Winter doesn’t scream salad because a) nothing locally is in season here in New England b) it isn’t warm & comforting like winter food and c) aren’t we wearing chunky knit sweaters for a reason? However, hitting a bunch of food groups in one dish makes me feel accomplished and there’s nothing more grown up for my lunch than arugula salad – compared to eating the crust of somebody’s pb & fluff sandwich while doing something else. This is a home lunch, or a dinner! I do not condone warming fish at the office. Nope. I bring you this salad with juicy shrimp, peppery arugula and pear to inch us towards the local produce that will be, once the seasons change and because we all deserve a restaurant-quality salad at home.
Veg, fruit, nuts, and fish -all in one dish? Yesss! Plus, my dressing hack takes zero brainpower and is ohh-so-perfect!
Winter Salad with Shrimp, Arugula & Pear
Ingredients: (for 1)
~4 large shrimp (~4 per person depending on med/lg/jumbo or swap with salmon/etc)
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups arugula
1/2 pear, chopped
1 tablespoon Italian Dressing
1 tablespoon Honey Mustard Dressing
In a completely dry pan, toast the walnuts over medium-low heat, being careful not to let them burn – about 3-5 minutes.
Peal & de-vein the shrimp. Then heat a small pan to medium heat with the butter. Sear the shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side until pink and just cooked through. Remove promptly from the heat and set to the side.
Mix together the arugula, toasted walnuts, pear and shrimp.
In a small jar (or in a bowl with a whisk) shake together the two dressings.
Toss the salad in the dressing.
Serve and enjoy!
I love the sweet pear with the peppery arugula. There is such great flavor here without becoming super complicated- which is how I normally like salads = all.the.stuff. The dressing is spot-on and would be that dressing at a restaurant you love that you can’t put your finger on what exactly it is. The Italian dressing decreases the sweetness of the honey mustard. The best Italian is this one – seriously, so perfect.
Salads for lunch can be tricky. Sometimes they’re tasty but not filling, or sometimes they’re delicious but full of the add-ons and not the healthy parts. I made this one with a tweak on the traditional Italian tuna & white bean salad by really upping the greens. Balance is the goal right now. The days often end with ice cream so starting with a green-based smoothie and lunch centered around veggies, fish, and protein seems like a good idea.
Tuna & White Bean Protein Salad (for 2 servings)
1/2 cup white beans
1 can tuna, white in water
2-3 cups arugula
Rinse beans, drain tuna, and wash and chop the tomatoes, cucumber, and greens.
Add everything to a bowl.
Mix one part Italian dressing and 1 part Creamy Caesar dressing. Then toss the salad in the dressing.
I liked the heft to the salad with the tuna and the beans with the fresh and crisp greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I often have arugula around because I love the peppery flavor, and it has a pretty long shelf-life in the fridge. The dressing gives the ideal alive, vinegar touch with the decadence of a creamy dressing too.
I only tossed half with the dressing and batched the rest up for the next day. I’m home on maternity leave and sometimes have fun in the kitchen come lunch time…other days, I’m grateful to have a no-brainer lunch ready to sneak it in before the next feeding/naptime/etc. I don’t often bring tuna to the office for lunch because of the smell-factor, but it would be a perfect dinner to have ready too. Reducing (and finely chopping) the greens would make this more like the traditional Italian one that would be great scooped onto crackers!
I could eat this one weekly. This salad has all the things: Nutty cracked wheat! Creamy avocado! Juicy peach! Peppery arugula! Crunchy pistachio! Do you know Simply Savory by Kate? You should! She made these curried pistachio and added them to a salad with peaches and avocado. Yum! I took a variation on it.
I tossed mine all together with a touch of honey mustard dressing and grilled sausages on top. LOVED it. This would be a really great use of a leftover grain. It would pack well if the nuts and peach were separate until serving.
Peach, Avocado, and Pistachio Salad (for 2-3)
1 cup cracked wheat (or lentils/farro/brown rice/Israeli couscous/quinoa/etc)
1 1/2 cup water or broth
2 sweet Italian sausage links
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons honey mustard dressing
1/3 cup pistachios
Cook the cracked wheat (or other grain) with the water or broth. (I cooked the cracked wheat that morning and refrigerated for the day.)
