Cooking in the summer is all about lightness. It is the season when fruits, veggies, legumes, fish, and most other foods are at their most fresh and abundant, so it is crucial to take advantage of this when preparing summertime foods. Because these types of foods are so readily available, summer is a great time to integrate gluten-free cooking into your kitchen routine! This week, I chose to highlight shrimp, white bean, and tomato salad as one of my summer favorites. I recently featured it on my Gluten-Free Cooking Blog and here have provided a classic recipe, but the beauty of a salad is its versatility. Therefore, you can mix and match ingredients to best cater to your family’s taste (or what you have available in your fridge!). Furthermore, while meat is a valuable source of protein, shrimp and beans provide healthy alternatives, or useful substitutes for any vegetarians or vegans out there. The white bean is ideal for this salad because it is the least heavy bean option, but still provides an adequate amount of flavor and texture to this dish. I also have a strong preference for this dish because, while it is a low-cal light option, it is still quite filling due to the double dose of protein provided by the shrimp and bean dynamic. Lemon-honey vinaigrette coupled with halved grape or cherry tomatoes likewise gives this salad a slight tang of citrus, perfectly complimenting the shrimp and beans and making for a well-balanced dish. Another bonus of this salad is its ability to function as either a side serving or as an entrée course. I enjoy it most as a lunch or brunch entrée, but at a recent catering event hosted by Total Event Resources we served it up in small mason jars as an hors d’oeuvres with great popularity. Mason jars offer a great way to give any dish an air of summertime. Following is the recipe to bring my gluten-free shrimp, white bean, and tomato salad into your home:
- 2 pounds frozen medium (31-40) deveined, peeled and defrosted shrimp. If tail is on, remove and discard.
- 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
- 1 pound grape or cherry tomato tomatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cups thinly sliced yellow or red onion
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 10 cups julienned lettuce of choice
- Lemon-Honey Dressing, as needed, recipe follows
- Blanced, chilled asparagus, as needed, optional
- Balsamic Vinegar, as needed for drizzling, optional
When shrimp have defrosted, spread out on several thick sheets of paper towel, cover with more paper towel, pat dry. Reserve.
Repeat with beans and tomatoes, cut side down (halve). Reserve.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onions and sauté, stirring, until translucent but not brown. Add reserved shrimp and sauté, stirring, just until shrimp are cooked through.
Remove pan from heat, sprinkle on the oregano, and let cool to room temperature.
Transfer reserved beans and tomatoes to a large bowl. When cooked shrimp are cool, add to bowl. Toss with 1/3 cup of Lemon-Honey Dressing (recipe forthcoming). Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, place lettuce in a large bowl. Add ¼ cup of Lemon-Honey Dressing. Toss well. Toss the shrimp salad to distribute dressing. Place 1 ample cup of lettuce on a plate, top with 1 ample cup of shrimp salad.
Serve with a side of blanched asparagus that has been lightly drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.
Below is the recipe for my favorite dressing for this salad:
Lemon Honey Vinaigrette (Yield: 2 cups)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (maximum juice derived from thin-skinned lemons)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh garlic
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients in a 1-quart bowl and whisk until honey is dissolved and dressing is emulsified. Refrigerate, covered. Whisk again to emulsify before using.