Tropical Kale Salad with Shrimp

I rarely make the same recipe twice. I just can’t seem to leave well-enough alone. Maybe that is what I like so much about Melissa Joulwan and her Well Fed cookbook. Every recipe has a “You Know How You Could Do That?” section with ideas for tweaking the recipe. That is exactly how I tend to operate – every recipe can always be done differently depending on what you have on hand.

During the time I was raising my kids, when they would ask the age-old question, “What’s for dinner, Mom?” they knew the most likely response would be, “Pantry Surprise #285” or some other random number.  Never being one for pre-planning my meals (not necessarily a great trait), I usually made dinner from whatever I found in the refrigerator and the pantry. I rarely follow recipes exactly – at least not more than once. Instead I use them for inspiration.

So yesterday, when I had to come up with contribution for a pot-luck supper, I put that creativity to work. I knew three things: it had to be Whole30 compliant because that’s what I’m doing right now and it might be the only thing I could eat, it had to have kale in it because I love kale, and it had to have Maine shrimp in it (the sweet, little shrimp that is so delicious) because I had some in my freezer. Avocado and pomegranate seeds were also begging to be included – because I am currently dealing with an addiction to these healthy wonders.

I did use a couple of recipes from Well Fed for inspiration for my marinade/dressing and for the toasted coconut with which I topped the salad.  Links for these recipes are at the bottom of the page – they also are Whole30 compliant.

Whole30 compliant kale salad with shrimp, avocado, pomegranate, coconut and lime

Tropical Kale Salad with Shrimp

  •  1 bunch of fresh kale (enough for at least 8 cups of sliced kale)
  • 1 lb shrimp meat (I used small Maine shrimp, but you can use any size)
  • ¼ red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Seeds from about 1/3 of a pomegranate
  • Caramelized Coconut Chips seasoned with ginger (see NOTE)
  • Lime marinade
  • Tropical Dressing
  1. Marinate the shrimp meat in the Lime Marinade (recipe below) for 30 minutes (do not over marinate as the vinegar actually begins to “cook” the shrimp). Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 tsp of coconut oil in the skillet. Using a slotted spoon remove the shrimp from the marinade and add to the skillet, cooking for a few minutes (will vary depending on the size of the shrimp) until completely opaque.  Remove from pan and allow to cool.
  2.  Tear kale from the center stem and slice the leaves into ½ inch strips. Toss with just enough of the Lime Dressing to coat all the leaves well.
  3. Slice onion and pepper and peel and cut avocado into bite-sized chunks.  Add to the shrimp and drizzle with a little of the remaining Lime Dressing.  Toss with the kale.
  4. Sprinkle liberally with pomegranate seeds (you can never have too many of these) and the Caramelized Coconut Chips.

NOTE: The recipe for Caramelized Coconut Chips can be found here. Just substitute 1/4 tsp of ground ginger for the cinnamon. Sprinkle some on the salad and save the rest for snacking!

 Lime Marinade

  • ½ cup rice vinegar (make sure it’s sugar-free)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 lime, grated for zest  (about 1 tsp) and then juiced (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or soy sauce if you’re not avoiding soy)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Mix all the ingredients well using either a whisk or by shaking in a jar.

Tropical Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar (unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Mix all ingredients except the olive oil. Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes to blend flavors.
  2. Completely blend in the olive oil using a wire whisk or by thorough shaking in a jar. You may not need all of this, so save leftovers for a salad tomorrow. 
More Whole30 recipes you might like:
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