Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eating Light....ish?

Cooking in warm weather can be so difficult for a comfort food addict like me. It just doesn't seem right to make the baked pastas, casseroles and savoury pies that I love to make in colder weather. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of summer foods that I love but it just isn't what I crave after a long day that leaves me wanting nothing but fatty carbs (there is no logical reasoning for this - it's just what I do).

Fortunately, living in Canada there isn't a very long time span that this is actually a real problem. Especially this summer, there have been plenty of cold, windy, rainy days where I don't have the least bit of a problem with whipping up some soup or mac and cheese for dinner. But...still. I find I have a greater tendency to fall into cooking "ruts". Especially without access to a barbeque.

Luckily I've recently discovered quinoa. A friend of a friend made a delicious quinoa salad awhile back, and since then we've made a few variations of it for dinner. This recipe has an asian feel to it with the shrimp, ginger and sesame, plus a bit of sweetness from the pineapple. It's nice in that I can still feel like I'm getting my carbs (since it's a GRAIN salad) without feeling like I've just gained 5 pounds nad is great as leftovers for lunch (it actually tastes better after its been sitting in the fridge for awhile and the flavours have had a chance to soak in). And apparently it's good for you too. Score!

Summer Shrimp Quinoa Salad

1/2 cup quinoa (about 2 cups cooked)
2 cups frozen edamame beans
1/2 cup canned or fresh pineapple tidbits
2 stalks green onions
Shrimp (I think I used about 12 but I'm really not sure)
salt and pepper to taste
sesame seeds, for garnish

1 tbsp minced ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp pineapple juice

1. Whisk dressing ingredients together until combined, and set aside

2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, and add quinoa. Cover and let cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, re-cover and let sit for about 10 minutes.

3. If the shrimp that you're using is frozen (as mine was), run it under cold water, and leave for about 10 minutes to drain. The shrimp should start thawing out pretty quickly. Or if you actually think ahead (as I rarely do) you can take it out and defrost it in the fridge for a few hours.

4. Stir fry the shrimp over medium heat in a skillet until cooked through. I poured some of the dressing over it while cooking so that it absorbed some of the flavour.

5. Cook the edamame beans until they're not frozen anymore. The ones I use are pre-cooked so they don't actually need to be cooked, per se. I just microwave for less time than I normally do (like...1 minute instead of 4). Remove the beans from the pod if you're using ones in the shell.

6. Slice up the green onions up to the dark green parts

7. Throw the quinoa, shrimp, green onions, pineapple tidbits and edamame beans in a large bowl

8. Add dressing, a bit at a time, until it looks wet enough for you. This would be completely to your preference so just keep going until it looks and tastes right. Season to taste and garnish with sesame seeds


  1. Jess - if you were making this for dinner say...what kind of other dishes would you suggest? It sounds delicious!
    I also told Jillian that she was the "friend of a friend"...hehe!

  2. Oh good! I was really inspired by her salad that day :)

    I added the shrimp to this so that it could be a light meal in itself, but you could also have it with some grilled steak or chicken as a side...kind of a spin on surf and turf? You could even marinate the meat in the dressing too if you wanted to.

  3. Are you sure the 1/2 cup is correct? I saw this recipe reposted in: and it said it served 4-6 people. I only found it served 2 people when I made it last night.