauteed lemon shrimp and crispy baked garbanzo beans, along with halved grape or cherry tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese. Drizzle the Cucumber-Basil Yogurt Dressing on top, then chow down!
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Santorini Salad with Cucumber-Basil Yogurt Dressing
Santorini Salad with Cucumber-Basil Yogurt Dressing is a light and refreshing, gluten-free salad.
- 2-10oz bags romaine lettuce
- 15oz can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- garlic salt and pepper
- 1lb peeled and de-veined shrimp
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- For the Cucumber-Basil Yogurt Dressing:
- 1/2 cup peeled and seeded chopped cucumber (about 1/2 small cucumber)
- 2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, chopped
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain garbanzo beans then rinse and pat dry with a towel (the dryer the better.) Pour onto a baking sheet then add extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper then toss with hands to coat. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown, shaking pan halfway through (beans will continue crisping as they cool,) then set aside to cool completely. Can be made ahead of time - bake then cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
- Combine ingredients for Cucumber-Basil Yogurt Dressing in a food processor then blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary then set aside. Can be made ahead of time.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat then spray with nonstick spray or mist with extra virgin olive oil. Pat shrimp dry then season with garlic salt and pepper. Add to skillet then cook for 1-2 minutes on one side before flipping and cooking for 1-2 minutes on the other side, or until pink (don't overcook.) Squeeze lemon into skillet then cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove shrimp to plate then set aside.
- Divide lettuce between plates then top each with 2 Tablespoons feta cheese and a quarter of the tomatoes, shrimp, and crispy garbanzo beans. Drizzle dressing on top then serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
The dressing on this salad makes it feel very fancy – but you saw how easy it was to make. Plus, thanks to the cooling cucumber and yogurt, it makes for a wonderful meal on a hot spring or summer night. Enjoy!