Monday, April 16, 2012

Quinoa, Shrimp, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Salad

Perfect Pairing:  Roasted Shrimp
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I am a huge fan of quinoa.  If you have not tried it, you must!  It is so healthy and delicious.  I wrote about some of the health benefits and uses in my post for Spicy Quinoa, Tomato, Spinach and Chicken Sausage Soup.
I came up with this salad when I was at the grocery store with no plan.  Usually I have a plan… and a list.  Perhaps you remember my organized grocery list post.  It will change your shopping forever.  Anyway, I wanted a healthy dinner that would be easy to pull together.  I picked up some of my favorite ingredients that I thought would work well together.  Originally I wanted avocado but there were no ripe avocados that day so I went with goat cheese.  I am glad I did, I loved it in this recipe.  The end result is a healthy and satisfying salad that is great for a main dish.  I thought it was best served just slightly warm.
The Perfect Pairing for this salad is roasted shrimp.  You could buy pre-cooked shrimp but I think buying them raw and roasting them yourself improves the flavor tenfold.  The method is simple, toss the peeled and deveined raw shrimp with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven until just cooked through.  After I found this method I decided that I will not buy cooked shrimp again unless I am in a real bind.

Quinoa, Shrimp, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Salad
Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing

Ingredients:
Salad:
·         1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
·         ¾ lb shrimp
·         3 Tb olive oil, divided
·         Salt and pepper
·         1 cup quinoa
·         2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
·         1 red pepper, thinly sliced
·         ½ pint grape tomatoes, halved
·         5 green onions, chopped
·         ¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
Dressing:
·         1 tsp Dijon mustard
·         1 Tb olive oil
·         1 ½ Tb white wine vinegar
·         1 tsp honey
·         ½ tsp sriracha sauce
·         Dash of garlic powder
·         Salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss your asparagus in 2 Tb of olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper.  Place on a prepared cookie sheet and roast in the oven until cooked through and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.  Once the asparagus is cooked, cut into bite-sized pieces.
If you are roasting your own shrimp, toss with 1 Tb olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Place on a prepared cookie sheet and roast in the oven until just cooked through, about 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the quinoa and chicken broth to a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is al dente.
In a small bowl or jar combine the dressing ingredients, stir or shake until combined.
In a large bowl combine the red pepper, tomatoes, green onions, roasted asparagus pieces, and cooked quinoa.  Stir gently to combine.  Toss in salad dressing, taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve with shrimp and crumbled goat cheese.

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