With the weekly menu in full swing, I have realized that there are nights when I still have to make more than one meal. Last week, it was baked ziti night, this week is a macaroni and cheese night: Two meals I cannot eat without using gluten and dairy alternatives, which to me, are not always worth it. This week, as in most other weeks, I made a batch of quinoa to use as a side dish, or on macaroni and cheese night, a main dish. Admittedly, I forgot to plan this meal for myself and had to use items that I already had in the house. I had a bowl of tomatoes from the last of the abundant tomato harvest of late summer/early fall, and an avocado left over from Monday’s National Guacamole Day (9/16) so I was going to use them in my dish. I searched the freezer and had some frozen raw shrimp too. What goes best with tomato, avocado and shrimp? You guessed it – lime! Time to get cooking.
Since the quinoa was already cooked, this meal took 15 minutes to assemble. Tack on an extra 5 minutes if you need to prepare your quinoa. The easiest way to do so is to combine a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa – I use two cups of water to one cup of quinoa, but feel free to use less if you don’t need enough for the week. Put the water and quinoa in a pot and heat until it starts to boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to simmer until all of the water is absorbed, approximately 15 minutes. You may want to rinse your quinoa before cooking it, but most quinoa comes pre-rinsed nowadays.
Now that you have quinoa, it’s time to introduce you to the last flavors of summer….
Summer Shrimp Quinoa
Serves 4 side dishes, or 2 main dishes
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 lb shrimp, raw
1 large tomato
1/4 cup tablespoons cilantro, chopped (or less if you don’t love it as much as I do)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place one cup of quinoa into a mixing bowl. Chop the tomato and cilantro and place them in the bowl with the quinoa.
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Cross-hatch cut the avocado in the skin and use a spoon to remove it from the skin and add it into the mixing bowl. Mince the garlic and get ready to cook the shrimp – it cooks quickly! Heat a saucepan on medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the shrimp and the garlic to the pan. The shrimp will change from gray (its raw color) to pink in a matter of minutes.
When the shrimp is cooked, add it to the mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix.
And there you have it: The last flavors of summer in one delicious, easy, dinner recipe. I enjoyed it at room temperature and cold as leftovers on the next day. At either temperature, this meal was wonderfully satisfying, full of protein, and beautiful to look at (if I do say so myself). Enjoy!