Jul 3
2013

Shrimp, Corn & California Avocado Pasta Salad Recipe & a CA Avocado Trip

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Thank you to the California Avocado Commission for sponsoring this post, and helping me to share my love of “all things avocado”.
Shrimp, Corn & California Avocado Pasta Salad Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #pasta

Whether you celebrate Fourth of July or Canada Day, or are just a summertime entertaining diva, there’s a good chance that you need a day off of manning the grill and feeding the masses. The beauty of hosting your own holiday party is that you are often left with a fridge-full of leftovers. This “5th of July” salad was inspired by an avocado challenge that I was a part of a couple of weeks ago. More on that later. The idea is to embrace all of those leftovers in your fridge and toss them together in one big, happy bowl of pasta salad.

This version has some grilled shrimp, grape tomatoes, grilled corn cut off the cob and plenty of California avocados. It’s all tied together with a light basil sauce.

A couple of weekends ago, I headed to southern California to join my fellow blog ambassadors for a weekend of avocado fun. Not only did we get to eat avocados in many inventive ways, thanks to the Chef Gabriel Garcia of Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars, Chef Joseph Antonishek Industriel and Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of The Border Grill, but we also had the privilege of touring a beautiful and prolific avocado grove owned by Jim Lloyd Butler (the gentleman in the middle in the photo below).

California Avocado Tour | cookincanuck.com

Not only are his groves, house and acreage a sight to behold, but he oversees an operation that produces 15,000-20,000 pounds of avocados per acre each year. There are 90 acres altogether. Now that’s a lot of avocados!

California Avocado Tour | cookincanuck.com
Left to right: Shawn of I Wash…You Dry, Ali of Gimme Some Oven, that’s me, Kristen of Dine & Dish and Rachel of A Southern Fairytale. Not pictured: Chung-ah of Damn Delicious

May through September is the prime growing season for avocados, so everywhere we turned, workers were climbing up ladders perched against the avocado trees, with bags slung across their bodies that can hold 100 pounds of avocados.

California Avocado Tour | cookincanuck.com

They were quick, efficient and cheerful in their work, clearing trees of their fruits within minutes…by hand.

California Avocado Tour | cookincanuck.com

We got a quick lesson by Jason on the ins and outs of the irrigation system, and were amazed by the link between decades-old practices and modern technology. The soil of each section of the grove is measured and can be viewed on a computer or smart phone.

Who knew there was an app for that?! Genius!

California Avocado Tour | cookincanuck.com

We made a stop at a packing plant that sees millions of California Avocados pass through its warehouses every year. Avocados are weighed and sorted according to weight and quality, then marked and packed accordingly.

California Avocado Tour | cookincanuck.com

While there is all sorts of machinery going at one time, it’s all hands on deck to make sure that the avocados make it through the system with as little damage as possible.

My mum is a huge fan of all-things industrial and I kept thinking of her as I watched the journey that the avocados took from grove to box.

With 96.4 million pounds of avocado predicted to be eaten on July 4th alone this year (seriously!), the system needs to work like clockwork, while still producing top-quality fruit.

Our next stop was The Border Grill, owned by the talented and hilarious duo of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. If you were an early fan of The Food Network, you’ll probably recognize these two as the Too Hot Tamales.

California Avocado Tour | cookincanuck.com

We met with a group of about 20 local food bloggers at The Border Grill in downtown L.A. for an avocado challenge and avocado-centric meal dreamed up by the two chefs.

The challenge was to come up with a pasta salad that could be served at a summer holiday party (i.e., July 4th), using any number of ingredients provided to us and starring…well, avocados of course.

California Avocado Tour | cookincanuck.com
Thanks to the California Avocado Commission for use of these photos.

Our team came up with the idea of the “5th of July” pasta salad, inspired by all of those leftovers hanging around in your fridge the day after the big party.

IMG_1033
Left to right: Kristen of Dine & Dish, me, Mary Sue Milliken, Elliot and Fred of F for Food, Mimi of Mimi Avocado and Susan Feniger.

