WITH BROCCOLINI IT'S SO HEALTHY.
Ok I will not shout anymore. But, seriously. These salads? NOT the TGIFriday's sadclownface Caesars with goopy dressing that I ate in high school "for something light." Ugh. If I do nothing in life, it will be to teach Beck just how to eat like a person for how she feels, and disregard any internal or external pressure to look a certain way. I have been SO anxious about this recently, the fear that she'll hate her body and spend her whole life trying to make it look different the way, well, everyone I know does.
But this isn't about that. This is about the way I love to eat salads! Requirements are: flavor, protein, and enough ingredients that I'm not .... eating a bowl of greens. Although I have a salad coming soon that is basically a bowl of greens, so ignore everything I say.
This Lemon Thyme Shrimp Caesar Salad is SO good, and definitely feels like real cooking, which I like (rather than opening a bag of salad greens and throwing on some dressing that has definitely been in the fridge for multiple moves but it's not bad so we keep moving it). We roast tomatoes and broccolini, sear shrimp, toast croutons, and shake up a super rustic Caesar dressing with tons of lemon and fresh thyme. The whole thing together is really perfect, balanced, and feel-good without being sad-healthy, my least kind of healthy food.
The components we need to work on here are: dressing, roasted veggies, seared shrimp, croutons. The dressing and croutons can definitely be made in advance - maybe during a meal prep afternoon! I start with the dressing, which is made with lemon juice, anchovy paste, garlic, parmesan, olive oil, fresh thyme leaves, and salt and pepper. You can absolutely skip the thyme if you don't have any; the dressing is perfect without it.
Place all the ingredients in a jar.
Shake! Taste, add more salt and pepper to your preference. I love that this is super tangy and just barely creamy from the parmesan and olive oil, but has a mostly vinaigrette feel. This is also a great marinade for chicken.
For the rest of the salad, we have mixed lettuces, broccolini and tomatoes, shrimp with spices, and cubed bread.
To work on the cooked parts of the salad, preheat the oven to 400F and arrange the tomatoes and broccolini on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast the veggies for 20 minutes until they're golden at the edges.
While the veggies are working, make the croutons. Add the bread cubes with butter to a skillet over medium heat.
Toss the bread in the butter for about 10 minutes to toast the croutons, then sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and some parmesan.
Turn the heat OFF and toss the parmesan with the bread, then let the croutons cool while you finish the salads.
Other prep includes searing the shrimp (I toss them with spices and olive oil first) for about a minute on each side...
...and drizzling a bit of dressing over the greens. You could also use heartier kale for this and massage the dressing into the kale in advance so it softens somewhat.
So now! Roasted veggies, cooked shrimp and croutons, and greens.
Make bowls, drizzle with more dressing if you'd like, and eat!
I. Adore. These.
Seriously, I can't tell you how great this dressing is, and how satisfying I find salads like this. Again, not sad-healthy, but definitely good for you.
Here's to us! And to roasted broccolini, which is almost always a great idea.
Tangy, light Caesar dressing with seared shrimp, buttery croutons, and roasted broccolini over baby kale. This salad is a winner!
Lemon Thyme Caesar Dressing
- ½ lemon (juiced)
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste ((or 1 anchovy filet, minced))
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups bread cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 8 cups salad greens (any kind you like )
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 6 ounces broccolini (or broccolini, cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 12 ounces shrimp (peeled and devined)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Make the dressing. Whisk all ingredients in a dish (or shake everything up in a mason jar) with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning to your preference – I usually add a few more pinches of salt.
- Make the croutons. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the bread cubes in the butter until they are well-coated. Toast the buttery bread in the skillet for 10-15 minutes until golden on all sides, turning the croutons every few minutes. When the bread is crispy, sprinkle over the parmesan and turn the heat OFF. Toss the croutons in the parmesan to toast the cheese just slightly, then transfer to a bowl or plate to cool.
- Roast the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400F. Arrange the tomatoes and broccolini on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven.
- Cook the shrimp. Preheat a large skillet to medium-high with the olive oil. Toss the shrimp with the spices in a bowl until evenly coated. When the skillet is hot, add the shrimp in one layer and let sizzle for about 2 minutes on each side until just barely cooked through. Remove from the heat.
- Assemble the salads. Place the salad greens in a large bowl and drizzle with a bit of the dressing. Toss with tongs and divide the greens among plates. Top with the roasted vegetables, shrimp, and croutons. Drizzle with extra dressing if you’d like. Enjoy!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Main Dish