Roasted Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and White Beans

Roasted Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and White Beans

Well, I’m BACKKKK from the most epic vacation ever.

18 days abroad, exploring Switzerland and Italy with Aaron, my sister Rachel, & her husband Peter.

Italian Vacation

We did some pretty awesome things…. like floating down the Limmat river through Zurich, taking a gondola ride to the top of Mount Pilatus, tobogganing down a slide on the side of said mountain, SUPing in the warm blue waters of the Mediterranean sea, walking through picturesque vineyards in the hills of Tuscany, and of course, eating some AMAZING food.

My absolute favorite was the family run restaurant La Tavernaccia, located in the Trastevere region of Rome.

The food was unreal, and the prices were freaking fabulous! We sprint-walked from the Colosseum in order to make it before lunch ended, and it was worth every second of the inner thigh chaffing that resulted ūüėČ

We ordered a perfectly salty-sweet lardo bruschetta drizzled with honey and sea salt, fresh fruit, wood oven roasted suckling pig with crispy potatoes, pasta all’amatriciana, and 1 liter of white wine, all for 38 euros!! (insert shocked face emoji here) And no joke, it was the best food we had of the entire trip. PLEASE VISIT next time you are in Rome.

Lardo, Honey, and Bread

pasta al'amatriciana

Suckling Pig with Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

But even though we had so much fun traveling, there’s nothing like coming home to your own bed (and kitchen!) and appreciating how awesome your real life is.

Today I’m still battling jet lag, but can’t resist the allure of the kitchen. On the menu this week is some delicious pho, pork chile verde, eggplant & lentils, cobb salad, marinated pork loin, roasted chicken, and a ginormous hodge podge salad. Already went shopping & picked up all the ingredients!

But today, I’m sharing a recipe I whipped up right before we left for our trip.

Roasted Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and White Beans.

The actual prep time is pretty short. The longest step is the 30 minute shrimp marinade, which doesn’t actually require any work. Other than that, it’s just a quick roasting of the shrimp under the broiler (about 5 minutes), crisping up¬†some pancetta, and saut√©ing shallots until tender.

Toss with some creamy white beans, parmesan cheese, thyme, and lemon, & serve over baby arugula. Finish with a drizzle of fruity extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a pop of flaky Maldon sea salt. Simple & delicious (and it goes great with a crusty loaf of bread).

Roasted Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and White Beans

Roasted Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and White Beans
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • Pinch of kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • 5 oz baby arugula
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Maldon sea salt, for seasoning
Instructions
  1. Place the shrimp in a large shallow dish. Pour 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice over the shrimp. Season with a generous pinch each of salt & pepper, and toss to combine. Set in the refrigerator and let marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. While the shrimp marinates, prep the rest of the salad. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a small nonstick skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes, until browned and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta to a paper towel covered plate and set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallot and thyme to the pan. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until softened and just starting to get a golden hue. Turn off the heat.
  4. Place the cannellini beans in a medium bowl. Add the crispy pancetta, sautéed shallots, juice of 1/2 lemon, parmesan cheese, and a pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Taste & season with more salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Preheat the broiler on high heat. When the shrimp is done marinating, place them on a broiling pan & broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes per side, until bright pink and the flesh has just become opaque. When done, remove from the oven and set aside.
  6. Next, plate each salad. Divide the arugula up into 4 bowls. Top each bowl with 1/4th of the bean-shallot-pancetta mixture, and 1/4th of the shrimp. Drizzle each bowl with a generous drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and a large sprinkle of flaky Maldon sea salt. Serve right away with a hunk of crusty bread.
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Curried Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Curried Chicken Salad

So I seriously never liked chicken salad…. (I blame goopy mayonnaise overkill)

But something switched this year and I am ALL about it!

It’s super satisfying, and tastes so yummy mounded on salad or wrapped in a large leaf of butter lettuce. I’m even into making picnic sandwiches with croissants!

One major swap that makes chicken a lot more refreshing & light is swapping out half the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt ūüôā

It adds a delicious tang and ups the protein content of the salad. Win win.

