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Grilled Shrimp & Quinoa Salad with Raspberry Basil Vinaigrette

This simple salad stole the show at work today! My restaurant was “competing” with the free food at a corporate barbecue across the street today. I honestly didn’t expect us to be busy. I threw together this salad special and it actually sold out! It’s unique and refreshing. All the cooked portions (shrimp and asparagus) can easily be prepared by roasting everything on a sheet pan. Since it’s Memorial Day Weekend and it’s so hot outside, you may want to GRILL the seasoned shrimp & asparagus. Go for it! Just remember it will cook MUCH faster than the oven. (You guys get access to my secret trick for tasty roasted veggies: add 1-2 teaspoons of ground mustard powder into the seasoning mix. It doesn’t taste mustard-y. It gives them a savory, “umami”, earthy flavor. One of my kids doesn’t like mustard AT ALL and she LOVES my roasted veggies.) You can use frozen cooked quinoa or just prepare a small portion according to package directions. And making the fresh raspberry dressing takes just minutes. I’m pretty sure I converted some non-salad-eaters and I know for sure that I earned some new quinoa converts who’d never enjoyed it before. I even had a few people ask me for the raspberry vinaigrette dressing recipe! (Note: if you’re not a shellfish eater, you can use can season it the same way. Just cook it properly by leaving it in the oven for 25 minutes instead of the shorter time recommended for shrimp.) As always, enjoy and post comments & photos!

Ingredients- • 1 pound of peeled & deveined shrimp (fresh or frozen) • 2 tbsp olive oil (for the roasting the veggies & shrimp) • 2 tbsp lemon juice (for the roasting the veggies & shrimp) • baby spinach • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces • 1 carrot, peeled & grated (optional) • 2 tsp ground mustard • 2 tsp garlic powder • 1 tsp each salt & pepper • 1 carton sliced mushrooms • 1 cup cooked quinoa, prepared according to package directions Dressing- • 1 small package of fresh raspberries • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar • 2 tsp dried basil or 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil • 1 tbsp honey (or granulated stevia) • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard • 1 tsp lemon juice • 1 tsp each salt and pepper • 1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil

Directions- 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or with clean baking spray. 2. In a large bowl, toss the asparagus and the shrimp with 2 tbsp olive oil, ground mustard, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Arrange the seasoned asparagus & shrimp in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until shrimp are pink with a little golden brown on the edges and until the asparagus are slightly browned and the tips are crisp. Don’t overlook because the shrimp will dry out and the asparagus will burn. Check them at 10 minutes to judge how much more time you need (all ovens cook differently). If you’re grilling, you’ll need much less time. Just keep an eye on them. (If you’re choosing to use chicken, cook in the oven for closer to 25 minutes and if you’re grilling, just make sure it’s well cooked). 3. While roasting the shrimp and veg, make the dressing. In a blender, purée (by pulsing) all of the dressing ingredients EXCEPT the oil. When the mixture is smooth, slowly add the oil while the blender is on low speed so that the oil completely emulsifies and combines with the raspberry mixture. (It should be light pink and look creamy, almost as if there’s mayo in it....but there’s NOT!) 4. Plate the salad by tossing together baby, spinach, quinoa, fresh sliced mushrooms, grated carrots (optional) and asparagus. with the raspberry vinaigrette. (Use the amounts of all of these ingredients that please your tastes or your families preferences.... I do each individually at home and, of course, to order at the restaurant.) You can toss the shrimp at the same time as the rest of the salad or you can add them on top. Enjoy!!!

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