From Your Table to Your Health: Shrimp and Spinach Salad

Becky Varner shares a recipe that celebrates good health and seasonal flavor in a single bound.
BY BECKY VARNER Published: April 11, 2012

Main dish salads are refreshing in the warm weather months and are perfect for celebrating seasonal vegetables and including foods from every group of MyPlate.

Make half of the plate vegetables and fruits, with veggies getting a slightly larger portion of the plate. Top the other side with grains and protein, with the grains getting a larger slice of real estate. Complement with dairy to complete your MyPlate perfection.

Greens are often used as the bed for the salad. Deeper and darker greens usually indicate more nutrients. Dark green leafy vegetables provide nutrients such beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, folate, iron and potassium.

Here are some perfect salad foundations:

• Arugula: Tender green with bright irregularly shaped leaves with a sharp and peppery flavor.

• Bibb lettuce: Small, round and loosely formed head with tender and soft greens with a mild and delicate flavor.

• Curly endive: Bitter flavor that balances nicely when mixed with sweeter greens.

• Iceberg lettuce: Crisp, light green lettuce with little flavor and minimal nutritional value.

• Red leaf lettuce: Frilly green lettuce with a crisp texture and full flavor. Also comes in green.

• Romaine lettuce: Extremely crisp with a mild flavor.

• Spinach: Dark green, tender with a rich and hearty flavor.

• Watercress: Small, dark leaves with a pungent peppery flavor.

• Mesclun: Blend of salad greens sold in bulk; the specific greens used can vary from one market to another.

Greens can be used solo or in combination in salads. If using a mixture of greens for the base of the salad, choose several with contrasting flavors and colors.

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Spinach Salad with Shrimp

Recipe makes 2 servings

4 cups fresh spinach leaves

½ cup grape tomatoes

½ cup cucumber slices, ¼-inch thick slices on the diagonal

¼ cup purple onion slices

½ cup red bell pepper slices, ¼ inch wide by 1½ inches long

½ cup fresh asparagus spears, remove thick ends

½ cup fresh raspberries

½ cup fresh blueberries

4 ounces frozen cooked shrimp (thawed, rinsed and drained)

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

¼ cup reduced-fat grated sharp cheddar cheese made with 2 percent-fat milk

Salad Dressing

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped green onion

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

2 teaspoons sugar

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Combine salad dressing ingredients in a small jar with a tightfitting lid. Secure lid and shake to mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve salads.

Divide spinach leaves evenly on two serving plates.

Arrange half of the grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, onion slices, red bell pepper slices and asparagus spears on each bed of spinach.

Gently place half of the raspberries and blueberries on each salad.

Arrange half of the shrimp on each salad.

Sprinkle each salad with half of the grated cheese.

Drizzle half of the salad dressing on each salad.

Nutrition information per serving: 359 calories, 22 grams protein, 16 grams fat, 33 grams carbohydrates, 125 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams dietary fiber and 492 milligrams sodium.

Source: Becky Varner

Also ...

Becky will teach a Learn with Lunch class at noon April 17 at the Buy For Less Gourmet Grille, 10011 SE 15 St. in Midwest City. The theme is Springtime Brunch, and the menu includes Mango & Strawberry Salad, Ginger Glazed Ham and Banana Muffins. Class size is limited; call 302-6273, ext. 332, for reservations.

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