You guys. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this new recipe. Summer is slowly coming to an end, so you must make this right now. Although I do see it as a warm, light and delicious escape to the tropical Caribbean during the cold winter months, especially when all you’ve been making is creamy soup and heavy pastas (what, you don’t do that during the winter?).
I love this because you can do all of the prepwork earlier in the day (or during naptime) so that dinner time isn’t as stressful! So easy!
The flavor combo here is heaven-sent. I had plans to make this quinoa salad for a get-together, but didn’t have time so I thought I’d do it a couple nights later for dinner. Except I realized I was feeding four other adults too, so I should probably make it substantial or whatever, right? That’s where the spicy, caribbean shrimp comes in. You take one bite of the cool, refreshing fruity quinoa, then BAM. The spicy party of flavors in the tender shrimp hit you in the face. And you kinda liked it.
I thought to add some brown sugar, cinnamon, and rum extract to the pineapple like I’ve done before for a desert pinapple, but wasn’t feeling those flavors here. I wanted the grilled pinapple flavor to shine through. Because we all know juicy, grilled pinapple is the best.
So this quinoa salad is a twist off of my Mojito Fruit Salad. The fruit salad is a combo of fresh fruit with a mojito dressing consisting of lime and mint. This time I nixed the mint and replaced it with cilantro. Another great combination. This quinoa fruit salad is perfect on its own: packed with protein from the salty cashews and of course the quinoa, lots of fruit and veggies with red bell pepper, mango, pineapple, and green onions, and finished off with the slightly sweet and tangy lime dressing.
But the shrimp. Ohhh, the shrimp. Spicy. Sweet. Savory. Love me some shrampy shramp. All I can say is Forrest would be proud.
- *omit for vegetarian or vegan
- 1 pound tail-off, extra-large, raw shrimp
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 c dark brown sugar
- 1 t salt
- 1 t paprika
- 1/2 t ground ginger
- 1/4 t cloves
- 1/8-1/4 t cayenne (1/8 t has some kick, 1/4 t has more)
- 2 T canola oil
- * vegan
- 2 c uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 4 c water
- 1/2 c white grape juice (can use water)
- 1/4 c sugar
- juice from 1-2 limes
- 1 pineapple
- 1 mango
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4 green onions
- handful cilantro
- 1 c salted cashews
- Mix together all shrimp ingredients in plastic bag to marinate several hours in the refrigerator. Rinse quinoa, bring 4 c salted water to a boil, add 2 c quinoa. Reduce to simmer, cover until cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Place in bowl in refrigerator to chill.
- Make dressing by bringing white grape juice and sugar to a boil, boil about 10 minutes until it has thickened into a syrup consistency. Remove from heat, transfer to bowl, add lime juice and refrigerate until chilled.
- Slice pineapple into wedges, spray with cooking oil (canola oil), and grill on medium until grill marks appear. Slice wedges into tidbits and refrigerate until chilled.
- Chop mango, bell pepper, green onions, and cilantro. Add to chilled quinoa. Stir in cashews, chilled pineapple, and dressing to coat. Cover and set in refrigerator to let flavors marry.
- Heat large skillet on medium, add half of the shrimp one by one to the pan with tongs. Don't overcrowd the pan and don't pour the remaining marinade in the pan. Once shrimp begins to turn pink and opaque (about 3 minutes), flip over. Cook another 2 minutes (until opaque and pink) and remove from pan. Repeat with remaining shrimp. Or skewer shrimp and grill a couple of minutes on each side, being careful not to overcook. As soon as it is opaque and pink, remove from grill.
- Serve shrimp hot alongside chilled quinoa.
- Shrimp serves 5, quinoa salad serves 8-10
You can cut down on prep time and sugar by omitting the lime syrup and skip grilling the pineapple. Instead, cook the chopped pineapple and chopped mango in a saucepan until fruit has softened a bit and released its juices. Then gently combine with cooked quinoa, red bell pepper, cashews, green onion, cilantro, and squeeze a lime over it all.