Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Quinoa with Pesto And Shrimp

quinoa pesto shrimp salad

Are quinoa and kale salads ubiquitous items offered at your neighborhood restaurants? They are here and that is fine by me. Quinoa is a complete protein and provides heavy concentrations of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant phytonutrients. It is the healthiest of whole grains and I love it as a healthier substitute for rice, couscous and pasta.

It was during my illness earlier this year that I decided to increase my intake of these two super-foods by preparing them regularly at home.  Hungry for some really good recipes, I started searching online and quickly came across this recipe -  Heather's Quinoa.  It was such a grand discovery - this recipe is the best - one that I make often and one that has served as inspiration to countless new inventions like the recipe below. But the even greater discovery was the source of this recipe: 101cookbooks. Every food blog reader knows this utterly charming blog, which is chock fill of amazing vegetarian recipes, but at the time I was strictly reading lifestyle and design blogs {my other obsession}. So I became a regular reader of 101 cookbooks and then started checking out other food blogs and down the rabbit hole I went!

This dish, like Heather's Quinoa, is every bit as satisfying as any pesto pasta. My pesto recipe is very good and easy but if you are in a rush, Basiltops pesto at Whole Foods is a delicious alternative.

Quinoa with Pesto And Shrimp

olive oil
1 1/2 c plum grape tomatoes, halved or whole cherry tomatoes
12 oz wild prawns or jumbo shrimp, deveined, shelled,  tails off and cut into 1" pieces
2 T sweet onion, diced
4 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup frozen baby peas
2 c kale, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/3 c raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup freshly grated imported Pecorino
crushed red pepper (optional)
- and for the pesto
2 heaping T walnuts
2 t chopped garlic
1 1 /4  cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice from 1/4 lemon medium lemon or 1/2 small lemon
6 T olive oil

Roast the tomatoes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a bowl, toss tomatoes with 1 T olive oil.  Spread tomatoes on the baking sheet and season with a light layer of salt and pepper.  Cook, until tomatoes are soft and blistered, about 30 minutes. Give them a stir at the 15 minute mark. Remove from heat and set aside.

Make the pesto while the tomatoes are roasting
In a food processor, process the first 6 pesto ingredients. Slowly add in the olive oil and process until oil is incorporated. Taste to  adjust seasoning and set aside.

Prepare the main dish
In a small skillet. saute prawns in 1 T olive oil over medium-high heat until they turn from gray to pink, about 1 minute per side.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 T of olive oil and saute onion, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add 2 T water, quinoa, peas and kale and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in shrimp, sunflower seeds and most or all of the pesto, to taste.

Transfer to a serving platter and arrange tomatoes on top and dust with grated cheese.  Serve with crushed red pepper on the side.

Serves 4-6.

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Source:  Jill Crusenberry

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