Wednesday, April 18, 2012

White Bean Salad with Shrimp and Asparagus

I'm circling back through some of my springtime favorites, such as pasta primavera and creamy vegetable soups.  Last spring, I made a salad similar to this one, with fresh sugar snap peas, arugula, and Match chicken.  To play around with the flavors, tonight's version uses asparagus as the veggie, spinach as the greens, and vegan shrimp in place of the chicken - try Sophie's Kitchen, the newest contender on the vegan seafood scene.

  • 2 cups (1-inch) sliced asparagus
  • 12 ounces Sophie's Kitchen shrimp, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 cups torn fresh spinach
  • 2 cups rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 Lightlife bacon slices
  • 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia green onions
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup vegan chicken broth (such as Imagine)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1. Steam the asparagus, covered, for 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

2. Sprinkle the shrimp with 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Heat the canola oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shrimp and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until thoroughly heated.  Transfer the shrimp to a bowl, along with the asparagus, torn spinach, and cannellini beans - toss well.

3. Return the skillet to the burner over medium heat and coat with cooking spray; add the bacon and cook for about 4 minutes, or until nice and crisp.  Remove from the pan, crumble, and set aside.  Recoat the pan with cooking spray and add the green onions and garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently - the onion should be soft.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining black pepper (1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon), the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, the crumbled bacon, the chicken broth, the parsley, the lemon juice, and the cider vinegar.  Drizzle over the white bean mixture and toss to coat.  The salad will be best served immediately, just after the warm vinaigrette wilts the spinach. 

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 and 3/4 cups), Calories 245 

Tasting Notes:
I loved how crisp the asparagus was in contrast to the tenderness of the beans.  Whereas the chicken flavor dominated in the version I made last year, all of the flavors felt lighter and brighter this time around - great acidic lemon, salty bacon, and fresh spinach.  This is only the second time I've tried the shrimp from Sophie's Kitchen, and I found it quite pleasing - just the right hint of "fishy-ness" without being overwhelmingly so.  A great spring salad.


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