Grill the sausages.
Chop the peach, avocado, and arugula and mix together with the cracked wheat and dressing. Then top with the pistachios.
Slice the sausages to serve on top. Sprinkle with a little salt & pepper.
This has everything. The grain makes it a filling dinner. I liked the stronger flavor of the greens since the peach is sweet and the arugula was creamy.
This salad served to clients at work made me want to make it ASAP. I love fresh pineapple and since the little one will always eat cucumbers, it means we always have some around. My mint plants are going gang-busters so poof! This salad was born. I planned to make pulled pork int he crockpot so this was perfect alongside it! I also would definitely chop it up more and use it as a relish. Yum!
1/2 cucumber, mostly pealed
1 cup fresh pineapple
8-10 mint leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
Chop the cucumber & seed, if necessary. Chop pineapple, shallot, and mint. Add it all to a bowl.
Add in the lime juice & olive oil. Toss well.
Refrigerate until serving, or serve immediately.
I thought this was perfect with the pork. I was so glad to have something zippy and fresh. This salad was so fast to throw together. The pork cooked all day in the crockpot and it was the fastest dinner to get together. Uhh it was just. so. ideal on a hot hot hot night. The leftover pork will be frozen and probably will go inside tacos. I’d really love this cuke & pineapple all diced up as a relish on a taco or sandwich.
Seriously, make this for your next BBQ and everyone will appreciate this cool, sweet, light, refreshing salad.
I love the idea of a raw sauce to top meat and fish. Mine was grilled shrimp and Mr. J had steak tips. The arugula salad had avocado, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I’ll have to keep the idea of chimichurri around the next time I have handfuls of fresh herbs leftover from something!
1 cup flat parsley
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic, minced
pinch crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 olive oil
2 cups arugula
1 cup mixed greens
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
Preheat the grill.
In a blender or food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper, cumin, salt, pepper, and stream in the olive oil. Taste and add in more oil/vinegar as needed. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Grill the steak/shrimp.
Toss together the arugula, avocado, tomato, and cucumber.
Toss with some salad dressing. Add the grilled steak/shrimp and spoon some chimichurri sauce over the top.
I liked the fresh-herby flavor of the chimichurri. I found it a strong so I made sure there was some on each shrimp, but I wasn’t trying to dress the salad with it. I used some creamy caesar dressing for the salad. I thought a more fatty-peppery dressing was good to contrast the chimichurri sauce.
I’ve been thinking about what this month’s salad dressing would be and I wanted to make a vinaigrette with apple cider. I looked online and saw that everyone uses apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t find one with apple cider. Could it be?
My salad was full of fall flavor: butter lettuce; cucumbers; dried cranberries; feta; pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds and the dressing had a sweetness from the cider and a little tang from the cider vinegar.
1/8 cup olive oil
3 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/8-1/4 cup apple cider
Put oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper into a jar.
Add in the apple cider.
Shake shake shake.
I meant to use some pecorino or shaved parmesan but I forgot to grab some at the store. I seem to always have feta around so in it went for some saltiness. The pumpkin seeds are crunchy and the dried cranberries are tart and chewy.
This is so good and feels festive despite the fact that the salad has 2 ingredients. one (spinach). two (strawberries). Well, that’s two more colors than a box ‘o mac & cheese has. Dinner time isn’t all rainbows and unicorns here. This fell on a night that I had the chance to whip up the dressing while the little dude napped for a few moments. When it was time to eat this adorable salad…that was during the betwitching hours and is a whole different picture than this restaurant-worthy salad. I was being stubborn and convinced I could do it all. Make this salad. You’ll feel like $1000 bucks.
Poppyseed Dressing Ingredients:
adapted from The Kitchn
4 tbs white vinegar
4 tbs sugar
1 tbs poppy seeds
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp mayo
splash lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
sprinkle of salt
Grate the shallot with the smallest grater on a box grater, or blend in a food processor, or dice really finely.
Add the vinegar & sugar to the jar and shake.
