I substituted shrimp for chicken and black quinoa for regular quinoa, which gave the dish a bit more of a crunch. However, I’m interested to see how regular quinoa would make this taste. All in all I really loved the flavor and was very pleased with how the overall dish came out.
I pretty much eye balled all of the ingredients so this recipe may need to be tweaked to your own personal taste.
Spicy Basil Shrimp and Spinach Quinoa Bowl
20 medium shrimp cooked or uncooked (I used cooked)
2-3 C fresh baby spinach
1 C uncooked quinoa (I used black quinoa)
3 C fresh basil (I used one of those large cartons of organic basil you can find at the grocery store or trader joes)
2 large lemons-juiced
2 Tbs minced garlic
1/2 Tbs hot pepper flakes
1/2 C raw cashews
1/3 C olive oil
1/3 lb Aged Pecorino or Parmesan grated (I used Pecorino Grand Cru from Sicily)
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a pot boil 1 C quinoa with 2.5 C water until all water is cooked down and quinoa is tender.
While quinoa is cooking, sauté the shrimp in a pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until they are pink.
In a blender combine the basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cashews, hot pepper flakes, and 3/4 of the shredded cheese. Blend until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste.
Once all three components are finished and cooked, in a large bowl combine the shrimp and quinoa with the spinach and toss lightly. Top the quinoa mixture with as little or as much of the pesto dressing. I used about 3/4 of the dressing and saved the rest for another day. Toss gently until everything is mixed well. Serve hot, luke warm, or cold. Top with remaining shredded cheese.
This is a protein rich meal that is spicy, fresh, and really filling. It was great on a cold winter night, but I imagine it would be just as good on a hot summer day. And you can interchange a lot of the ingredients by adding chicken instead of shrimp, different types of grains instead of quinoa, and even adding more vegetables. A fast, healthy, flavorful dish for any weeknight!