Shrimp Quinoa with Fresh Herbs, Vegetables and Feta Cheese

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

For all of my friends who claim they can't cook, this recipe is for you.

Honestly, if you (a) know how to boil water, and (b) can wield a knife in the kitchen without mortally injuring yourself, you possess all of the skill sets necessary to make this dish.  

If you are lacking in (a) or (b), I'm afraid I can't help you.  You would, however, make the perfect poster child for the need to bring back Home Ec classes to grade schools in this country.  Life skills people.  You should, at a minimum, be able to feed yourself in a way that does not involve McDonalds, DiGiorno, Campbell's or Lean Cuisines. 

I will get off of my soapbox now. 

It may appear all fancy because it involves seafood, fresh herbs and Quinoa ("keen-wah", not "ki-No-ah" like my country bumpkin self so eloquently pronounced it for months before I was schooled in the proper culinary pronunciation), but it's just putting airs. 

When you break it down, it's no more fancy than the macaroni salad you throw together for a barbecue - a grain, whatever veggies you have on hand, a little meat (if you have it), and some oil to bind it all together. 

And its completely customizable.  Don't like shrimp or allergic to shellfish? Add grilled chicken instead.  Prefer scallops? Go right ahead.  Not a zucchini fan?  Use broccoli, or asparagus, or sugar snap peas.  Want to sub kale for spinach?  Knock yourself out.

I have made this one thousand different ways, and its turns out amazing every time.  I generally stick to green vegetables because it turns out so pretty when combined with the green herbs, but feel free to experiment.  Trust me, you cannot ruin this.  Just make sure you stick with the olive oil, lemon and feta cheese combination - that's the ticket.

For my vegetarian friends out there, this is about as close as I get to a meatless recipe (i.e. a recipe that does, in fact, technically include meat).  Lucky for you, I know first hand that this recipe would be equally as good if you omitted the shrimp because Scott has been known to eat all of the shrimp (even when I double the shrimp) and I'm left only with the quinoa and veggies for lunch.  It's still scrumpdiddlyumptious.

Thanks Nitty Gritty Nursery and Edible Garden for the organic herbs and zucchini!

Shrimp Quinoa with Fresh Herbs, Vegetables and Feta Cheese:
Serves: 6
Prep Time:  35 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  45 minutes

1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked per instructions
1 pound of shrimp, peel and deveined
1 zucchini, sliced and quartered (or 6 mini zucchini sliced in my case)
8 ounces of raw spinach
1 bunch of fresh basil, chiffonade
1 bunch of fresh dill, chopped 
1 bunch of chives, chopped 
1 cucumber, sliced and cut into fourths
2 lemons, juiced 
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of Feta Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Add raw spinach to a large bowl  Cook quinoa per instructions (I made mine with water and a little salt, pepper, dried thyme and garlic powder), and pour hot quinoa over spinach, stir well.   The heat of the quinoa will help wilt spinach.  On a cookie sheet with raised edges, add zucchini and toss with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.  Arrange zucchini so that its covering one half of the cookie sheet.  Roast for 5 minutes in oven.  Remove cookie sheet and set oven to high broil.   Add shrimp to cookie sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Broil shrimp and zucchini for three to five minutes until shrimp are pink throughout (you do not want to overcook shrimp, so check after three minutes). Remove from oven and pour contents of pan (including juice) onto quinoa.  Stir well.  Add basil, dill, chives, cucumber, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir.  Add Feta cheese and stir well.  Serve immediately. 


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