Greek salads are found frequently on lunch menus, but rarely will you find them with grilled shrimp and romaine! Chef Britt shows you how to put together this flavor-packed Greek Grain Salad and keep it fresh all week!
Cook pot barley by bringing 3 cups of water and one cup rinsed barley up to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cover to cook for 35-40 minutes. Once finished cooking, spread out to cool on a sheet pan and hold until ready for assembly.
Assemble the dressing by blending together 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 3 Tablespoons Dizzy Pig Raging River Seasoning, 1 cup EVOO, 1 minced shallot, and 1/4 cup of chopped parsley. Once properly emulsified, use about 1/4 of a cup to marinate shrimp and 1/3 of a cup to dress the cooled pot barley.
Slice one head of romaine lettuce vertically in half and coat the cut side with extra virgin olive oil. On a hot grill, char the romaine halves and grill the shrimp until cooked through, about four to five minutes on each side.
Portion and assemble the finished Greek salads with barley, vegetables, feta, olives, and cooled grilled shrimp into four containers.
I love the freshness of a Greek salad, but I think my favorite part is the briny add-ons, like good kalamata olives and punchy feta cheese. But let’s face it: greek salads are on every fast-casual lunch counter known to man. Maybe it just feels that way. And it’s not that I’m mad about that, I really do love Greek salads, but I want to shake things up with the perfect flavor add-on: smoke. I set out to make this classic lunch staple with a new twist by grilling a portion of the romaine to bring that smoky edge we didn’t know we were missing. Check it out!
The first thing to knock out is to start cooking your barley. Here I’ve rinsed one cup of barley and will add it to 3 cups of water to cook. It’s very similar to rice, you bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for approximately 35-40 minutes or until tender.
While the barley cooks and your grill is heating up, assemble the dressing. Here I start with mincing some shallot.
Combine 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar with olive oil, then add 3 tablespoons of Dizzy Pig Raging River Seasoning. With smoked paprika as the background, this seasoning has herbs and a slight sweetness to make your greek seasoning stand out.
1/4 cup of flat-leaf parsley (packed) with the stems removed goes in with the shallots and other ingredients.
We will use this dressing to marinate the shrimp and dress the barley.
I add about a quarter cup of the Greek dressing to one pound of peeled and deveined shrimp. Toss until evenly coated and allow the shrimp to marinate for about 15 minutes.
Once my barley is cooked through, I spread it out on a sheet pan to cool. I use just enough of the dressing to coat the barley. A little goes a long way in this case, so I wouldn’t do more than a 1/3 cup.
Next, we move onto prepping the romaine for the grill. Because grilling can wilt the lettuce, I will only grill one head of romaine and keep the other two fresh. This way I can mix in the grilled lettuce with the fresh and get the benefits of both.
Once I cut the head of romaine in half, I will season the cut side with olive oil using this bottle sprayer.
Since grilling is what separates this greek salad from the multitudes of recipes out there, make sure you start by getting your grill set up with the right fuel. I’ve opted to use BBQr’s Delight Pecan Pellets with the YS640s pellet smoker. Preheat your grill for high-heat grilling, 450 degrees F or higher.
In this recipe, I’m cooking shrimp, and the Frogmat is perfect for grilling smaller items that may want to fall through the grates. Even though it can withstand high temperatures, it’s important to know when using the Frogmat that the grill is set up for indirect cooking, meaning the diffuser plate is in place so no flames should flare up and touch the frogmat as it cooks. If you have a grill that’s better used for direct grilling, such as a Napoleon Gas Grill, I would suggest using double-pronged skewers for your shrimp.
Now that we’re ready for the grill, I place my romaine over the heat source for high-temp searing, while the shrimp set on the remaining space of the bottom shelf of the smoker. The shrimp will be done once they’re opaque in color and have a slight firmness throughout. As for the romaine, we are just looking to get those characteristic grill marks. The higher the temp, the more char we get without completely wilting the lettuce.
The cooking of the shrimp and romaine will only take a few minutes, so I close the door to the grill and head back inside to chop some vegetables.
Here’s a good visual about how to get even cuts on your tomatoes and cucumbers.
I’ve put together my salad add-ins. Good feta and kalamata olives are crucial any Greek salad for me. You’ll notice in the background of this photo I have chopped all three heads of romaine and tossed them together before portioning.
When assembling, I place the cooled, dressed barley into the bottom of the container, followed by my chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, feta, and olives. Place the chopped romaine on top, followed by the grilled shrimp. It’s important to allow the hot components to cool completely before assembling.
There you have it! Greek Grilled Shrimp Salad ready for your lunchbox!