Shrimp, Avocado, and Assorted Greens Over Black Beans with Spicy Salsa Recipe

Whole-meal salads are always great this time of year—and especially if you just may be looking for a healthy dose of greens and some spice to balance out the deep-fried delights and tidbits-on-a-stick you enjoyed at the fair—or anticipate enjoying in the coming week.

This recipe by cookbook author Nina Simonds, which she contributed to Real Food, is an easy, Mexican-influenced main-dish salad that is also extremely versatile: Substitute grilled or rotisserie chicken, pork chops, or flank steak for the shrimp, and you have a totally transformed meal.

Shrimp, Avocado, and Assorted Greens Over Black Beans with Spicy Salsa

Makes 6 Servings

1 lb. medium raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and rinsed
4 slices fresh ginger about the size of a quarter,
   unpeeled and smashed lightly with flat side of a knife
2 tbsp. rice wine, sake, or dry white wine
12 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 15-oz. can black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
12 6-inch flour tortillas
1 5-oz. bag assorted salad greens
3 c. frozen sweet corn, defrosted
2 ripe but firm avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes

Spicy Salsa
112 jalapeños, trimmed and seeded
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 c. minced scallion greens
1 lb. (about 3 medium) vine-ripened tomatoes, stemmed and cut into sixths
4 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
12 c. fresh cilantro
1 tsp. salt, or more to taste

Using a sharp knife, halve shrimp lengthwise along the back, or leave whole if preferred. Place in a bowl, add ginger, rice wine, and sesame oil, and toss lightly.

For the spicy salsa: Drop jalapeños and garlic down feed tube of a food processor fitted with a steel blade with motor running, and chop finely. Add scallions and pulse to mix. Add tomatoes and pulse until coarsely chopped. Stir in lemon juice, cilantro, and salt. Pour into a serving bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add black beans and cook 15 seconds, pour into a colander, and drain.

Using same pot, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add shrimp and marinade, and cook 212 to 3 minutes, until cooked through. (If you prefer to sauteÌ shrimp, then warm black beans in small saucepan.)

Heat wrapped flour tortillas in microwave on high 112 minutes, until hot.

While tortillas are heating, arrange greens in a large, shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle corn, beans, and avocado over greens. Place shrimp in a mound in center. Let guests serve themselves by portioning some shrimp, corn, beans, avocado, and lettuce into a tortilla and spooning some salsa on top.

Cook’s note: As an alternative, serve a charred tomato dressing in place of the salsa. Cut 1 pound (about 3 medium) vine-ripened tomatoes into 1-inch slices and brush with olive oil. Broil 10 minutes each side. Drop 3 cloves garlic down feed tube of a food processor with motor running. Add tomatoes and 2 teaspoons toasted ground cumin, and purée. With motor running, add 13 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice and 12 cup olive oil in a thin, steady stream. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 14 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, and 12 cup chopped fresh cilantro. Mix well and pour into a bowl to be served with salad.

Nutrition info (Per Serving): Calories 444 (112 From Fat); Fat 13g (Sat. 2g); Chol 77mg; Sodium 1259mg; Carb 65g; Fiber 13g; Protein 21g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.