My life revolves around food. I am a brand ambassador, blogger, recipe developer, competitive cook, and a weekly guest on a local television show. Basically I cook, eat and dream about food. I am very fortunate to be able to do what I love, but this lifestyle has taken its toll on my waistline. For me “dieting” is out of the question. All I can do is to make good choices when I can, and include good quality ingredients. Typically at lunch I attempt to eat a salad. I have eaten so many lately, that salads have become a bit boring. I knew it was time to make salads and vegetables more exciting.
This summer, Challenge has introduced a couple incredible flavor-packed cream cheese spreads. The new Salsa variety was the inspiration for my new veggie creation. Challenge Cream Cheese has added bold and natural flavors so there is less work for me to do! I whipped up a very light and creamy sauce full of bold flavor, not your typical salad dressing. The idea was to use this as a base and pile on summer fresh vegetables to create a new version of a salad. This dish became a work of art, so beautiful it is hard to resist. I can honestly say this new recipe has made it easy to pass up bad food choices and look forward to healthy, vegetable-packed lunch full of great flavors.
- 8 ounces Challenge Salsa Cream Cheese Spread
- 1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 bunch fresh basil (about 1 loosely packed cup)
- 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 6 cups your favorite summer vegetables
- 36 large cooked shrimp
- ½ cup almonds or pine nuts
Think of this recipe as a “un-salad!” Try not to use the typical lettuce varieties. Instead think outside of the box when selecting your vegetables for this recipe.
Place Challenge Cream Cheese, avocado, garlic, lemon juice, basil, mustard, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to combine and then add buttermilk. Blend until very smooth and light, about 3-4 minutes. Add more buttermilk if needed.
Place a generous dollop of Avocado Sauce onto a serving plate, about ½ cup. Spread sauce out across plate. Arrange veggies on top. Add 6 shrimp to each plate and a sprinkle of nuts. Additional sauce can be added to the top if desired.
Yield: 6 personal salads