I always try to include a good variety of different types of meals in our weekly dinner menus, so I am bound to have some more hearty and heavy dinners, and some lighter, healthier options. This one is most definitely on the lighter side, but certainly not lacking in flavor. I can’t believe I’ve never tried combining pesto and shrimp before since they are two of my favorite things – what a winning combo!
Not only is this meal healthy, it is incredibly low maintenance and can be easily adapted to whatever you have on hand or in your garden. I threw some vegetables into my grill basket and cooked them on the grill. After the veggies were finished cooking I put the skewers of shrimp onto the grill and cooked them for just a few minutes. I tossed the whole mixture together on a bed of green lettuce and topped with some crumbled feta cheese. The pesto on the shrimp and the seasonings from the grilled veggies provided so much flavor that actual salad dressing was totally unnecessary, so I skipped it entirely. You can make this meal even more convenient by having the pesto prepared in advance. This would make a wonderful light lunch or dinner at any time of the year!
Grilled Pesto Shrimp and Veggie Salad
For the grilled veggies:
1 red and 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into large pieces
1 red onion, chopped into large segments
1 yellow summer squash, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the pesto shrimp:
2 tbsp. pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
Leafy green lettuce
Crumbled feta cheese
Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Oil the grates to prevent food from sticking.
To prepare the veggies for grilling, combine the bell peppers, red onion, squash and zucchini in a large bowl and toss. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
To make the pesto, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-high heat until just golden and fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside. Add the garlic to the empty skillet and toast, shaking occasionally, until the cloves are fragrant and the color deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Transfer the cloves to a cutting board, cool, peel and chop. Place the basil in a heavy-duty, gallon size plastic bag. Pound the bag with a rolling pin until all the leaves are bruised.
Combine the pine nuts, garlic, basil, olive oil and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the Parmesan cheese and adjust the salt to taste. Set aside.
Thread the shrimp onto skewers for the grill. Once the skewers are assembled, use the back of a spoon or a pastry brush to spread the pesto onto both sides of the shrimp. Set aside.
Transfer the veggies to a grill basket and cook on the grill until they are crisp-tender, about 10-15 minutes (depending on the heat of your grill). Remove the grill basket from the heat and place the shrimp skewers on the grill in a single layer. Assemble the salads while the shrimp cook by tossing the grilled veggies atop a bed of green lettuce.
Allow the shrimp to cook just until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes (depending on the heat of your grill), turning once during cooking. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and place them on top of the salads. Top with crumbled feta cheese and garnish with fresh tomato wedges. Serve immediately.
Source: Annie’s Eats original, pesto adapted from Baking Illustrated