jalapeno lime dressing

guacamole salad with jalapeno lime dressing

Even if you’re not a big sports buff, I’m sure you’ve heard by now that there’s a big sports ball game coming up this weekend.

guacamole salad with jalapeno lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

I don’t really follow sports ball, but talk of “the big game” is utterly unavoidable on the tv and in public conversations and small talk with customers at work. From what I’ve gathered, the Denver Cows are playing the Southern State Snow Leopards. Or something like that. I wasn’t really listening.

guacamole salad with jalapeno lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

I generally tune out when I hear any sports talk, especially this time of year. The only thing that ever catches my attention during sports ball season is the TV segments about game day food and recipes. Chips and dips and wings and all things deep fried and heart clogging and delicious. Pizzas and snackadiums and coolers full of beer. Oh yeah, and we can’t forget the guacamole.

guacamole salad with jalapeno lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

The other day someone on TV mentioned that over the past few years avocado consumption on game day has shot straight through the roof. This year they’re estimating that 53.5 million pounds of avocados will be purchased and pummeled into guacamole, and that the total amount of guacamole eaten that day would fill the stadium to almost 12 feet deep.

Now that’s what I call a snackadium!

guacamole salad with jalapeno lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Even though I won’t actually be participating in any game day festivities, hearing about a 12 foot deep stadium full of guacamole definitely got my mouth watering and my wheels spinning.

Instead of just making a killer batch of guacamole though, I wanted to find a way to turn it into a filling healthy meal rather than a bowl of dip to serve with chips.

guacamole salad with jalapeno lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

It didn’t take me long to decide I’d be making a big beautiful dinner salad, but I really wasn’t sure what to call it. The most obvious name was, well, “guacamole salad”, but I was afraid that that name would conjure images of a scoop of guacamole plopped into the center of a bed of greens.

I considered calling it a deconstructed guacamole salad since it has all the traditional guacamole ingredients separated and recombined in a different way, but I was afraid that you’d see the word “deconstructed” in the title and roll your eyes so hard they’d get stuck, and then you wouldn’t be able to read all about this delicious salad.

So, guacamole salad it was.

Trust your gut. (Your gut wants guacamole.)

guacamole salad with jalapeno lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

If you’re not fond of arugula, this salad can basically be made with any greens you want. I like the pepperiness of arugula and think it pairs really well with everything else in this salad, but spinach or mixed greens or some nice crunchy romaine would work really well too. It’s totally up to you!

You could also leave out the grilled chicken if you want to keep things meat-free. I’d suggest that maybe you could add a full can of black beans (instead of the half can listed below) for extra protein, or maybe throw in some grilled mushrooms or zucchini for a meaty bite? You could even swap out the chicken for some thinly sliced steak or grilled shrimp if you’re into that kind of thing. Why not? Infinite possibilities. Whatever you like y’all!

guacamole salad with jalapeno lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

This salad is simple, easy, filling, and perfectly delicious. Bursting with creamy buttery avocado and packed with all the fixins that go in to a traditional guacamole. Sweet cherry tomatoes, biting red onion, fresh green cilantro, even a handful of tortilla chips for crunch! It all comes together with a bright and citrusy jalapeño lime dressing that could not be easier to make, especially if you have an immersion blender.

All the flavor of the game day grub, without the food coma!

guacamole salad with jalapeno lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Guacamole Salad with Jalapeño Lime Dressing

Jalapeño Lime Dressing:
zest and juice (about 1/4 cup) of 2 limes
1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Salad: 
3 to 4 generous cups arugula
2 ripe avocados, cut into large chunks
1 cup halved grape tomatoes, about 1/2 a pint
1/2 a small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 cup torn cilantro leaves, stems removed
1/2 to 1 cup tortilla chips, crunched up (but not crushed to dust)
1/2 a can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 chicken breasts, grilled and thinly sliced (optional)

Make the dressing:
Combine all dressing ingredients in a small measuring cup or wide mouth mason jar and puree with an immersion blender until creamy and smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a regular blender or food processor. Alternately you could just chop the jalapeño and garlic super finely by hand and shake to combine. Set aside.
Can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.

Assemble the salad:
Layer all remaining ingredients in a large serving or salad bowl. Once ready to toss, pour dressing over the top and toss toss toss to distribute all ingredients and evenly coat with dressing. Serve immediately.
If you want to assemble the salad ahead be sure to wait until the last minute to cut open the avocados or to add the tortilla chips or dressing.

roasted shrimp and charred corn salad with jalapeño lime dressing

Russell’s cousin was just here visiting us from Massachusetts.

roasted shrimp and charred corn salad with jalapeño lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

This has been a really weird summer, both personally and socially, not to mention the fact that the weather has been all over the place. Back in May I was completely gung-ho about spending tons of time outdoors and hosting barbecues every weekend, but sometimes life gets in the way, you know? Russell left his job early this summer to move into a new career. He was comfortable but miserable at his last job and now he’s found something he totally loves. Things are looking up and he’s doing great now, but money has been a little tight over the past couple months. Even though feeding and hosting our friends has always been something we both love to do, we haven’t been able to justify the expense this summer. Beyond all that, we’ve both been working weird hours lately and have had a hard time getting days off together, not to mention the fact that this August has been unseasonably cool, grey, and fall-like.

