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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Asparagus Recipe

Our friend Arvind (who gave us his tasty Mustard Potatoes recipe) also introduced us to quinoa several months ago. The quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) seed is a food that is becoming more popular nowadays for its nutritional value. It is high in protein and gluten-free. It is also simply delicious.

Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Asparagus

Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Asparagus

Annie had gone out for some afternoon coffee and conversation with a couple of her girlfriends, just to get away from the kids and the house and to decompress a little. She suggested I cook something for dinner using quinoa and shrimp that we had in the freezer, so a-Googling I did go and quickly found this recipe on . Now, I’m not the best cook, so any recipe has to be easy enough for me to do. This recipe fit the bill.

Actually cooking and building this quinoa salad with shrimp and asparagus is quick. It’s the prep work of slicing and dicing the veggies beforehand that can take a while if (like me) you’re not as good with a knife. But I made it through and was actually surprised at how fast the dish came together.

Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Asparagus Recipe

adapted from


1-1/2 cups water (I used a can of chicken broth)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used six baby bell peppers)
8 stalks asparagus, sliced thinly on the bias
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup raisins (I used chopped sun-dried tomatoes instead)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced (I used my Microplane grater)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined*
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of one lime (we didn’t have limes so I used a lemon instead)

*The original recipe calls for a pound of shrimp, but I feel that 1/2 pound is enough.


1. Bring water or chicken broth to a boil, then add the rinsed quinoa. Cover the pot and lower the temperature. Simmer for 15 minutes, then turn off heat. Let the remaining liquid absorb into the quinoa.

Quinoa Simmered in Chicken Broth

Quinoa Simmered in Chicken Broth

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté the garlic, onion and bell pepper until they soften.

Sautéing Garlic, Onion and Bell Pepper

Sautéing Garlic, Onion and Bell Pepper

3. Add in the asparagus, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and ginger. Cook until the asparagus is tender.

Sautéing Asparagus and Mushrooms

Sautéing Asparagus and Mushrooms

4. Add in the shrimp to the vegetables and cook until the shrimp turn opaque, about 5 minutes.

5. Mix the lemon juice into the quinoa, then toss the quinoa into the vegetables and shrimp. Adjust seasonings.

6. Plate it up!

Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Asparagus

Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Asparagus

The quinoa is not as fluffy or crumbly as couscous nor as soft or sticky as rice – it has its own unique texture. This entire quinoa salad is just bursting with flavor. All sorts of umami were present, from the mushrooms to the sun-dried tomatoes to the shrimp. The quinoa had absorbed the chicken-y savoriness of the broth while the onions and bell peppers contributed sweetness. The brightness of the lemon brought all the flavors together and intensified them.

I served this to Annie when she came home and she loved it. “Can you make it again?”

Sure thing!

Aloha, Nate

Hungry for more salad recipes? Click below:

Thai-Inspired Caesar Salad Recipe

Chopped Shrimp Waldorf Salad

Chopped Mexican Salad

Chopped Greek Salad

Strawberry and Tomato Salad with Maple


Food For Tots said...

I am not a big fan of salad but this one is surely a winner to me! Flavoursome, healthy & simple!

Jo said...

I've not tried quinoa before but just by simply staring at your picture, I wish was having some now. Also shrimp and asparagus is such a great combination.

Wandering Coyote said...

I love quinoa! Your recipe looks wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Raisins -- what an interesting addition. Though, I'm with you -- I think I'd have opted for sun-dried tomatoes instead, too. Another easy way to cook quinoa is using your rice cooker. Push the button, and you don't have to do anything till you hear it beep.

Passionate Eater said...

I have never tried quinoa (yet), but your shrimp and asparagus salad inspires me to try soon!

pigpigscorner said...

Love the coloursand it looks really delicious! I just bought a bag of quinoa after reading about it so much.

Anonymous said...

I've used quinoa in a couple of recipes and really liked it. I love the substitution of using sun-dried tomatoes since we're not a fan of raisins. Maybe I can give this recipe to MY husband to make for me!

Elaine said...

I have never tried quinoa before and these days i keep seeing that word "quinoa" popping up all over the place. Your shrimpy quinoa salad might just convince me to get some, guys when i get back. How are you two doing? :D

Joie de vivre said...

You've changed the look of your blog since the last time I've been here! (Sadly, it's been a few weeks). This salad looks wonderful!

Pearl said...

i haven't had quinoa in a while but loved it when i tried it cold with grape tomatoes!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, snacks! I've never had (much less heard of) quinoa but I definitely need to get with the program, this looks yum! I'll add it to my list and keep you both posted with the end results.


PS - Thanks for taking the time to reply to my posting, appreciate it and am especially glad to make the connection(s). Also, you all on Twitter? (I am @scottysnacks )

Cris said...

Hi guys, your shrimp recipes are so colorful, I have quinoa in the pantry... Annie, you asked about the pictures for the chocolate truffle, I did not take any of the process, you just need two spoons, or use your hands to make the balls the size of a golf ball. Please get in touch with me if you have any questions. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nate & Annie,

This salad surely looks very healthy and delicious. I have never cook quinoa before. Will certainly give this recipe a try when asparagus is in season here. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


Big Boys Oven said...

OMG! I just love that first photo of yours, so attractive, just like Queen bee, me the soldier! :) Just an awesome photo that makes me longing for some!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@all - thanks for your comments!

@Food For Tots - no lettuce was harmed in the making of this salad ;-)

@Jo - we got our quinoa from the bulk grains section at Whole Foods, but you can find quinoa at Trader Joes, or perhaps in the specialty foods aisle at your grocery.

@Wandering Coyote - great! I do hope you get to try it.

@Carolyn - raisins and couscous go together, so raisins and quinoa isn't too much of a stretch. I went with the sun-dried tomatoes because 1) I couldn't find the raisins and 2) I didn't want the salad to be sweet.

Thanks for the tip about using the rice cooker - makes sense!

@Passionate Eater - With shrimp in it, what's not to love? :-)

@pigpigscorner - now you have a reason to do something with your quinoa. Let us know how it turns out!

@Mrs L - that's a great idea ;-)

@Elaine - we're doing all right. when are you getting back?

@Joie - just slight changes. The label cloud is gone but I put back a category list so people can browse stuff easier.

@Scottysnacks - I am seriously considering taking the Twitter plunge. As long as it doesn't take me away from blogging!

@Cris - I hope you do try out our recipe. Thanks for coming to our blog!

@Eliz - you're welcome! Would love to see the finished product.

@BigBoysOven - what is the availability of these ingredients like over there in Malaysia?

Anonymous said...

Love shrimp. Love asparagus. It's gotta be good!

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

ILOVE quinoa... will definitely be trying this!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@ButterYum - (love the name!) do tell us how it comes out for you.

test it comm said...

What a great looking salad!

Heidi Leon Monges said...

mmmm...this looks good, great idea to cook quinoa with shrimps!