This Mediterranean-inspired arugula and pesto shrimp salad is not only super simple to prepare ahead of time for lunch, but because you can meal prep it straight from your pantry and freezer, it’s incredibly easy to make on the fly, too.
This recipe is brought to you by Kroger
Breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day.
Dinner. That’s when families come together.
But lunch? Ugh. Who has time to actually make and enjoy lunch?
Preparing a healthier, real good, real food lunch instead of grabbing your mid-day meal at the drive-thru or the food court—or worse, skipping it all together—is probably one of the biggest hurdles of completing our goals of a healthier day.
Because who hasn’t totally derailed their plans of “this week is the week I’m totally going to stick to the plan” and suddenly the day’s in-between-gaps get filled, appointments and projects and schedules and commitments all roll over and blanket one another, and it’s just that much easier to pick up some lunch instead of make up some lunch.
This is exactly why getting into the habit of shopping ahead of time for your weekly eating plan, adding a few quality ingredients to your freezer and pantry, and doing a bit of easy meal prep at the beginning of the wekk is more important than ever. Because is can all be in the plan, man!
Real Food Ingredients
A big part of my product choices are those that are part of my real good, real food eating plans. Whole foods with minimal or no processing, no added antibiotics, and great, fresh, quality is key. But only at a price point I feel good about.
That’s why I find myself ALWAYS reaching reaching for the Kroger family of brands at my Smiths Marketplace first. The variety and selection is truly impressive, like:
- Simple Truth : All products are free from 101+ artificial preservatives and ingredients, with a lot of organics added in. The fresh salad mixes (I LOVE the baby arugula), veggies, and herbs are always on my shopping list and I always buy the value 4-packs of Simple Truth canned beans. There’s a huge variety! And my Smudge is a die hard fan of the white cheddar popcorn.
- Kroger Private Selection : This is Kroger’s line of unique gourmet ingredients that elevates cooking on every level. The quality of these ingredients is top-tier.
- Hemisphares : Authentic ingredients sourced from the countries they come from. I love the olive oil, pastas, and jarred pesto.
- Kroger products : These are the every day ingredients that make up the back bone of my pantry. Quality that doesn’t kill the budget.
I love wandering the aisles of the grocery store, but I know it’s not a favorite task for everyone.
That’s why I love letting friends know about Kroger’s ClickList grocery shopping service, where you can now have your entire grocery store order shopped, bagged, and delivery right to your door, with same day delivery FOR FREE on your first order. Or stop by and have your order loaded into your car without ever having to unbuckle your seatbelt.
How to Meal Prep this Easy Arugula Salad
This is a salad you can totally make with prepped ingredients that simply need to be combined together for an incredibly easy lunch at home or at work. But it’s also one that feels hearty enough for dinner too.
The ingredients are ones that will last a few days longer than some, even when prepped or made ahead, and most of them can be pulled straight from my pantry and freezer.
Raw shrimp : Shrimp is probably my number one freezer favorite because:
- Shrimp defrosts fast so it’s a quick lunch, dinner, or appetizer solution. For this salad I used Simple Truth jumbo shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined.
- Shrimp lasts in the freezer for 3-6 months.
- Shrimp is low fat and, high in protein and a good source for Omega-3 fatty acids. Shrimp is also said to be one of the 7 secret weapons for weight loss.
- Shrimp can easily be dressed up or dressed down (see my list of 31 Healthy Shrimp Recipes to Make in March).
Pesto : From arugula pesto to broccolini pesto to regular basil pesto, I love having the homemade stuff in my fridge, but when time is at a premium, you’ll find me reaching in my pantry instead. For this recipe I cooked the shrimp first, then dabbed them with the pesto and let them rest for that flavor to seep in. And they’re delicious eaten either hot or cold.
White beans : Canned white beans are a great source of protein and so incredibly easy to use, and add a solid bite with variety to the salad. I used Simple Truth cannelini beans to keep this somewhat Mediterranean flavor thing going but Great Northern or garbanzo aka chickpeas would work too.
Cherry tomatoes : I add the tomatoes to the pan while the second batch of shrimp cooks, just to soften a bit and add a touch of caramelization. Be careful not to overcook them or you’ll be using them as a sauce instead.
Wedge of Parmesan cheese : This is one cheese that I can keep in the fridge for what seems like eons. It’s hard. It’s salty. And it rarely spoils. Instead of using it fine, I use a vegetable peeler to get big shavings of it for a bigger Parm taste with each bite.
Marcona almonds : The softer and creamier version in the almond nut family, most often farmed in Spain, but now in California too.
Fresh lemon juice and olive oil : There’s no need for making a dressing when just a squeeze of bright lemon juice and fresh olive oil will do.
Because the name of this meal plan game is keep. it. SIMPLE.
Watch How to Make this Arugula Salad Here
Arugula Salad with Pesto Shrimp, Parmesan and White Beans
- If frozen, thaw the shrimp under cool water, drain and pat dry with a paper towel, then place in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss with the garlic, kosher salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Set aside for the flavors to meld for 20-30 minutes.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle the pan with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and add the shrimp one at a time, careful not to overcrowd the pan, cooking in two batches. Cook for 2 minutes on one side, then flip the shrimp and cook just until opaque, then transfer to a bowl. Reduce the heat slightly and add the rest of the shrimp and all of the oil and garlic from the bowl along with the tomatoes to the skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes, flipping the shrimp half way through and turning the tomatoes and garlic so the garlic doesn’t burn and get bitter. Take the skillet off the heat and transfer the shrimp to the bowl with the rest of the cooked shrimp and toss with the pesto, and set aside.
- Add the arugula to a bowl, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and toss with your fingers to coat. Shave the Parmesan over the arugula, top with the beans and the tomatoes with all of the garlicky bits from the skillet. Season with more kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and eat it up.
For variety, add sliced green olives and play with your lettuces. Cooking is meant to be mix and matched fun!
More Easy Salad Ideas That Make a Meal
This post is in partnership with Kroger. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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