While Russell’s cousin was in town though, we were determined to get outside, fire up the grill, and reclaim this summer. We worked out a day when we’d both be off of work and started making arrangements. A menu was planned, wine was bought, and a trip taken to the farmers market for ingredients.

roasted shrimp and charred corn salad with jalapeño lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

One of my favorite quick summery meals to throw together for company (or for a weeknight meal) is a spicy & tangy salad with shrimp, corn, tomatoes, & avocado. Late in summer the tomatoes and corn are impossibly bright and fresh and juicy, so I knew this would be the perfect easy meal for entertaining.

roasted shrimp and charred corn salad with jalapeño lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

And then the weather decided not to cooperate. It didn’t quite pour all day, but the sky was grey and dreary, the temperature brisk, and the weather bounced between drizzle and mist for most of the day. Even though the weather was working against us, we had everything we needed for our no-longer-to-be-grilled meal, so we forged ahead.

roasted shrimp and charred corn salad with jalapeño lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Instead of grilling the shrimp on skewers as planned, they were roasted on a sheet pan in the oven. To give the corn some color and flavor, I traded one open flame for another and attempted to “grill” the ears by resting them over the burner grates on the gas range. As the ears sizzled and popped I slowly rotated them until they were ever-so-slightly, but evenly, charred all over. The corn wasn’t cooked through but it definitely took on a good grilled flavor. The corn was super fresh from the farmer’s market, so it was sweet and crunchy enough that we could have eaten it completely raw if we’d wanted to.

roasted shrimp and charred corn salad with jalapeño lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Despite being super delicious and impressive, this meal comes together pretty quickly with very little fuss. It’s great for company, but works just as well as a simple weeknight meal for you and your family. The most time consuming step is prepping and chopping the vegetables and making the dressing, but there aren’t a ton of things to chop and the dressing is really simple, with only a few ingredients. If you want to get a head start, you could make the dressing a few hours ahead, or you could even make the whole salad ahead and serve it straight from the refrigerator.

roasted shrimp and charred corn salad with jalapeño lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Whether you make this indoors or out, it is unbelievably summery and totally delicious and satisfying. The combination of flavors and textures in this salad are perfectly married together, but since no one flavor overpowers anything else, each ingredient is able to stand out on it’s own and really shine.  Crunchy smoky sweet corn, plump sweet red cherry tomatoes, soft creamy unctuous avocado, biting bright red onion, tender perfectly-cooked roasted shrimp, and tangy spicy citrus dressing. Heaven.

Can you think of anything better to share with your family and friends on a summer night?

roasted shrimp and charred corn salad with jalapeño lime dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Roasted Shrimp and Charred Corn Salad with Jalapeño Lime Dressing

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
zest and juice of 2 limes (you want at least 1/4 cup juice)
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, finely chopped (skip or replace with parsley if you don’t like cilantro)
2 jalapeños, seeded and very finely diced
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
3 ears of sweet corn, shucked
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 red onion, diced
2 ripe avocados

Preheat oven to 425, or preheat a charcoal grill.

To make the dressing, add 1/4 cup olive oil and lime zest and juice to a mixing bowl. Mix in finely diced jalapeño, chopped cilantro, and crushed garlic. Stir well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Toss shrimp in 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet pan. Roast for 5 or 6 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through. You could also arrange the shrimp on skewers and grill them for about the same time.  At the same time, lightly char the shucked ears of corn on the grill or over a high flame on the stove top. I found the best way to do this is to use metal tongs to hold the ears, and rotate every minute or so until the corn is just beginning to blacken all the way around the ear. Slice the corn off the ear with a sharp knife, by holding the ear straight upright and rotating the ear while shaving downward with the knife. (If desired, you could also slice the corn off the ear first, and roast it in the oven on a parchment lined sheet pan at the same time as the shrimp.)

Add corn, shrimp, tomatoes, and red onion to a large bowl. Just before serving slice your avocado up in bite sized chunks (*see cooks note) and add to salad.  Pour dressing over entire salad and gently toss, trying not to mash the avocado. Serve with a little chopped cilantro and a lime wedge if desired.

*Cooks Note: Be sure to wait to slice the avocado until the last minute, or it will turn brown. I like to slice my avocado in half and remove the pit with a chef knife, and then switch to a butter knife to divide it into chunks. A butter knife is sharp enough to cut the soft flesh, but won’t go through the skin as easily. Once divided into chunks, I scoop the avocado out with a big dinner spoon.