Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Kale and Quinoa


While I love to take my time and cook elaborate meals for dinner, this is pretty much impossible during the week these days. My kids do lots of activities/sports that keep us from getting home until late in the evening most nights, so it’s become imperative that meals come together very quickly.

One of ways I simplify meal preparation is by cooking a batch of grains, such as rice or quinoa, every couple of days. Then all I have to do is add some protein and veggies and we’ve got a balanced meal.

I love shrimp and it’s a great source of protein, but I worry about eating it because of sustainability issues; shrimp has been extremely overfished. In addition, shrimp harvesting typically results in a large “by-catch” (meaning other fish and sea creatures, including sea turtles, are destroyed in the harvesting process).

This is why you should try to purchase wild shrimp that are harvested sustainably when you can. Wild-caught pink shrimp from Oregon is one of the best choices; Pacific spot prawns are also good. My favorite online source for these, as well as many other types of wild and certified sustainable fish and seafood, is Vital Choice.

Because my kids prefer pasta over quinoa (go figure), I made a separate batch of fettucine for them to enjoy with the shrimp. For myself, I used black quinoa that I found at my local natural foods store in this dish. Regular or red quinoa can, of course, be used instead. 1/2 pound of shrimp will feed 2 people; scale the recipe up to feed more.

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This post is linked to Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade…make sure to check out the rest of the healthy real food submissions!

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Recipe For Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Kale and Quinoa


For the quinoa:

  • Quinoa is not technically a grain: it's a seed and has a lot of protein and minerals. It is simple to prepare.
  • *1 cup quinoa
  • *1 1/2 cups water
  • *pinch of Himalayan or sea salt

For the garlic shrimp with kale:

  • *1 tablespoon olive oil
  • *1 tablespoon organic butter
  • *2 large garlic cloves peeled and minced (use more if you really like garlic)
  • *1/2 pound wild caught shrimp preferably sustainably harvested
  • *1-2 cups kale chopped fine
  • *1/2 cup tomato sauce preferably organic
  • *juice from 1/2 lemon
  • *pinch or two of red pepper flakes
  • *course sea salt
  • *cooked quinoa or pasta, for serving
  • *fresh parmesan cheese for serving-optional


For the quinoa:

  • Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer (this is important or it will be bitter). Place in an uncovered 1 quart pan with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until all water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to sit in covered pot for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

For the garlic shrimp with kale:

  • 1. In a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy-bottomed pan, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, being careful so it doesn't burn.
  • 2. Add the shrimp and kale and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the shrimp have just turned pink and the kale is cooked through.
  • 3. Add tomato sauce and cook for another minute or so. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  • 4. Serve over quinoa (or pasta), and sprinkle with fresh parmesan, if desired.

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18 thoughts on “Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Kale and Quinoa”

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  2. Your style iis unique in comparison to other people I have
    read stuff from. Thank yyou for osting when you’ve
    got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.

  3. I googled kale and shrimp, and lucky me! Made this tonight & it was absolutely delicious & so speedy! This will be a go-to. Thank you!

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  5. Wow- you saved me tonight. This was so fast to make and so easy. Instead of the red chile flakes I used a Fra Daviolo blend from WildTree (No, I’m not a rep). Yuuuummmmyyy.

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  7. I made this tonight for my husband, who likes neither quinoa nor kale. He really liked both. This was a great, great recipe. Thanks!!! I am putting it in the weekly rotation.

  8. thanks so much, winnie. i love how you write about these issues in your blog (well it IS called healthy green kitchen, after all)..

  9. Hi Shayma,
    Shrimp is very low in fat but does have high cholesterol compared to other fish and seafood. I am of the opinion that dietary cholesterol is not always the reason people have high cholesterol- it’s probably more from overeating high refined carbs/sugars and processed foods. I don’t know about your mom’s diet in general, but I think enjoying them once per week would be ok for her, esp. in a recipe like this where there’s all the other good stuff!

  10. winnie, another beautiful recipe. what about the nutritional value of shrimps? my mum has been told by the doctor that shrimps are very high in cholesterol and she needs to cut her intake (she adores shrimps and ate them almost 2 times per week). i love how you pair the shrimps with kale, it is one of my favourite vegetables. i can never come up with any interesting recipes to use it, though. yours is a keeper.

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  12. Pingback: Fight Back Friday January 8th | Food Renegade
  13. This was great Winnie! And while Will wouldn’t eat the shrimp ( my children have never eaten fish, or any form of chicken, meat etc. I have no idea why) he did like the kale in tomato sauce, I’ll have to make that for him again! Thanks for the recipe