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.

Healthy garlic shrimp with quinoa in a nonstick skillet

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.

Easy garlic shrimp with quinoa in a skillet

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`.

The Ingredients

  • 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.

Lemon garlic shrimp with quinoa in a skillet

  • 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.

Adding Flavor

  • 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.

The Directions

  1. Sauté the shrimp with salt and chili powder.
  2. 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.
  3. Stir in the lemon zest, juice, and parsley. Add the shrimp. DIG IN!

A skillet of quinoa, shrimp, and lemons

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

Healthy lemon garlic shrimp with quinoa in a skillet

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.
Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa — Quick, easy, and healthy! Shrimp sautéed with lemon and garlic, and everything cooks in ONE PAN, even the quinoa. {gluten free and dairy free} Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa

5 from 47 votes
Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa—Easy, quick, and delicious! Healthy recipe with fresh lemon and garlic. Not too spicy with lots of flavor.

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 30 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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 Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley plus additional for serving

Instructions
 

  • 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 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 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 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 343kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 32gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 286mgPotassium: 514mgFiber: 4gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 379IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 207mgIron: 5mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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Recipe Rating




112 Comments

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  1. This looks so lemony, fresh, and tasty. I really love quinoa but my boys are a little more apprehensive. I think I’ll try this and maybe they will get on the quinoa bandwagon :)

  2. Wonderful, I love quinoa. And I love you how combined ingredients that are quick to cook. So you end up with quick and healthy dish (:5 stars

  3. Nothing makes monday better than simple , tasty dinners with minimal clean-up!  This shrimp with quinoa looks and sounds insanely good!  I LOVE shrimp!

  4. I’ve never cooked quinoa before but I’ve seen recipes where you’re supposed to rinse it first, is it the same for this recipe and brand or does it go by the brand?

    1. Hi Dawanna, great question! I find the need to rinse really varies by brand. For example, Bob’s Red Mill does not have any issues with bitter taste, so I never rinse. That’s the only brand I regularly use, so I can’t advise on others. If you’d like to play it safe, you can always rinse first!

  5. Keen on quinoa, you have found your inner genius Erin. Thank you for this one. Also, I agree on Bob’s high quality products.

    1. Hi Barrie, bite-size pieces of chicken works well too! It would just take a little longer to cook than the shrimp. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  6. My husband made this for us for our Valentine’s Day dinner. It was Delicious! It had so much flavor and just the right amount of spice! We didn’t have any quinoa in the house so he just used a box of Near East quinoa blend and tossed the spice packet.  Defiantly a keeper and one we will make again. Thanks!5 stars

    1. That sounds delicious, Christie! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe for a special meal. Thank you so much for leaving this wonderful comment!

  7. I want to make this!  Question, what does zest the lemon mean.  I think of it as grating off the outside rind, bit I see slices of lemon in the picture.  Do you mean to thinly slice the lemon?  Just not getting what to do with the whole lemon.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Katherine, you’re correct that zesting a lemon is grating off the outside rind! I used lemon slices for garnish to show that the recipe has a lemon flavor, but you can squeeze additional juice on the dish if you’d like!

  8. Oh my goodness, I just happened to see this recipe while looking for something else. I made it on a whim; and boy was I glad that I did. It was scrumptious! I am a lemon lover, which made it all the more delectable. I could not stop eating it and  ,immediately, sent the recipe to my friends and family.  I must  say that I do not like food that is too spicy or hot, so I refrained from using the chili powder as suggested. The cayenne pepper was just the right amount of heat for me and mine.  I also cut the amount of parley in half.

    I could hardly wait to reach home today in order to eat the remaining portion- and I am not going to share. 
    I am , definity, going to prepare this dish again. I plan to make it a staple amongst my seafood dishes.

    P.S. 
    A nice glass of Chardonnay complimented this dish perfectly.5 stars

    1. Judith, this is so wonderful to hear! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the recipe, and I hope the others you shared it with will too. I truly appreciate your taking the time to leave this lovely review, and it makes my day to know the recipe was a hit for you!

    1. Hi Shea, yes, you can start with frozen raw shrimp! Just be sure to thaw them safely before proceeding with the recipe. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  9. I made this recipe and it turned out delicious however I tweaked it just a little bit. I used orzo pasta and added asparagus and it was delicious. Thank you5 stars

    1. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this, Stephanie! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this nice review!

