Applebee's Grilled Shrimp 'N Spinach Salad copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Applebee's Grilled Shrimp 'N Spinach Salad

Score: 4.69. Votes: 13
In stock (1 item available)
  • $0.79

Menu Description: "Fresh spinach tossed with tomatoes, red peppers, onions, almonds and topped with grilled shrimp. Served with bacon vinaigrette."

Here's another great vinaigrette from Applebee's—a perfectly sweet and sour concoction packed with bits of real bacon. Medium shrimp are sprinkled with a secret seasoning blend, then grilled and arranged on top of the two large dinner-size salads this recipe yields. You can also split these up to serve four smaller side salads. There will be extra vinaigrette, so by adding a bit more spinach, you can even stretch this recipe to serve six when that couple who never calls ahead shows up unexpectedly on your stoop at chow time.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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Bacon Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely minced cooked bacon (3 or 4 slices)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
Shrimp Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground (rubbed) sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 20 to 24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 16 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato (1 large tomato)
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced roasted red bell pepper (see Tidbits)
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    • Instructions

      1. Make bacon vinaigrette by combining bacon with 1/4 cup of oil—that's half of the oil—in a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and when it begins to bubble, set your timer for 1 minute. After a minute, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for 3 to 4 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in the vinegar and whisk the mixture into the oil and bacon, along with the sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of oil into the saucepan while whisking. Cover and chill dressing (it will thicken as it chills).

      2. Preheat barbecue grill to high. Combine shrimp seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Mix this blend with your fingers to break up any clumps of sage.

      3. Pierce 6 shrimp on each skewer. Brush the shrimp with melted butter and sprinkle a little of the seasoning blend on both sides. Grill skewered shrimp for a couple minutes on each side, or until they are done.

      4. Toast the sliced almonds in a medium saute pan over medium heat until golden brown. Toss the almonds often so that they don't burn.

      5. Build each salad by tossing 8 cups of spinach with 1/4 cup diced tomato, 1/4 cup red onion, 2 tablespoons roasted bell pepper, 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, and 3 to 4 tablespoons vinaigrette. Toss gently so that you don't bruise the spinach. Arrange the tossed salad on a serving plate, then remove the grilled shrimp from the skewers and place 10 to 12 shrimp on top.

      Makes 2 large salads.

      Tidbits: Roast a red bell pepper by placing it directly on the stove over a high flame. Rotate the pepper as it chars until all of the skin is blackened and then plunge the pepper into an ice water bath or seal it in a plastic zip-top bag. After a few minutes you can easily remove all of the blackened skin, and then slice the pepper. You can also roast the pepper in preheated 425 degrees F. oven. When the skin blisters, use the bag or ice water bath to remove the skin. Alternatively, you can buy bottled roasted peppers, but I think fresh is a much better way to go.

Average rating:

Score: 4.69. Votes: 13
Rating of votes (13)
12 customers
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1 customers
Jan 7, 2014, 22:00

I just made this and ate it over two days. They stopped serving it at Applebee's where i live and now I can have it whenever i want!the dressing is so good and the shrimp grilled up perfectly! I can control the amount of dressing I use and that makes this salad healthy!

May 7, 2009, 22:00


I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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