On the days when my to-do list is the longest, I’m extra grateful for an easy, healthy dinner recipe like this Healthy Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa.
Busy days call for meals with quick prep, simple ingredients, and major crowd-pleasing abilities.
It’s even better when those meals are also nutritious, filling, and completely delicious.
This healthy garlic shrimp recipe checks all the boxes and is here to help keep the stress down and good habits up.
- ONE PAN. Everything cooks in the same skillet, including the quinoa. Fewer dishes = happy chef.
- Quick and Easy. This simple shrimp dish is ready in 30 minutes.
- Protein-Packed. Thanks to the quinoa (which is both a complete protein and a whole grain) and shrimp (a lean source of protein), this meal is ultra satisfying.
Don’t be fooled by the short ingredient line up or straight-forward prep.
Like another one of my favorite garlic shrimp dishes, Garlic Shrimp Pasta, this healthy shrimp recipe is a true master in the art of less is more.
A touch of chili powder and cayenne give the recipe zest, lemon juice keeps it fresh, and as the name suggests, a generous handful of fresh garlic brings the recipe to life.
How to Make Healthy Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa
This garlic shrimp with quinoa was inspired by the classic flavors of shrimp scampi (which have also inspired other healthy shrimp and vegetable recipes like this Healthy Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles). I made a few important swaps to lighten the recipe and make it more satisfying.
The garlic, lemon, and parsley classic to scampi are here to stay, but I replaced the butter with olive oil and omitted the pasta in favor of quinoa to help make this a more low-calorie shrimp recipe`.
- Shrimp. Shrimp is healthy to eat as part of a balanced diet, cooks quickly, and tastes incredible with the other flavors in this dish. For easy prep, you’ll want to use raw, tail-on shrimp that’s been peeled and deveined. Shrimp are low in calories, so they can be good for you if you are trying to lose weight (always consult with your doctor).
Thanks to their versatility and ease, you can do so much with fresh shrimp (like make Healthy Shrimp Pad Thai, Shrimp Kabobs with Pineapple, or Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos). Check out all these healthy shrimp recipes for even more ideas.
Ensuring you select the best healthy shrimp can be challenging.
- Since I don’t have easy access to fresh shrimp (even the “fresh” shrimp sold in the seafood case was usually frozen first then thawed), I use frozen shrimp that are peeled and deveined.
- If you want to use frozen, you can buy healthy shrimp by looking for brands that use little to no preservatives.
- If you’re selecting your shrimp from the seafood counter, make sure to ask if and when they were thawed so you know how quickly to eat them.
- Quinoa. I am unabashed in my love of quinoa. This powerhouse grain is high in protein (7 grams per serving), contains essential amino acids, and is gluten free. Unlike many whole grains, quinoa cooks quickly (we’re talking 20 minutes), and best of all, it’s delicious.
For all of these reasons, quinoa is one of the most-used ingredients in my pantry (just check out all these quinoa recipes).
I’ve tried a number of brands over the years, and my consistent favorite is Bob’s Red Mill. I find that it has the best texture (other brands I’ve tried become mushy) and most pleasant flavor. I also value the intense focus Bob’s Red Mill places on sourcing and processing its ingredients in order to produce the highest quality, most nutrient-dense products possible.
- Chili Powder + Cayenne. Spices that give the dish depth and pop. If you’re a fan of healthy spicy shrimp recipes, you could add an extra dash of cayenne for more heat. Be sure to check out this Spicy Shrimp Pasta also.
- Onion + Garlic. Garlic is one of the best flavors with shrimp (just ask this Garlic Butter Shrimp), and the onion helps to add depth and complexity.
- Lemon Juice + Zest. A delicious finishing touch that brightens up all the other flavors.
- Sauté the shrimp with salt and chili powder.
- Sauté the onion and garlic. Add the quinoa and remaining spices, stirring to combine. Pour in the stock, and bring everything to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cooking until the quinoa is tender.
- Stir in the lemon zest, juice, and parsley. Add the shrimp. DIG IN!
How to Store and Reheat Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa
- To Store. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat leftovers in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or very gently in the microwave. I also like to squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top.
- To Freeze. Freeze garlic shrimp with quinoa in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. The texture of the shrimp may change once thawed, but it should still have great flavor.
What to Serve with Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa
- Vegetables. Quinoa with shrimp and vegetables would be a delicious meal. For shrimp quinoa with zucchini, try this Roasted Zucchini, and for shrimp quinoa with broccoli, try this Roasted Frozen Broccoli.
- Salad. A shrimp quinoa salad combo would be tasty. Try a light, simple salad like this Arugula Salad.
- Bread. Bread always tastes good with shrimp recipes like this. Grab a crusty loaf from your local bakery, or give this Rosemary Olive Oil Bread a try.
More of the Best Shrimp Recipes for Dinner
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Nonstick Skillet. A set that will last you for years to come.
- Citrus Juicer. Easy to use and helps keep the seeds from falling into your food.
- Measuring Spoons. With two sides, these measuring spoons are a breeze to clean and store.
Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 pound raw tail-on shrimp 26–30 count, peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder divided
- 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion about half of 1 small onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 large lemon
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley plus additional for serving
- In a large nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium high.
- Add the shrimp, then sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon chili powder. Sauté just until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Immediately remove the shrimp to a plate so they do not overcook.
- Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in the same skillet, then add the onion. Let cook until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the quinoa, cayenne, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon chili powder. Stir to coat the quinoa with the oil and let brown for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken stock, then increase the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer until the quinoa is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
- Zest the lemon directly into the pan, then juice the lemon and add the lemon juice and parsley to the skillet as well. Toss to combine, then top with the reserved shrimp. Sprinkle with additional fresh parsley. Serve warm.
- TO STORE. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT. Gently reheat leftovers in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or very gently in the microwave. I also like to squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top.
- TO FREEZE. Freeze garlic shrimp with quinoa in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. The texture of the shrimp may change once thawed, but it should still have great flavor.
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