And then came the meal…oh, that meal! The stars of the show were the Cumin Glazed Ribs with Avocado Pineapple Salsa, follow closely by the Grapefruit Granita with Avocado and Mango Compote.

California Avocado Tour | cookincanuck.com

It was a fantastic trip, full of inspiring food and amazing people. But no trip to California is ever complete without digging your toes into the sand and wading through the surf. And so we went to enjoy a piece of solitude before heading back home.

California Avocado Tour | cookincanuck.com

The recipe:

The salad:

Cut half of the avocado into chunks and the other half into thin slices.

Shrimp, Corn & California Avocado Pasta Salad Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #pasta

In a large bowl, combine the avocado chunks, cooked pasta, shrimp, corn kernels and tomatoes.

The dressing:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil leaves, olive oil, shallots, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper. Puree until almost smooth.

Shrimp, Corn & California Avocado Pasta Salad Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #pasta

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Shrimp, Corn & California Avocado Pasta Salad Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #pasta

Lay the avocado slices on top of the pasta salad. Serve.

Other avocado recipes:

Shrimp, Corn & California Avocado Pasta Salad Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #pasta
Cookin’ Canuck’s Black Bean Sliders with Creamy California Avocado Sauce
Cookin’ Canuck’s Shrimp, Avocado & Rice Noodle Spring Rolls
Southern Fairytale’s Spicy Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas with Smoky Avocado Cream Sauce
Dine & Dish’s Grilled California Avocado & Steak Fajita Wrap
Gimme Some Oven’s Buffalo Chicken Salad
I Wash…You Dry’s Avocado Citrus Salad with Lime Poppy Seed Dressing
Damn Delicious’ Asian Pasta Salad

Shrimp, Corn & California Avocado Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: Serves 8

Serving Size: 1.5 cups (approximately)

Calories per serving: 330 cal

Fat per serving: Total Fat 13.8g / Saturated Fat 1.7g

Shrimp, Corn & California Avocado Pasta Salad

From the kitchen of Cookin' Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com

Ingredients

    The salad:
  • 1 large California avocado
  • 1 (13 oz) box small shell whole wheat pasta, cooked and rinsed with cold water
  • 1/2 lb. grilled large shrimp (without shells or tails)
  • 2 grilled corn cobs, kernels cut off & cobs discarded
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • The dressing:
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced shallots
  • 2 tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • Extra salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

Instructions

    The salad:
  1. Cut half of the avocado into chunks and the other half into thin slices.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the avocado chunks, cooked pasta, shrimp, corn kernels and tomatoes.
  3. The dressing:
  4. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil leaves, olive oil, shallots, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper. Puree until almost smooth.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Lay the avocado slices on top of the pasta salad. Serve.

Notes

Calories 329.8 / Total Fat 13.8g / Saturated Fat 1.7g / Cholesterol 43.1mg / Total Carbohydrates 41.3g / Fiber 7.0g / Sugars 3.0g / Protein 12.8g / WW (Old Points) 7 / WW (Points+) 9

Disclaimer: This post and the trip to California was sponsored by the fantastic people at the California Avocado Commission.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cookbook Queen July 3, 2013 at 5:58 am

Oh, it looks like such a fun trip — and you had GREAT company!! Love the pasta too :)

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2 Tieghan July 3, 2013 at 6:30 am

Wow, looks like such a fun trip. I am jealous! This pasta is amazing and is probably going to become my new got to summer meal!

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3 Kevin @ Closet Cooking July 3, 2013 at 8:18 am

That sounds like a fun adventure! Avocados are definitely one of my favourite foods!

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4 Aggie July 3, 2013 at 8:46 am

Oh I would have loved to be on this trip with you Dara!! This looks absolutely delicious!!

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5 Sandy @ RE July 3, 2013 at 9:07 am

Looks like a fabulous trip, Dara. Love your recipe, pinned it several times. Happy 4th of July, friend!

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6 kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts July 3, 2013 at 9:09 am

Dara,
Your trip looks and sounds like a wonderful experience. I’d love to sit and have a visit with Jim Lloyd Butler–I bet I’d learn a ton.
Thanks!

