Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recipe: Spicy Red Quinoa & Shrimp

So a lot of you have been asking about my new work gig (I hate to call it a job just yet, as it’s another temporary position), and I apologize for keeping it a bit on the down-low. I know it’s silly but with the hell that has plagued Kimberland recently, I’m a bit hesitant to proclaim myself as employed, especially since I know this job could be over in a few months. However, you guys have all been so awesome & supportive over these past horrible weeks that I thought I’d share with you that Poor Girl has kinda sorta scored some full time-ish employment for the next few months. It’s a contract position and it’s for an agency I’ve been dying to get into for the past 3 years, so I’m pretty stoked that I’ve got at least one toe in the door. I’m back in a field that I have loved and missed since ’06, and even though I’m pretty busy and there’s a heck of a lot to learn, I’m in a far more Kimberfriendly environment. I'm pretty content right now.

That being said, let's get to tonight's recipe (which is going to be far healthier than the last two, I promise)!

I was revisiting an absolute favorite of mine for lunch yesterday, my Red Quinoa & Broccoli Salad with Almond Honey Vinaigrette (not to toot my own horn, but this is one of the greatest salads EVER, imo), and it dawned on me that I hadn't cooked with red quinoa in ages. Or quinoa in general. After that brutal month of unemployment, I've been trying to get back into the swing of more nutritious fare that I can take with me to work (especially now that I'm at a job that'll let me eat at my desk; SO nice to work on regulating my blood sugar again by eating smaller, frequent meals! But I digress), so I returned to the Mother Grain. For some reason I wanted to make something spicy and fiery with this deep red grain and since I love it when spicy + shrimp = a practically perfect food, I thought it might be fun to combine the two.

Now, I will warn you, this is NOT for the faint of heart! The sauce itself is extremely spicy but intentionally so, in order for the quinoa to absorb the flavors & heat. This dish is packed with protein because of the shrimp and, of course, the quinoa. It's intensely flavorful, and filled with interesting textures. But what I love most about this is how it much food you end up with only using a cup and half of dried quinoa! This will serve at least 6 people as written, and because I ended up with far more than a single person could ever eat, I fully intend on freezing some of this for future meals. Though it may sound like a lot of work, it's really quite easy to make, which makes the whole thing even better.

For you folks who live in more remote areas were quinoa is not easily found, never fear! You can make this with some good brown rice for now; once I find you some quality, affordable online resources for y'all, I'll be posting that info for sure. For the rest of you who can access the mother grain right now, here's the recipe!

Spicy Red Quinoa & Shrimp (makes 6-8 servings; total cost per serving: ~$1.85)

1 1/2 c dry red quinoa

1 1/2 c water

3/4 lb large frozen cooked shrimp, thawed

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with their juice

1 c red & yellow pepper strips (if you only have one or the other, that's fine too)

1 large garlic clove, minced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 T olive oil

1/2 T sea salt

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t crushed red chilies

1/4 t dried oregano

2 T finely chopped cilantro, plus a couple extra sprigs for garnish

Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander and drain well. In a medium saucepan combine the water & quinoa with just the tiniest pinch of salt and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the quinoa is tender and the grains have sprouted. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the garlic & diced onion. Cook until the onion just begins to soften. Add the pepper strips, salt, cayenne pepper and crushed red chilies and cook for about 1 minute, then add the diced tomatoes & their juices. Simmer for about 4 minutes to allow all the flavors to incorporate. Add the shrimp and cook until they're heated through (about 2 minutes). Finally, add the quinoa, folding the shrimp sauce into it gently until everything is completely combined. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Uncover, add the chopped cilantro and mix well.

Serve as a side or as an entrée with a nice salad, garnish with extra cilantro leaves, and enjoy!


  1. Im excited for you Kimberly! Had I had a job I would have hired you ion a flash.
    Good luck you will do great.

  2. I can't wait to make this tomorrow! I love anything and everything with quiona!

  3. Great recipe for Lent! Would wild rice work (by itself)?

  4. This sounds amazing! I have needed a new Quinoa recipe!

  5. This spicy salad would hit the spot this afternoon. Glad to hear someone else noshes while at the keyboard. Seems like I've been using a lot of quinoa of late too!

  6. Kimberly,

    Really hope the job works into full time permanent for you.

    As for the recipe--wonderful! I love quinoa and shrimp with it is perfect. This will be nice to make when I want something with a little kick to it.

  7. This is amazing! I cannot wait to try it out...although I am going to cut back on the fire. Mine won't be as pretty though....I have the regular quinoa and lots of it (and budget-wise me must use it before buying more). THANKS and positive thoughts on the job!

  8. Good luck with the new job. I made this last night....it was so easy for a busy weeknight, it was so pretty and so tasty! And, we have leftovers for tonight - bonus! This was my first foray into quinoa and I LOVED it!! Thanks for another great recipe.

  9. I just made this for lunch -- I found one of those cocktail shrimp ring things on sale -- it looks posh and tastes terrific! And it made four giant helpings, so I'll have posh yummy lunches all week. Thanks! Oh, and I made the edamame succotash, too, so it's a Poor Girl week at my house. Delish!

  10. Hi Kim,

    I just found out about Quinoa and I'm love it. For anyone who can't find quinoa in stores. Go to Amazon.com, they usually have the red, white and black quinoa. Hope this is helpful to someone.

    Thanks for the recipe!!!! :))

  11. I just made this recipe and it is amazing!

  12. I made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious! The only substitutions I made were black quinoa for the red (it was all I had on hand), and dried cilantro (less than directed) instead of the fresh. It was great; a nice kick of spice, but not overpowering. Will definitely be making again!

  13. I made this for dinner tonight, and my husband and I loved it! This is my first time making quinoa, but luckily I just bought some red quinoa this past weekend, and had all of the ingredients on hand! Great to make when you have some frozen shrimp and haven't really planned anything for dinner! AND as a bonus it is so good for you too!

  14. I swapped in chicken for the shrimp (shellfish allergies in my household) and it came out great! It had just the right amount of heat.



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