    1. Hi Joanne! Since this is a stovetop vs. oven dish, I would recommend that you make the whole thing all the way through, then reheat it gently in the microwave. The shrimp might get a little dry, so you could even try undercooking them a bit so that they are fully cooked and a better texture when reheated. I hope that helps!

      1. I made it yesterday, it was absolutely delicious. I cannot wait to make it again! I might even try it with chicken as another option. Thanks!
        I added 1/2 cup shredded spinach leaves and 1/2 of a red bell pepper while frying the onions to add some vegetables.5 stars

  10. Loved this recipe. Didn’t have chicken broth so just added water, was still amazing! My husband even said it’s the first quinoa recipe he’s liked!! yay! Next time I would sautee some more veggies in a separate pan and add them on top. Otherwise awesome! The lemon zest just makes it pop!5 stars

    1. Danielle, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for taking the time to write this review and share your feedback!

  11. Looks delicious. I have two questions
    1. I dont have cayenne powder, what can i replace it with?
    2. How long can this last in the fridge?

    1. Hi Amira, you can omit the cayenne powder entirely or add a shake or two of red pepper flakes for a little spice. The dish will probably last a day or two in the fridge, but I hesitate to recommend it because shrimp tends to become rubbery and overcooked when reheated. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

    1. Brittany, I have never used the boil in a bag, so I’m honestly not sure! As long as it is regular, uncooked quinoa, if you measure it out it should be fine.

  12. Made this recipe tonight but added a package of frozen stir-fry veggies when I added the quinoa and chicken broth. I am all about one dish meals that I can make and then freeze in single serving containers. Delicious!!5 stars

    1. YAY Lynnell, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to share this review and your tweaks!

  13. Made for dinner tonight. This was my first time cooking quinoa, so I was a little nervous…came out perfect, and was a big hit with husband and kids. Thank you Erin!5 stars

    1. Jonnell, thank you so much for giving it a try and taking the time to come back and leave a review! I’m so glad it was a success!

  14. Made this a few weeks ago. What a wonderful taste sensation! This dish has the perfect balance of taste, texture and ease of preparation. I did substitute some Italian seasonings for the parsley and liked the subtle flavors they added. I am visiting friends and plan on cooking it for them. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! 5 stars

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Steve! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your tweaks and leave this awesome review!

    1. Monica, I’m so glad to hear the dish was a hit! Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and reporting back.

  15. I would like to prepare on Saturday and take to church dinner Sunday. Wouldn’t it be good cold like a salad also?

    1. You know, I’ve never tried this cold! You could maybe make it, then taste it to see how you like it cold. If you do, then you’ll know that it’s a good way to serve it. If not, you’ll have dinner ready for the week :)

  16. I had gastric bypass a year and a half ago and am always looking for new, healthy recipes to help continue to stay on track. This was easy to make and very flavorful. Even got a thumbs up from my picky husband. Thank you so much!5 stars

  17. I know this is an old recipe, but I love it so much! Made it just this week with celery added at the time of the onions for some more color and veggies. It was a wonderful lemon and garlic flavor, and the cayenne and chili powder add a perfect amount of heat. Thank you for posting! I will be trying it again next week with chicken instead of shrimp.5 stars

  18. This was quick, healthy, filling, AND delicious! The lemon really brings it to life. Thank you for the recipe, it will be on regular rotation in my house.5 stars

  19. We loved this dish! I added a bag of spinach and sauteed it down before I added the quinoa, and I added toasted pine nuts at the end for a little crunch, but it was easy and delish! And clean up was easy. Thank you!5 stars

  20. I’ve made this before and LOVE it. So much flavor. But I’m curious about the calories per serving and how you calculated only 218. When I calculate it I get 327 per serving. 5 stars

    1. Hi Marcy! The nutrition info is just an estimate, and it will vary according to ingredients and brands used. If exact numbers are important, I recommend calculating it yourself with the specific brands you use, and it sounds like you’ve already done exactly that! I’m so glad you love the recipe.

