(Hot curried shrimp and quinoa with mango red pepper salsa – recipe in post)
Was your New Year’s resolution to eat bland, boring food? I didn’t think so. If you’re plan is to do away with the calories, just be sure you don’t do away with the FLAVOR.
When it comes to eating healthy, one of the most common misconceptions is that low calorie, low carb, low fat, or vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free foods are automatically good for you. I often joke that if a gluten-free label were slapped onto a carton of eggs, they would sell faster than any other.
While some fats and carbs are less useful to our bodies, many are things we need to function – in balanced, moderate amounts. Complex carbs like sugars found in fruits and vegetables can help to kick start metabolism, and the healthy omega fatty acids in things like fish, avocado, and olive oil are key building blocks that our bodies use and need every day.
I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. The next time you look at the calories in your food, consider this – every calorie comes from somewhere. Every gram of fat contains 9 calories, every gram of protein 4, carbohydrates 4… you get the idea. So after looking at the calorie count, try to determine where those calories are coming from. Is there a lot of fat or sugar in the food, or are many of those calories coming from protein? Not all calories are created equal, and if your food is low calorie chances are it’s also low in nutrition. Alcohols and simple carbs like refined sugars are considered the most nutritionally ’empty’ calories out there, while complete protein and healthy fats are at the other end of the spectrum. If cutting calories is your goal, my suggestion is to find nutritionally dense food – not nutritionally lacking food.
For more of my unsolicited healthy eating advice/ranting, click here.
My goal with this dish was to pack lots of complete protein into one highly flavorful package. You don’t need to limit yourself to egg white omelets to get the protein you need without breaking the calorie bank.
Hot Curried Shrimp
Makes 4 servings
Calories per serving: 280
1 lb. shrimp – peeled and deveined
3/4 cup quinoa
1/2 onion – finely chopped
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp. sriracha or other hot chili garlic paste
1 TBSP curry powder
1/2 TBSP ground cumin
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups water
1 red bell pepper
1 TBSP cilantro/parsley/mint – chopped
Pat shrimp dry with a clean cloth or paper towels and place in a bowl. Toss shrimp with olive oil, sriracha, and a pinch of salt. Add shrimp in batches to the hot pan and cook, without stirring, for one minute. Flip the shrimp to their uncooked side and cook another one minute, then remove from pan and repeat with remaining shrimp. Set aside.
To the hot skillet, add the onion. Let cook 1-2 minutes to develop some color, then add the quinoa and spices. Stir for 30 seconds to toast the spices, then add the water. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until all the water has been absorbed by the quinoa.
While the quinoa cooks, prepare the mango salsa. If you’ve never sliced a mango, the easiest way is to cut off the ‘cheeks’ of the fruit on either side of the wide, narrow pit in the middle. Slice down one side, as close to the middle as possible without hitting the seed. Then hold the ‘cheek’, skin side down in your palm, and run your knife in strips first in one direction, then the other, to make cubes. Try to slice through all the meat, but be careful not to cut through the skin. Once scored, turn the cheek inside out and use your fingers to pop the cubes out. Repeat with the other side of the fruit. (For a step-by-step tutorial on how to cube a mango, check out my post here.)
Dice the charred red pepper, chop the cilantro/parsley/mint, and toss with the mango. Set aside.
Once the quinoa is finished, taste and adjust seasonings and remove from heat.
Add shrimp to the pan and serve, with salsa on the side or mixed in.