Friday, February 10, 2012

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Kale and Quinoa

Spicy Garlic Shrimp and Kale over Quinoa

Do you ever have those nights when you're just craving something super healthy, but still chocked full of flavor?  I was the other night, and I happened to find some quinoa in my cabinet.  I used my favorite - foodblogsearch - to look for a good recipe, but everything seemed to be vegetarian.  I wanted to use shrimp since I hadn't had seafood in a little while, so I added it to my search and came across this recipe.


Now normally, I am not a kale fan (aside from the kale salad my best friend makes).  Kale chips? Not my style.  Remember when I made the Tomato Braised Chicken with Kale?  I told you all I just was not feeling the kale. It can be really bitter and I just don't like it that much.  But, as long as I was going to eat healthy, I needed my dark leafy green.  But, I thought I'd give it another shot.  Everyone else seems to love kale these days, why can't I?

I think the trick here was cooking the kale down with a little oil and butter until fully cooked.  I honestly just think it may have been a bit raw last time I made it, and maybe that's why it was so bitter.  This time a huge bunch cooked down by probably 70%, and it really wasn't bitter at all - in fact it was juicy and loaded with flavor from the lemon and tomato sauce.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp and Kale over Quinoa - just starting to cook

One of my favorite parts of this meal was the cost.  All of the ingredients cost $5.84.  It could easily serve 2 for dinner or 4 for lunch. I ate it for dinner and then for lunch for a couple of days.  Even if you are trying to save money, I recommend you get a nicer brand of tomato sauce.  A can of off-brand tomato sauce was 33 cents, while Tuttorosso was on sale (by surprise, it didn't even have a sign!) from 60 cents to 40 cents.  The difference in flavor is totally worth the extra 7 cents.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp and Kale over Quinoa

I sort of surprised myself, but I completely loved this recipe.  The kale was delicious, there was just a little bit of shrimp for some seafood (tastes like New England) and substance, and the quinoa was nutty and made the meal feel complete.  I liked it better when the quinoa was really mixed in with the kale and shrimp so that it could absorb all the flavors from the lemon, tomato sauce, and red pepper flakes.  Of course, I use way more red pepper flakes than the original recipe called for - and to be honest it wasn't even very spicy still.  If the Monkey Scientist had eaten this, I probably would have had to throw some cayenne in, but he was busy working late again.  I thought this was a delicious meal full of all sorts of healthy and delicious things.

Also - sorry that these photos are pretty out of focus.  My camera was not cooperating.  Some day I'll buy my DSLR and self-focus, but for now I just deal with what I have.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp and Kale over Quinoa

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Kale and Quinoa
slightly adjusted from Healthy Green Kitchen

1 cup white quinoa
pinch of Himalayan or sea salt (I used garlic salt)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
5 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 pound shrimp
1 bunch kale, chopped fine
8 oz can tomato sauce (I used Tuttorosso)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
course sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer (this is important or it will be bitter). Bring 1 1/4 c water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until all water is absorbed (about 12 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to sit in covered pot for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
2. In a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy-bottomed pan, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, being careful so it doesn't burn.
3. Add the shrimp and kale and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the shrimp have just turned pink and the kale is cooked through.
4. Add tomato sauce and cook for another minute or so. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
5. Serve over quinoa.

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