    1. Hello! I don’t have an exact measurement, but it would be about 1 cup quinoa and a quarter of the amount of shrimp shrimp. I hope that helps!

    1. Hi Stephynie! I find the need to rinse really varies by brand. For example, Bob’s Red Mill does not have any issues with bitter taste, so I never rinse. That’s the only brand I regularly use, so I can’t advise on others. If you’d like to play it safe, you can always rinse first!

  21. 1 tsp of salt made it way too salty and even though I put less chili powder and cayenne than called for, flavor really overpowered shrimp and quinoa.

    1. Hi Sandra, I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy this dish. I know how frustrating it can be to try a new recipe and not have it work out, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed it! If you try this again, you could experiment with less seasoning. I hope this helps!

  22. Absolutely love this recipe. It’s one of my favorite because it’s simple yet so tasty. I didn’t use as much salt because I knew the lemon zest and lemon juice would give it a lot of flavor already. 5 stars

  23. I love it!! The ingredients are simple, not expensive or exotic. I usually have all of the ingredients at home. No need to shop in advance. Very tasty, satisfying and fresh dish. Practical too. Thank you chef!!!!! :)5 stars

  24. Thank you for this recipe! It is healthy, delicious, easy, and made with ingredients readily available in our kitchen. I followed the recipe almost exactly, just omitting the cayenne.  It is one  of the best quinoa dishes I’ve had. 5 stars

  25. I made this for mealprepped lunches this week and IT WAS SO GOOD. Warmed up OK and wasn’t overly smelly in the office either. But I love the lemon with the chili powder – the right amount of acid and heat. I’ll be making this again!5 stars

  26. Dude. This was the easiest, most tasty, awesome recipe I’ve made. I’ve never had quinoa taste so good. And paired with the shrimp, man this was good!! Thanks for this recipe!!!5 stars

  27. I accidentally cooked the quinoa first so had to wing the rest of the recipe. Instead of using chicken broth I used just a bit of water (since the quinoa was already cooked) and a 1 TBS of Better Than Bouillon  chicken flavor. I also used frozen cooked shrimp. I thawed under cold water in a strainer and still cooked briefly with the chili pepper and olive oil in the first step. I omitted the cayenne pepper since that’s not my jam. This was dang tasty and will definitely make again. Can’t wait to check out other gluten free recipes!5 stars

  28. Wow! That was delicious! I made this recipe for diner and it was a hit with everyone, even my 3 year old. 

    Thank you!5 stars

  29. Your recipe is awesome. I thought I would make it at lunch because my family used to eat vegetables for dinner. I will try to cook your recipe.5 stars

  30. This recipe of yours caught my eye because of the ingredients of quinoa and shrimp. I’ll be making this soon! Thanks for the idea.

  31. I made your garlic shrimp quinoa for dinner yesterday and I have to tell you it was spectacular! The only thing I did different is I used up the entire bag of shrimp, 1 1/2 lbs, and every mouthful was incredible. Thank you for this recipe. I always can count on you for great meals.5 stars

  32. I make this recipe for dinner once every 2-3 weeks. Our household LOVES lemon, so we add the zest and juice of 2 lemons. 
    But with or without the extra lemon, this recipe is amazing. It’s healthy, delicious, and takes under 30 minutes from start to clean up! What more can you ask for. 5 stars

  33. I made this last night and it was hands down one of the best meals I’ve made in a long time. Even my 13 month couldn’t get enough! She loved it! 5 stars

  34. I’m 14 and i cooked this as a birthday dinner for mom as well as the baked zucchini! They were actually so great, and the recipe was easy to follow. This dish had a lot of flavor, I was pleasantly surprised! Thank you!!5 stars

  35. Simple and quick, my only change was to double the onion (I like onion). Next time I’ll make the shrimp in a separate pan when the quinoa is almost ready – even though I like the idea of one pan to clean up, I just wonder if that would help the shrimp to not overcook but stay hot when served?5 stars

  36. OH MY GOODNESS!!! so so delicious and  yet simple. I followed the recipe with no edits. Came out great. Lemon and parsley really bring the dish together. (I tried the quinoa when it was done and  was a bit bummed out cause it tasted rather boring on its own). But the end result was just WOW. very light but filling and tasted amazing. 5 stars