Garlic Shrimp and Quinoa
This healthy, flavorful garlic shrimp and quinoa recipe is easy to prepare in just 30 minutes, making it a fantastic choice for a quick weeknight dinner or any special occasion.
Try it with a side of roasted vegetables or a salad for a complete and delicious meal!
Shrimp is a popular choice for quick weeknight dinners because it cooks quickly and can take on different flavors. We use it in many dishes, from garlic shrimp with zucchini noodles to spicy shrimp tacos, and of course, garlic shrimp and quinoa.
This recipe is perfect for those busy weeknights when you want something that’s both delicious and nutritious without spending hours in the kitchen. It comes together in just 30 minutes and only requires minimal ingredients and effort.
Why you’ll love this garlic shrimp recipe
- Quick and easy: ready in just 30 minutes, or even less if you have pre-cooked quinoa on hand.
- Great for meal prep: ideal for planning ahead; make a batch on the weekend and enjoy it throughout the week.
- Versatile: easily customizable to suit your tastes or dietary needs. Feel free to add different vegetables for extra color and nutrition (bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, green beans, etc.) or switch out the shrimp for chicken or tofu.
- Healthy and nutritious: thanks to the quinoa (high in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients) and shrimp (a lean source of protein), this meal is satisfying and filling. It’s also naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, making it an ideal option for guests with dietary restrictions.
Ingredients & substitutions
Here are some helpful notes about the ingredients for this healthy meal:
- Shrimp: for easy prep, you’ll want to buy raw, tail-off, peeled, and deveined shrimp. If using frozen shrimp, thaw them completely in the refrigerator and pat them dry with paper towels before cooking. You can substitute the shrimp with scallops, chicken, tofu, or black beans for a vegetarian option.
- Quinoa: any type will work, but white or tri-color quinoa complements the garlic and shrimp with its milder flavor. Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a fine-mesh strainer to remove its natural coating and bitter taste. Feel free to use any grain you prefer, such as rice, barley, farro, or couscous.
- Oil: use olive oil for the recipe, or opt for butter to create a garlic butter shrimp variation.
- Garlic: adjust the amount of fresh minced garlic according to your preference. If you’re not a fan of garlic, leave it out or use garlic powder instead.
- Chili powder: customize the spiciness level by increasing or decreasing the amount of chili powder.
- Vegetable stock: I used 1 teaspoon of my homemade vegetable stock powder. If you don’t have vegetable stock on hand, you can use chicken broth or water.
- Lemon juice: freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a bright and refreshing flavor to the dish. Avoid bottled lemon juice.
- Fresh parsley: this is optional and serves as a garnish. Feel free to omit it.
See the recipe card below for a detailed ingredient list and step-by-step instructions.
How to make this garlic shrimp with quinoa
Make-ahead & storage instructions
To store: refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 3–4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.
Make-ahead: perfect for meal prep; store quinoa and shrimp separately, then reheat and combine when ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s recommended to buy raw, tail-off shrimp that’s been peeled and deveined.
Shrimp becomes rubbery when it is overcooked. To prevent this, cook the shrimp just until it turns pink and opaque and curls into a “C” shape. This usually takes only a few minutes.
Absolutely! You can create a vegetarian version by omitting the shrimp and adding vegetables or protein alternatives like tofu or black beans.
This dish does have a bit of spiciness to it due to the addition of chili powder. However, you can adjust the amount of chili powder to your liking.
Have you tried this healthy shrimp and quinoa recipe yet? Share your feedback or variations in the comments below. If you have any questions, feel free to ask—we’re here to help!
How To Make It: Garlic Shrimp and Quinoa
For the quinoa:
- ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ small onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup (190 g) uncooked quinoa
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (475 ml) low-sodium vegetable stock
For the shrimp:
- ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb (450 g) raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
You will also need:
- fresh parsley finely chopped
- the juice of half a lemon
- In a medium pan, heat the olive oil, then add the onion and cook until it softens slightly, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the quinoa, chili powder, and salt.
- Sautee for 1 minute, then add the broth.
- Bring it to a boil, uncovered. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pan, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the water is fully absorbed and the quinoa is cooked and tender.
- Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
- 15 minutes in, start cooking the shrimp. Heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the shrimp and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt and a ¼ teaspoon of chili powder. Sautee until no longer translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Combine and serve
- Mix the quinoa and shrimp together, drizzle with lemon juice, and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.
- Shrimp: opt for raw, tail-off, peeled, and deveined shrimp. You can use either fresh or frozen shrimp. If using frozen shrimp, be sure to thaw them completely in the fridge before starting the recipe. Substitute with scallops, chicken, tofu, or black beans for a vegetarian option.
- Quinoa: any type works or can be replaced with your preferred grain, like rice, barley, farro, or couscous.
- Garlic: adjust the amount of fresh minced garlic based on your preferences.
- Chili Powder: increase or decrease the amount of chili powder to adjust the spiciness level to your liking.
- Extra veggies: You can add other vegetables to this dish, such as bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, or green beans.
- Storage: leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.
- Make-ahead: store the cooked quinoa and shrimp in separate, airtight containers in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, simply reheat the quinoa and shrimp separately and then combine them.
- Scaling the recipe: adjust the recipe to make more or less by simply modifying the serving size on the recipe card. The ingredient amounts will adjust automatically, making it easy to double or triple the recipe as needed.