Remember when I explained the giant tub of gochujang (Korean chili paste) that has been hanging out in my fridge since the Super Bowl, when my husband used it to make some Korean chicken wings? Yep, it’s still in there, lurking….in the back….being ignored. I don’t know why – it’s a little bit spicy and a little bit smoky, and adds a depth of flavor to any dish that needs some Korean flair. I just never notice it back there, behind the hummus. I moved it to the front of the top shelf – it’s too delicious to let expire. A reader comment suggested I make salad dressing with it, so that’s exactly what I did.
If I told you this huge platter of salad salad took me only 18 minutes to make, would you believe me? It’s true, I timed it. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner The most time consuming part was making the dressing (but this is something that could be done up to 3 days in advance). I made the dressing, then quickly just arranged all of the salad elements on a big platter. I headed out to the grill with the shrimp, and as soon as they were done, I transferred them right from the grill onto the salad. I know it looks like there are a lot of ingredients, but you probably already have a lot of the dressing ingredients on hand.
I love this Asian Shrimp Salad because there’s lots of crunchy elements like bean sprouts and lo mein noodles to balance the soft mandarin oranges and shrimp. The dressing has just a hint of spiciness from the gochujang, but it’s a total crowd-pleaser, as it’s well balanced with tart lime juice and zest, and a little bit of creamy peanut butter. Don’t be afraid to destroy the beautiful arrangement – just grab a fork and dig in.
Pssst – my friend Amy over at Kimchi Mom makes her own gochujang. No way would that stuff get lost in the fridge!
For the Gochujang Dressing:
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1-1/2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1/2 cup olive oil
For the Asian Shrimp Salad:
- 1 (5 ounce) container spring mix
- 2 carrots, shredded (or use your vegetable peeler to make ribbons, like I did)
- 1 cup mandarin oranges
- 3/4 cup bean sprouts
- 3/4 cup diced cucumber
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup crunchy rice noodles
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds (toasted, if you feel like it)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons black or white sesame seeds
- Nonstick spray
- 1 pound 16-20 count peeled and deveined shrimp
- Preheat grill for direct grilling over medium heat. Meanwhile, make Gochujang Dressing: In small bowl, whisk together lime juice and zest, gochujang, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and sesame oil. Gradually add olive oil, while whisking, until all oil is fully incorporated. Makes about 1 cup dressing (you may have some leftover dressing).
- Spread spring mix on a large platter. Arrange carrots, oranges, bean sprouts, cucumber, cilantro, noodles and almonds over salad greens. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Spray grill rack with nonstick spray; transfer shrimp to grill. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque throughout and internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, turning once. Remove shrimp from grill and arrange over top of salad. Serve immediately with Gochujang Dressing.