One thing about this Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Creamy Miso Dressing: must. eat. now.
One thing about me at a restaurant: I’m an obsessive pre-orderer. The beautiful thing about the fancy techno world of today is that menus are available online, right from my phone, so no matter where I am (at the grocery store? on the elliptical? cleaning the basement, like all the one times per five years that I do that?) I can look up a menu and place my mental pre-order. It’s either more fun or less fun to decide what I’m going to order before I even get to the restaurant, but I must do it. I have to. It’s just a thing.
I’m sure it’s totally fun for the people I dine with (read: Bjork) when I do this. We get in the car to drive to the restaurant and before we’ve even pulled out of the driveway, I’m asking him what he’s going to order, and he’s giving me THAT look, and I remember, oh yeah, you don’t understand the concept of the pre-order (ahem, weirdo) and you definitely haven’t even looked at the menu. And it’s really likely that you’re not even sure what kind of food is served at this restaurant, but you’re just chill. I think it’s called laid back? I don’t know, it’s foreign to me.
This salad reminds me of one of my most locked-in-pre-orders of all time from California Pizza Kitchen. That’s right, I just brough CPK to the blog. I was never a huge huuuge fan of CPK but let me tell you what I was a huge huuuge fan of: their miso shrimp and crab salad. Oh my good greens. It was deliciously fresh, crispy, and wonderful. Or is it still? I guess all the CPK’s in our neck of the woods have since closed down, but they probably still exist somewhere, right? Go order this salad if they do.
So this is a completely simplified version, because maybe I didn’t happen to remember to look for a daikon radish at the grocery store this weekend, okay? And maybe my thumb was too tired from phone usage to shred carrots. AND MAYBE I LIKE SIMPLE. Whatever the reason. I just kept this shrimp and avocado salad really basic.
Shrimp (spicy, because duh)
Spinach or Baby Kale
and Miso Dressing
Right? Like that’s totally doable. I might also want to recommend this: homemade wonton strips. Just cut wonton wrappers into strips and fry them in a little bit of oil over low heat; drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. You will most likely find yourself in the same predicament that we did, which was sitting down to a big bowl of shrimp and avocado salad only to find that OOPS we ate all the wonton strips already. 900% addicting.
I kid you not – after frying the strips and prepping the salad, we literally only had one single golden salty fried wonton strip left. Bjork let me put it on my salad. Self-sacrificial romance. ❤
One final note about the dressing: it’s a MISO DRESSING. It’s not too hard to find miso paste (I shop at a very regular grocery store and it was right there in the refrigerated food section) but it does have a really unique taste. If you’re not sure, or if you are very sure that you don’t like miso, maybe start with something more like this Chopped Thai Chicken Salad dressing. That’s pretty much a guaranteed pre-order for your own personal kitchen forever.
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ pound raw shrimp, tails removed
- ½ tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1½ cups sliced avocados (2 small)
- 1 cucumber
- 4 cups chopped spinach or baby kale
- fresh chopped cilantro for topping
- peanuts for topping
- 1 1-inch piece of fresh peeled ginger
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 3 tablespoons lime juice (more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1½ tablespoons white miso (it's like a paste - you can buy it at many regular grocery stores)
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and shrimp; sprinkle with the chili powder and cayenne directly in the pan. Saute for a few minutes on each side until the shrimp are no longer clear and have a nice golden color on the outside.
- Cut the avocados in half; cut lines through the avocado vertically and horizontally and scoop the flesh out with a spoon (like this). Peel and dice the cucumber. Chop the spinach or baby kale into small bite sized pieces. Arrange in a bowl with the shrimp.
- Puree all the dressing ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust to your preferences. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately (or store the individual parts separately in the refrigerator until ready to serve). Top with fresh cilantro and peanuts for crunch.