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This hearty winter salad has roasted fennel and shrimp with the bright flavor of grapefruit, plus farro and kale for a nutritional powerhouse!
This year I have been trying hard to eat more vegetables, and it isn’t always easy. Because I want my food to be delicious all the time, so any old salad will not do. I have been getting pretty good about being creative about how I get veggies into my diet. I think we all know that spaghetti squash is a big part of that. But a girl can not live on spaghetti squash alone. Can she? No, my husband says no, she can’t. So I am still always on the search for MOAR VEGETABLES that I can make taste good.
I love this Roasted Shrimp and Fennel Kale Salad because it is bulked up with some farro, warmed up with roasted fennel and shrimp, and topped with ruby red grapefruit which gives it a bright citrus zing.
I find it even more difficult in the winter, because I want warm, comforting and hearty food. That is why I like my winter salads to be hearty and if not warm, at least not cold. I love this Roasted Shrimp and Fennel Kale Salad because it is bulked up with some farro, warmed up with roasted fennel and shrimp, and topped with ruby red grapefruit which gives it a bright citrus zing that I will admit I need on grey days. And, bonus points, it takes about 25 minutes to make.
I don’t normally bother with sectioning citrus, but because we are using the grapefruit juice in the dressing and then the grapefruit wedges in the salad, it really is the best way to do it. First zest just a little of the grapefruit zest over the raw shrimp, which along with some olive oil, salt and pepper makes a quick mardinade. Then you cut the ends off of the grapefruit, and carefully slice the skin off, leaving as much of the flesh as you can. I do this OVER the salad bowl to catch all the juice, because that is what is going to make the salad dressing. Then, using a sharp knife, you cut between each section of grapefruit and the membrane. Set aside the sections, those will go on top of the salad. And you will be collecting quite a bit of juice in the bowl. After you have removed all the sections, you will be left with what kind of looks like a “book” of the membranes. Squeeze that a few times over the bowl to get more juice out, then you can throw it away. (If you want step by step photos of how to section citrus, HERE is a great one from The Kitchn.)
The juice from the grapefruit, some olive oil, diced shallot, salt and pepper make a quick, fresh dressing. Whisk that together, then add the kale to the dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale for a minute or two, then allow to sit for about 15 minutes while you turn your attention to the rest of the ingredients. Allowing it to sit lets the kale soften up and also lets the shallot mellow out a little.
I have always felt a little unsure about fennel. I feel like I have had it at times be very tough and not that enjoyable. That was why I decided to slice it into fairly thin wedges (16 wedges from the whole bulb), and roast it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. It developed a gorgeous caramelization and wasn’t tough at all. I added the shrimp to the pan in the last five minutes so they could roast together but not get overcooked.
I decided to throw some farro in this salad to really make it a filling meal, although if you are gluten-free you could use quinoa or rice instead, or just forego it altogether. Farro has a nice chewy texture, and only takes about 15 minutes to cook. And since this salad has raw kale, it really benefits from a little massage in the dressing, and then being allowed to sit in the dressing for about 15 minutes to soften up. This can all happen when the fennel and shrimp are roasting and the farro is cooking. MULTITASKING.
Roasted Shrimp, Fennel and Grapefruit Kale Salad
- 1 cup farro 1 cup before cooking
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 large bunch curly kale tough center stem removed and roughly chopped
- 1 small red grapefruit
- 1 fennel bulb
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided,
- fresh ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Prepare farro according to package instructions with a heavy pinch of kosher salt added to the water.
- Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and about 1 teaspoon of zest from the grapefruit, allow to marinade for about 15 minutes.
- While shrimp is marinating, section the grapefruit over a large salad bowl to catch the juices. Set the grapefruit sections aside, then squeeze the remaining membrane over the bowl to get the rest of the juice. In the bowl with the juice, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the diced shallot and salt and pepper to taste, whisk to combine. Add the kale and toss to coat the kale with the dressing, massaging the dressing into the kale for about 1 minute. Set aside for about 15 minutes.
- To prepare the fennel, cut any green parts off the top so that you are left with only the white bulb. Cut into quarters, being sure to leave the root attached to each quarter. Then cut each of those into quarters, through the root. Toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and add the shrimp, spreading them out so they are in one layer.
- Return to the oven for about 5 more minutes, or until shrimp are cooked through and pink, and the fennel is tender and starting to brown on the edges.
- To finish salad, add the farro, shrimp and fennel to the kale, toss to combine. Top with the grapefruit sections and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
What kinds of foods do you like to eat in the winter?