Mix everything else together in a jar. Shake shake shake.
The dressing was great. A touch sweet and a touch tart. The poppy seeds are cute. I think it is a great one to make a small amount and have it in the rotation. It would be good on a pasta salad too!
Not enough in your salad? Feta cheese would be good. Some nuts seem right.
‘What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.
It was an anything-goes dinner night here…I think we ate too much guac & chips after swimming that afternoon to warrant wanting dinner. I wanted something. But what? I ended up tossing together a really quick salad and it was just such a reminder that the simplest salads can be the best…either that or the salads with all the stuff.
honey mustard dressing
Chop, dress, toss, and enjoy!
Make your own honey mustard…it’ll take 2 seconds and you can make just enough for this or you can have it around for your next salad.
Peaches will work, if you can stand the fuzz. I cannot so I’ll stick with my nectarines. #thankyouverymuch I loved the combos here. I made my honey mustard heavy on the mustard so it had quite a zing! The lettuce was from the farmers market, the feta was leftover from a Greek-ish salad and the cuke was from our garden. It was perfect. A restaurant would charge $18 for this guy.
I threw it together on a whim and it was everything I wanted. Sweet (nectarine), tangy (honey mustard), salty (feta), and crunchy (cucumbers).
I made some lobster cakes as a play on a crab cake. They were so good and though I plopped mine onto a salad, they would be great as an appetizer too!
1 cup lobster meat, chopped
2 tbs mayo
1 tbs grainy mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
4 chive sprigs minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Mix together the lobster meat, mayo, mustard, and garlic gently to not pulverize the lobster.
Add in the chives and green onion stirring gently.
Heat a large skillet with vegetable oil to medium heat.
Form the mixture into 2-3 patties and roll them in the mixed breadcrumbs.
To check the oil temperature, drop a few breadcrumbs into the oil and see if they sizzle immediately. If they do, then add the patties in to cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Try to let them really crisp on the bottom before flipping so you only have to flip it once.
Remove from the oil and let them drain on paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.
Serve on their own or on top of salad! Enjoy!
This is the best lazy-man’s lobster. It gets crunchy on the outside but is all lobster on the inside. There really isn’t much filler in these bad boys. I ended up adding a 2nd to my plate. I couldn’t resist!
Can you believe I fried them? I never fry things! They’d be good in the oven, if it isn’t too hot to have your oven on.
I served it with honey mustard dressing that is just so easy and worth making yourself:
2 tbs honey
2 tbs dijon mustard
tiniest dab of butter (tiny as in 1/2 teaspoon – this makes all the difference)
shake it up and enjoy!
Make your own honey mustard dressing. It is perfect to make a tiny bit for one or two servings or double/triple/quadruple this and have enough for a while.
This dinner is one to make immediately. I was inspired by all the different grains that are served at work. I chose cracked wheat because a) it is such a healthy grain b) it was much cheaper than some others c) it cooks just like rice. To keep it summery, I didn’t try to serve it really warm. The cracked wheat cooks quickly while the chicken was grilling and while I chopped everything else.
3-4 chicken thighs marinated in Italian dressing.
1 cup cracked wheat
2 cups tomatoes
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh oregano & mint
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Marinate the chicken at room temperature while the grill preheats.
Cook cracked wheat according to package. Mine said 40 minutes but was definitely tender when I fluffed with a fork at 25 minutes.
Chop tomato, feta, and fresh herbs. Add into a bowl with the cracked wheat.
Grill the chicken until fully cooked through, at least 165 degrees.
Shake together the dressing in a jar – olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, dried oregano, garlic, and pepper.
Mix the cracked wheat and everything together with the dressing.
Serve the chicken on top of a bed of the grain salad.
I loved this. We had plenty of tomatoes, oregano, and mint so I was thinking I should do something Mediterranean. The cracked wheat was awesome! It has more of a nutty flavor and I loved knowing it was a better choice than rice or couscous. I forgot that I had some zucchini which would have been good in this, or raw cucumber.
This was so easy and had great flavor. We both loved it and I’m glad we tried something new with flavors that are sure to be a hit.