Spa Salad – Made Vegan or Not!
My take on a Trinidadian Chow utilizes the fresh and juicy sweetness of pineapples, crisp cucumbers and tender shrimp. Served cold it makes me feel like I am lunching at a high-end spa!
This unique combination of fruit, vegetables and seafood is accentuated by the savory flavor of Garlic EVOO, tangy lime juice, spicy red chili flakes and the citrusy, delicious and less known Culantro herb.
Culantro has a similar aroma and flavor to cilantro, but they are not the same plant. Culantro has long serrated leaves, looks a little like a long leaf lettuce and is often used in the cuisines of the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Asia. It has a stronger flavor than cilantro so it should be used in smaller amounts.
It has great anti-inflammatory properties, is easy to grow and often available in regular supermarkets, Central American or Asian grocery stores. I recommend that you BE BRAVE and give the herb a try in this recipe. If you try Culantro, and find the flavor profile is not one you enjoy, feel free to substitute with cilantro or even parsley, basil or mint.
I love to eat this salad just out of a bowl, or over a bed of butter lettuce. Experiment with it by adding some avocado for creaminess if you prefer and enjoy your own healthy, home-made spa lunch!
Shrimp, Pineapple & Cucumber Chow
½ lb medium shrimp, shelled, and deveined
1 pineapple, cut into chunks (about 3 lbs)
2 English seedless cucumbers
8-10 leaves of Culantro (divided) – See Chef Tip
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
¼ cup O&V Garlic EVOO *
Zest from one lime
Sliced red onions to garnish (optional)
Slice one lime. Place a pot on the stove with about 1 inch of well salted water. Add 2-3 slices of lime to the water. Add 2 -3 culantro leaves to the water and bring to a boil. Insert a steamer into the pot.
Place the shrimp in the steaming basket in a single layer. Reduce the heat to allow the water to simmer, cover the pot and steam the shrimp for about 2 minutes. Depending on the size of your steamer, repeat with the remaining shrimp. Remove the shrimp onto a plate to cool (you can choose to refrigerate until cold before adding to the fruit).
Cut the pineapple into bite sized chunks. Cut the cucumbers into bite sized chunks removing any seeds. Place in a serving bowl.
Mince the remaining culantro leaves, zest and then juice the second lime, add to the bowl with the pineapples. Add the red chili flakes, Garlic EVOO, a little salt to taste and toss well.
Add the cooled shrimp to the pineapple mixture, toss and serve topped with remaining lime slices, and sliced red onions (if using)
Total Time: 30 minutes
Culantro is similar to, but is not cilantro. Culantro has a strong citrusy and herby flavor and can be purchased at many supermarkets and most Asian or Central American grocery stores. If you have trouble finding it, or determine the flavor is too strong for you, feel free to substitute with cilantro or even parsley, basil or mint.
* The Garlic EVOO adds a nice hint of garlic flavor without having the bite of raw garlic in the salad. You can substitute with a high quality unflavored EVOO and two small cloves of garlic pressed or minced.
You can make this vegetarian and vegan by eliminating the shrimp.
Categories: Soups & Salads, Vegetarian Option, Vegan Option, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Culantro, Pineapple, Cucumber, Trinidadian Chow, Shrimp, Shrimp Salad, Pineapple Cucumber Salad, Spa Salad,