Thursday, July 25, 2013

Healthy Louisiana Creole Shrimp

While I'm trying to eat a healthier diet filled with whole, un-processed foods, the one thing I won't skimp on is flavor. I like my food a bit on the spicy side. Fortunately, spices don't add calories and many of them are extremely good for you. One only has to google turmeric, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, paprika, etc. to see the health benefits of many spices. Adding a variety of spices is a great way to eat healthy without feeling like you're on a diet.

So, since I was by myself the other night and craving shrimp, I decided to create my own healthy version of Creole Shrimp. And I think I hit a home run!

Instead of using white rice, I substituted quinoa and minimized the amount of butter used. Here is my recipe:

Serves 1 - Time 20 minutes
1/4 pound shrimp, deveined and tails removed
1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/2 cup sliced red and yellow peppers
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbl lemon juice
Dash of creole seasoning
Dash of cajun seasoning
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbl light butter

  1. Cook quinoa according to directions. This normally takes about 15 - 20 minutes, so start this first and allow to cook while preparing the shrimp.
  2. Marinate shrimp in lemon juice and seasonings. I happened to have cajun seasoning and creole seasoning on hand, so I just threw a few dashes in the marinade. If you don't have this prepared, any combination of paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme will do the trick. You can't really go wrong unless you overdo the cayenne pepper! It's all a matter of personal taste, so don't be afraid to experiment.
  3. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the red onion, peppers, and garlic. Saute for approximately 5 minutes until soft.
  4. Add shrimp and cook for just a few minutes until shrimp turns pink on the outside. It will still be slightly uncooked in the middle, but that's ok.
  5. Add tomatoes, chicken broth and butter - stir to mix. I have light butter that I purchased from Costco. It tastes the same as regular butter but with less calories. It allows me to use a little more butter to get that creamy mouth feel that I think is important with this type of dish. You can always use regular butter.
  6. Cook for 5 more minutes over low heat.
  7. When finished, pour over quinoa.
What I love about quinoa, besides being a much healthier alternative to rice, is the way it absorbs liquid, but retains all the soupiness (is that a word??). So, you definitely want to eat this with a spoon to get all the great sauce.

While not scientific, I estimated the number of calories for this dish at approximately 500. And it was very filling!