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7 Liz July 3, 2013 at 9:16 am

Nice recipe. Thank you from 1 Canadian to another. Happy 4th!

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8 Heather July 3, 2013 at 10:05 am

What a fun group! I can only imagine how delicious everything was too ;)

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9 Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective July 3, 2013 at 11:23 am

Fun trip! Fabulous salad!

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10 Jessica@AKitchenAddiction July 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Looks like a great trip! Love this salad!

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11 Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Sounds like such a fun trip! Your salad looks perfect for summer BBQ season!

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12 Kankana July 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I love such trips and avocados are my FAV. One of te reason I love CA. And seriously one can never have enough of those in their belly.

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13 judy July 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Looks terrific! Where did you get the little clothespin chalkboard food labels to put on the bowl? I would love to know where to get those!

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14 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 5, 2013 at 11:02 am

Hi Judy, I receive a daily email from a company called Pick Your Plum http://www.pickyourplum.com. Their daily deals range from clothing to home decor to photo props (or at least I use them as photo props). I ordered those chalkboard clothespins from them a couple of weeks ago. They may be able to tell you where they sourced them from.

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15 Joanne T Ferguson July 3, 2013 at 8:17 pm

G’day! Looks to have been a fun filled food trip indeed!
I love avos and love the simplicity and versatility!
Cheers! Joanne

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16 John@ The Bread Makers July 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm

This recipe looks really good. I can’t wait it give it a try.

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17 Christine's Recipes July 4, 2013 at 12:28 am

How nice a trip you could join ! Avocados are always on my family’s menu. So intrigued by your avocado pasta salad.

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18 Nessa July 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm

You can never have enough avocado!

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19 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com July 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Such a fun trip!! Enjoyed following you all on the adventure over at Instagram :)

Delicious salad, Dara. Love the use of yogurt in the dressing!

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20 Mimi Avocado July 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

As a California avocado grower, it is such a joy to read a blog post that tells the true story, including the important details! Dara, you really ‘got it’…and expressed your perceptions so beautifully through the photographs and commentary. It was a treat to particate in the pasta salad contest at the Border Grill…not to mention our adventure driving out to the coast! Hope we get to meet up again sometime!

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21 Gerry @ Foodness Gracious July 5, 2013 at 9:03 am

Great looking trip and love the pics :)

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22 Annalise @ Completely Delicious July 5, 2013 at 9:28 am

This salad is perfect for summer! We have pasta salad on rotation more this time of year than is probably healthy. :) Your trip to CA looked like so much fun!

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23 Vijay @ NoshOnIt July 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

Dara – this looks like such a great trip! I also love the photos – could you share how you made that little chalkboard label for the front of the bowl? It’s so clever!

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24 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 5, 2013 at 11:03 am

Thanks, Vijay! I wish I could claim that I made those chalkboard clips, but I’m simply not that crafty. I receive a daily email from a company called Pick Your Plum http://www.pickyourplum.com. Their daily deals range from clothing to home decor to photo props (or at least I use them as photo props). I ordered those chalkboard clothespins from them a couple of weeks ago. They may be able to tell you where they sourced them from.

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25 Jeanette July 5, 2013 at 9:58 am

What a fun and informative trip Dara – I used to love watching Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s cooking show – the dynamic duo. Your shrimp, corn and avocado pasta salad sounds like a great summer salad – hope you and your family are having a relaxing summer! Stay well.

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26 Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious July 5, 2013 at 10:15 am

Wonderful, from top to bottom, including my pal Mimi Avocado!

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27 Sue {munchkin munchies} July 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm

This sounds like my kind of salad…and the dressing? YUM! For years I lived near my sister (she passed away in 2005) and she had a huge avocado tree which she generously shared:)
Looks like a deliciously fun trip!

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28 rachel July 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

It was such a fun trip! Jim Loyd was about the most adorable person ever.

LOVED finally getting to meet you and share margaritas and shrimp and a variety of amazing avocado dishes with you and the other awesome girls! <3

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29 Nutmeg Nanny July 18, 2013 at 8:50 am

Wow, looks like such a fun time :) I absolutely love avocados, this pasta salad looks fantastic!

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