Grilled Shrimp with Quinoa

Cristin Wipfler of Compleat Nutrition cooks up this nutrient-rich recipe.

By Katie Bowles

Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Quinoa Salad
Photo by Marysckin/

Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Quinoa Salad

Prep time: 28 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes

 Cristin Wipfler, MPH, RD of Compleat Nutrition, LLC in Middleburg adapted this zesty recipe by Sidney Fry from the June 2013 issue of Cooking Light Magazine. Wipfler recommends this as a healthy alternative to more fatty protein-based dinners: “Quinoa is a whole grain and an excellent protein source because it is one of the few plant proteins that is considered to be complete, as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is also a good source of fiber, iron and unsaturated fatty acids.  The shrimp and the chickpeas in the meal provide additional protein, while the avocado and olive oil add monounsaturated fats. This is a delicious, light and colorful dish, perfect for a spring lunch or dinner.”   

Wipfler, a mother to an almost-3-year-old, also suggests preparing the shrimp differently to make prep time faster and tone down the spiciness of the dish for young taste buds: “In place of Step Two, we heat toasted sesame oil and sauté the shrimp until pink, then add a broth mixture (brought to a boil) of low-sodium vegetable broth, a little brown sugar, and fish sauce.  After adding the sauce to the shrimp, we let that sit for a few minutes to absorb the flavors (until the quinoa is cooked).”  

 Makes 4 servings


-¼ cup fresh lime juice, divided
-10 teaspoons olive oil, divided
-2 teaspoons chili powder
-1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
-¼ teaspoon black pepper
-¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
-1/8 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
-4 garlic cloves, chopped and divided
-24 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined (about 1 pound)
-¾ cup uncooked quinoa
-½ cup chopped onion
-1 cup water
-½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
-½ teaspoon honey
-1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
-½ cup canned organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-½ cup diced, peeled avocado
-1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
-cooking spray
-¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


Preheat grill to high heat.
Combine two tablespoons lime juice, one tablespoon olive oil, chili powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, black pepper, hot sauce, paprika and two garlic cloves in a medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss well. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.
Rinse and drain quinoa. Heat one teaspoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté three minutes. Add remaining 2 garlic cloves and quinoa; cook two minutes, stirring constantly. Add one cup water; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 13 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool. Combine remaining two tablespoons lime juice, remaining two tablespoons olive oil, remaining ½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon salt and honey in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add quinoa mixture, tomatoes, chickpeas, avocado and cheese; toss gently.
Remove shrimp from bowl; discard marinade. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Thread three shrimp onto each of eight (six-inch) skewers. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill two minutes on each side or until done.
Divide quinoa mixture evenly among four plates. Top each serving with two skewers. Garnish with cilantro.

Nutritional Information per Serving

-Calories: 392
-Fat: 17.2g (3.1g sat, 9.4g mono, 2.8g poly)
-Protein: 24.2g
-Carb: 36.4g
-Fiber: 6.3g
-Cholesterol: 149mg
-Iron: 2.8mg
-Sodium: 526mg
-Calcium: 151mg