Star Grazing Grilled Vegetable Salad With Chicken and Shrimp

ivybetterThere’s no place like Hollywood for star-gazing …

And to catch a star grazing, there are few places better than the venerable Ivy on West Hollywood’s trendy Robertson Boulevard.

Since this famed eatery opened its doors almost 30 years ago, one of its most consistent stars has never appeared on the guest list… but is, instead, found on the menu.

Mixed greens, topped with delicately charred peppers, zucchini, asparagus, corn and mesquite grilled chicken and/or shrimp, The Ivy’s Grilled Vegetable Salad is one of the most well known and well loved dishes in town.

But with its 28 dollar price, it’s not a salad many can order every day. Now, you can make this skinny version of that signature salad at home….saving money and calories!

Who’s the star now?

The peppers, zucchini, squash, eggplant and asparagus in this recipe are so low in calories, high in fiber and rich in nutrition that you don’t have to worry about how much of them you eat… but, you do want to be mindful when you add the other ingredients.

ivymixgrillAvocados, while incredibly healthful, have 50 calories in just 2 tablespoons, the half ear of corn has another 50 and the chicken and shrimp contribute another 200 calories a cup.

But since I’ve cut the oil to a fraction of what it before, the dressing now has just 30 calories a tablespoon instead of 100…

And–all in–this huge dinner worthy salad, loaded with fiber, flavor and nutrition, only adds up to only 350 calories.

Note: Though you’re only going to use a half cup of shrimp and a half cup of chicken on each plate, I call for cooking more of both proteins—as well as a generous quantity of grilled vegetables— while the grill is hot so that you can easily toss together another salad, wrap, a quick soup or a soft taco the next day. Remember, it’s all about inventory!


Makes 2 large entree salads


1 teaspoon honey

1 Tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 Tablespoon good olive oil

1 Tablespoon fresh minced basil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 clove garlic pressed through a garlic press (or minced then mashed well with the salt to extract as much juice as possible)

Stir the honey with the vinegar and lemon juice to dissolve before adding the oil, basil salt and garlic.  Let sit at least an hour before serving.


1/2 lb fresh large shrimp, shells removed

1 teaspoon McCormick’s Mesquite Grill Mates Seasoning

Zest of 1 lime (do not add the juice or the acid will “cook” the shrimp like a ceviche.)

Peel and season shrimp and hold in fridge at least 4 hours or overnight. Grill on high heat about 2 minutes on each side until shrimp have just turned bright and opaque.

If you don’t have a grill, just heat a frying pan and spray with cooking oil. Cook on high for about 2 minutes a side.


Just as with the recipe for Amazing Indian Grilled Chicken, buttermilk is key to tenderizing and moisturizing lean cuts of poultry and helps carry the spices to every bit of the bird.

1 lb thin sliced chicken breast fillets

McCormick’s Mesquite Grill Mates Seasoning

1/4 cup buttermilk

Juice of 1 lime

Combine all in a bowl and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before grilling.


1 small zucchini, sliced in half, lengthwise

1 small Japanese eggplant, sliced in half, lengthwise

1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and quartered

1 small ear of corn

8 fresh asparagus spears

6 green onions

salt and pepper

1 medium tomato

1/4 medium avocado, cut into 4 slices

Mixed soft salad greens of your choosing

Slice zucchini and eggplant in half and sprinkle the flesh sides with salt. Set aside on a paper towel for 20 minutes so any bitter juices can come to the surface. Wipe the juices and salt off with the paper towel just before grilling.

Sprinkle the zucchini, eggplant, peppers, corn, asparagus and green onions with salt and pepper and grill until tender and charred in places.
Use a sharp knife to strip the corn from the cob and rough chop the rest of the grilled vegetables.

Chop tomato and slice avocado as well.


Place 2 big handfuls of fresh mixed greens onto 2 dinner plates and divide the grilled vegetables between them an way you like.

You can leave the asparagus and the green onions whole….

Or fully chop them all…it’s up to you.

Add 1/2 cup of chopped chicken,  1/2 cup of chopped shrimp, some fresh tomatoes, 2 slices of avocado, and a couple of slices of lemon and lime and drizzle all with the dressing.

Serve alone or with a small cup of Glorious Gazpacho on the side.

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa McRee was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! Visit The Skinny to see how she did it.