You can use less shrimp if you want to keep costs down. Frozen shrimp are sometimes fairly low cost, especially small ones. On a salad, the size doesn’t matter so much. You can also add whatever raw vegetables you like to the salad. I like to add sliced hard-boiled eggs, though that’s not a classic Caesar salad. Since eggs add protein, you could cut back on the shrimp & still have plenty of protein. You could also leave out the pine nuts in my opinion & not affect the salad much. I like sunflower seeds more, but they can add a lot of salt/sodium. If you can find them without salt or lightly salted, they would be a nice addition to the salad. They cost less than pine nuts and you can used them on lots of things as well as for snacks & snack mixes. They also have protein so that you don’t need as many shrimp.
If you are cutting back on the shrimp, you might want to get just enough to accent the top of the salads & get a little bigger size for a nice presentation. You can make this any way you want, but arranging the showy ingredients on the top makes it even more special/appetizing & doesn’t cost any extra! For example you could add cucumber slices as an outside ring. Make another ring of thinly sliced carrots inside the cucumber ring, slightly overlapping. Follow that with a ring of tomatoes, then one of sliced hard boiled egg, then the shrimp. Sprinkle all with the sunflower seeds or pine nuts. Then pass the dressing. That was just an example, but generally you can put the more expensive items closer to the center because you won’t have as many of them. If you don’t want it so arranged, muss it up a little bit. It’s your salad! When you start eating a salad the items on the top start falling to the bottom anyway, so it gets pretty mixed up as you go.
The recipe calls for low-fat croutons since this is a low-fat dish, but home-made croutons would be a nice touch. I prefer a crusty bread served with olive oil & spices & grated parmesan for dipping–very heart-healthy. If it’s a special occasion, a low-cost wine would round out the meal nicely. For dessert? Homemade brownies and ice cream? Or a nice healthy fruit crisp topped with oatmeal streusel? A special bundt cake that has powdered sugar sprinkled on top instead of fatty icing? Angel food cake with fresh slice strawberries in a little sugar would be low fat, but high sugar. This would be a great anniversary dinner. Light the candles!
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