I’ve made regular chicken salad with fresh grapes and walnuts, but I like it even better with a pop of curry powder. The turmeric gives the whole thing a beautiful golden tint, and the blend of curry powder spices makes each bite exciting and flavorful.

Of course, if you just had a mix of chicken coated w. creamy sauce, things could get a bit boring, texture-wise.

Throw in some diced celery, raisins, and sliced almonds and now you’ve got a nice crunch factor. Finally, some minced cilantro & green onions compliment the creamy curry flavor, and make the perfect chicken salad. Yum Yum.

Chicken salad makes awesome picnic food.

Imagine lounging on a blanket, reveling in the sun, and pulling out a batch of this awesome chicken salad. It’s light, refreshing, savory, and satisfying. You can even kick it up a notch by stuffing it into croissants.

It’s super delicious!

Curried Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups

Curried Chicken Salad Wraps
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated, washed, and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 3 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
Instructions
  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook the chicken breasts for about 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (use an instant thermometer if you aren't sure!).
  2. Remove the chicken breasts and let cool. When cooled, dice the chicken into a half-inch dice and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, curry powder, apricot preserve, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper until well combined. Add the diced chicken, celery, green onions, raisins, almonds, and cilantro. Use a big spoon to stir to combine. Refrigerate to cool before serving, if desired.
  4. When ready to serve, spoon the chicken salad mixture onto the lettuce leaves, fold up, and enjoy. Goes great with fresh croissants, or even turned into a chicken salad croissan-wich!

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Farro Salad with Summer Vegetables

Farro Salad with Summer Vegetables

Pearled farro. I love it.

It’s become my go-to quick cooking grain for pilafs and easy salads.

Unpearled farro (with the bran layer fully intact) requires soaking and long cooking times, but semi-pearled and pearled farro have some of (or most of) the bran layer removed, shortening the cooking time and increasing the tenderness.

My ultimate favorite is semi-pearled, since I enjoy the nutty flavor and tougher texture of the bran, but the¬†grocery store nearest me only carries fully pearled farro. Either way, it’s freaking delicious and nutritious.

Farro (also known as emmer) is a type of wheat, different from the modern wheat cultivated today. It has a higher protein and fiber content than traditional wheat, and reminds me a lot of barley.

Since farro has a pretty neutral, nutty taste, it’s perfect for grain-based side dishes.

If you toss it with a vinaigrette, the plump grains absorb the vinaigrette like a sponge, ensuring flavor in every bite. Load it up with mixed herbs, veggies, and cheeses for an absolutely mouth watering side dish or light main dish. Top with grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu to make it a meal.

This Farro Salad with Summer Vegetables just SCREAMS summer.

It highlights all of summer’s best, like bell pepper, zucchini, tomato, cucumber, eggplant, and fresh herbs. Eating it instantly transports me to a picnic at the beach, lounging in the sun, eating light fresh food that makes me feel good. Good thing it makes enough to serve 8, so I can enjoy it all week!

Farro Salad with Summer Vegetables - Perfect for summer!

Farro Salad with Summer Vegetables
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 
Servings: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups 16 oz uncooked pearled farro
  • 2 large or 3 small zucchini, ends discarded, each squash sliced vertically into 1/4ths
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, ¬†seeds and stem removed
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, ¬†seeds and stem removed
  • 1 small eggplant or 1/2 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • Olive oil or grapeseed oil, for drizzling
  • 3/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup cucumber, cut into a small dice
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 1 cup quartered kalamata olives
  • 8 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
Instructions
  1. Fill a saucepan with water, add a generous pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the farro, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain the farro and place in a large salad bowl.
  2. Drizzle the zucchini slices, bell pepper halves, and eggplant slices with olive oil or grapeseed oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or broiler on high heat and grill or broil the vegetables in batches, flipping once, until grilled/charred but still firm (about 6-10 minutes per batch). Remove the vegetables to a plate and let cool.
  3. When the grilled vegetables are cooled, chop them into a small dice, about 1/4 inch, and add to the salad bowl with the farro. Add the red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, basil, mint, olives, and feta cheese and toss to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper. Pour over the farro salad and toss well. Serve as a light dinner with grilled bread and sliced fruit, or top with grilled chicken for a heartier meal. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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