Thursday, August 22, 2013

California Chopped Salad with Shrimp

Sometimes I've just gotta keep it real, so here goes.  I've been wanting to make this salad ever since I received my copy of Weeknights with Giada, which was over a year ago. In fact, it was the number one recipe I wanted to make after paging through the book.  Any reasonable person would have went out, bought the ingredients, and made the salad. What did I do?  I stared at the recipe in the book and thought about all the washing, chopping, grilling, whisking, and tossing.  Then I just flipped the page to something easier and more convenient.  For an entire year! 

Last week I was flipping through the book again and this recipe was staring me right in the face.  I decided it was time to make the salad.  I bought the ingredients with the intention to make the salad for dinner that night.  Truth: it took me three days to psych myself up and make the salad! I may just be the Queen of Procrastination!

I had to force myself to get started on the salad, but I'm so glad I did!  This salad is bursting with bright fresh flavor and hits all the notes that a good salad should.  You get the crispness form the lettuce and tortilla strips, the creaminess of the avocado, the smokiness from the grilled corn and zucchini, tender bites of sweet grilled shrimp, and the fresh flavor of juicy summer-ripe tomatoes.  This colorful salad gets tossed in a zingy and refreshing lemon vinaigrette that quite simply brings all the flavors to life. 

I might just have it in me to make another one.

California Chopped Salad with Shrimp
Adapted from Weeknights with Giada
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4

1 head of romaine lettuce, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 ear of corn, husk and silk removed
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
6 colossal or 12 extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
olive oil, for drizzling
salt and black pepper
1/2 head butter lettuce, torn
2 medium tomatoes, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2" cubes
2 cups store-bought tortilla strips


3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 garlic clove, minced or grated 
salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle the corn, zucchini, and shrimp with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Grill the corn and zucchini for 2 minutes on all sides until crisp-tender.  Grill the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until the shrimp is opaque and cooked through.

Add the romaine and butter lettuce to a large salad bowl.  Using a sharp knife, remove the kernels from the corn and add to the salad bowl.  Chop the zucchini into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the bowl.  Cut the shrimp into 1/2" pieces and add to the bowl (I used medium shrimp so I just left them whole).  Add the tomatoes and avocado to the bowl.  

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar, minced/grated garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk until smooth.

Pour the dressing over the salad (use discretion as you may not need to use it all) and toss until all the ingredients are coated.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with tortilla strips and serve.

Potluck Week at IHCC!

Every Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen


  1. Hi Kim,
    The salad looks really good! Haha, I was smiling, reading, at the way you keep the recipe for a whole year, that certainly sounds familiar!
    This salad looks really delicious! If this is a real potluck, I would be the first in queue for this salad! Great choice!

  2. A good salad is always worth the effort. This looks fabulous.


  3. Girl, you are TOTALLY not alone!! I rarely make salads mainly because I hate doing all the chopping necessary to make them craveable. Which this one totally is. LOVE all those mixins!

  4. Funny! I'm sitting here putting together a menu for next week (well not really since I'm reading your blog) and I keep scratching out ideas b/c I can't get past the chopping, washing, etc for some of the dishes I feel like eating. I completely understand!

    This looks really good, Kim. Lots of textures and colors. What a fine thing to have on a hot summer night!

  5. This salad definitely looks worth the effort. Love the addition of the shrimp that takes it from being a side to being a light meal.

  6. I do the same thing, Kim. Winner of a salad here...I need to get back to more salads for lunch and fewer carbs. This has me ready to go buy the ingredients right now.

  7. Oh, Kim, I totally get it - so many dishes in my books I'm dying to try, but I put them off because I can't be pfaffed with all the prep involved.

    Funny thing is, usually once I actually bite the bullet and get started, I actually find all the chopping, etc really quite pleasant and therapeutic.

    I think I could certainly find time to make this salad - it has so many wonderful textures, flavours and colours going on, I know it would be a huge hit around here. It's exactly the kind of thing G likes to have on a regular basis once summer rolls around, and you know that I'm a complete sucker for anything with grilled shrimp!

  8. Where did you find the tri color tortilla strips? I love using those but have a hard time finding them.

  9. I just love chopped salads so much, Kim. Oh why did I get cursed with an allergy to shellfish later in life! I can just taste how wonderful the shrimp is in this salad! Oh BTW, I don't know if you knew this, but you're in my 'delicious blogs list' even as bad as I am to getting around to visit. With a new full-time 12-month a year job, it's getting harder to visit my favorite blogging friends, but I'll do the best that I can and just hope that you will understand.


  10. Oh gosh..I'm the same way with anything that contains too many veggies. They're such high maintanence LOL One of the reasons we rarely eat salad is because I hate making salad. (that could be because when I was a kid, it was always my job to make the salad. and I couldn't chop the lettuce, I had to tear it!) But when it comes down to it, I love a good, flavorful salad! The dressing itself would be reason enough to make any salad. Looks amazing!

  11. Yes I get it--the recipes that get quickly made at my house are the low-effort ones while the prep-heavy ones get held off forever. ;-) Glad you finally made this one--it looks fabulous. I love all of the color you got with those fun tortilla strips and all of the ingredients are my favorites.

    Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week too--it is always a pleasure having you join in!

  12. I would SO have done the same thing. This looks well worth it though, I do love a good salad, especially with all that shrimp!

  13. I made this tonight and it was soo good! Thanks for the recipe.
    Fruit Bowl & Salad Bowl


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