Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Alright, I have a confession.  Are you guys ready for it?  I splurged…big time.  I purchased my first, official pair of running shoes!  I tried to play it cool and wear my Nike Outlet and Nordstrom Rack Nikes while training for my first marathon.  I tried to convince myself that I did not need to walk into the new Brooks store (conveniently located off the running path…hello marketing genius).  But this Sunday, after a trip to the Fremont Sunday Market and Fremont Brewery (oops) I did the deed.

And I do not regret my decision one bit!  The sales associate was awesome and analyzed my gait and provided me with a few options.  I am so excited to continue my marathon training with my new shoes.  Also, SHOUT OUT to all the Boston Marathon Participants out there.  You are my inspiration.  Don’t worry seasoned vets, I will test drive my new kicks before I run my 17 mile long run on Saturday.  Mentally already exhausted.  But I get such a thrill running, especially with all the PNW beauty, that my running days are my favorite work out days :)

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Another healthy obsession of mine is Thai food.  Seriously, Thai recipes seem overwhelming, but really they require you to have the same key spices/ingredients on hand and then it all comes down to the balance of flavors.  Spring rolls are a great recipe to have in your culinary tool box for entertaining, using up veggies, or quick meals.  Honestly, you can combine a variety of proteins or veggies and if you dip it in peanut sauce…it’s going to taste AMAZING.  Hello happy taste buds and belly.  I decided to use spinach and quinoa in this variation since I had both on hand in the fridge.  But next time who knows what I’ll find in the kitchen and in my spring roll.

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Let me know what you love to put in your spring rolls and what your favorite running shoes are?!?!

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 rolls

The Players: 

For the shrimp: 
24 large shrimp, peeled
1 t brown sugar
1 t chili paste
1 t sesame oil
1/2 t fish sauce

For the spring rolls: 
8 medium-size spring roll wrappers
1 C cooked red quinoa
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
2 C baby spinach
1/3 C fresh cilantro leaves (alternatively use thai basil)

For the peanut dipping sauce
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
1 T coconut cream (alternatively use 2 T light coconut milk in place of coconut cream and water)
2 T water
1 t brown sugar (if desiring sweeter sauce)
1 t fish sauce (alternatively use soy sauce)
2 t chili paste (use less if sensitive to spice)
1/2 t sesame oil

The Rules: 

  1. Place all ingredients for the shrimp marinade in a mixing bowl and coat shrimp.  Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. While the shrimp is marinating, prepare the veggies, and cook quinoa according to package instructions.  Set veggies aside and allow quinoa to cool.  (Note: I prepare quinoa in a large batch for the week and keep it refrigerated for later use)
  3. In a microwave safe dish, combine ingredients for peanut dipping sauce and microwave for 30 seconds.  Whisk until well-incorporated.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Set aside. (Note: For a thicker dipping sauce, use 1 tbsp water; for a thinner sauce use 2 tbsp water)
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with non-stick cooking spray.  Cook shrimp 2 minutes per side, until pink.  Remove from heat.
  5. Pour simmering water into a large pan or bowl.  Place the spring roll wrapper in the water and rotate until moistened.  Lay the wrapper on a damp, clean work surface.
  6. In the center of the spring roll wrapper layer spinach, quinoa, carrots, red bell peppers, shrimp, and cilantro.  Roll up like a burrito, tucking ends in, and set aside.  Repeat step 5 and 6 for remaining 7 spring rolls.  (Note: I used 3 shrimp per spring roll)
  7. Serve spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce.  Store extra spring rolls in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

A twist on a thai favorite.

Thai food is one of my favorite take-outs.  The spices and flavors are complex and each bite makes me want to travel to the markets of Thailand and explore local cuisine.  Andrew’s dad is a pilot and he is fortunate enough to travel internationally for a living–I know, unfair, makes you want to quit your day job.  He is based out of Seattle and we are lucky enough to have him stop by when he is in town.  I enjoy cooking for him when he passes through since he lives out of hotels when he is traveling to these amazing destinations overseas.

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

 

Pictured above are the veggies as they sauté, I wanted to provide a visual reference for how I cut the produce. 

So what did I make for the man that spends a lot of time in Asia?  I took the risk of making this healthier twist on pad thai.  Spaghetti squash is an amazing substitute for noodles and it keeps this dish light.  You can also substitute whatever veggies you have on hand.  I tried to find bean sprouts at the local grocery stores and had no luck,  but they are a great addition to the dish if you run across them.

For the sauce, ideally you can find tamarind pulp (an Asian fruit–sweet and sour taste).  However, the sauce below does the trick!  Or feel free to use store bough pad thai sauce if you want even less fuss!

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Teek wanted a bite out of Tuesday’s dinner.  We also made home-made, baked crab rangoons–recipe for another day. 

If you are not excited about the spaghetti squash idea, make this recipe with traditional rice noodles.  The flavor will still shine!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players:

1 spaghetti squash
1 chicken breast
20 large raw shrimp, peeled
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 C sliced crimini mushrooms
1 red pepper sliced
1/2 C baby carrots, sliced in half
1/2 C bean sprouts (optional)
3 eggs
2 green onions, sliced
2 T Sesame or peanut oil
1/3 C dry roasted peanuts, chopped (for garnish)
1 lime, sliced in wedges (for garnish)

For the Sauce:
2 T low sodium soy sauce
2 T fish sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
3-4 T sugar
2 t sriracha

The Rules:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F and line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice the spaghetti squash in half, length-wise.  With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and guts of the squash.  Drizzle the inside  with extra virgin olive oil and place on baking sheet with inside facing down.  Roast for ~30 minutes until tender(up to 40 minutes).  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Then scrape along the sides, using a fork to form “spaghetti” with the squash–set aside. (NOTE: You can make the squash a day in advance and refrigerate)
  3. While the squash is baking, combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl–set aside.  Also, add 3 eggs to a separate small bowl and scramble with a fork –set aside.
  4. When there are only 10 minutes left of bake time for the squash: In a extra-large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the sesame oil to the pan and cook onion, pepper, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic until the onion is translucent ~5-7 minutes.
  5. While the veggies are cooking, prepare the chicken by trimming any fat then cutting the meat into1-inch cubes.  Add shrimp and chicken to the veggies  and continue to cook until protein is cooked through (5-10 minutes).
  6. Add spaghetti squash to veggies and protein and mix well until combined. Move ingredients over to one side of skillet to make room for the eggs.
  7.  Add the 3 eggs you previously scrambled to the sauté pan, allow to cook (~3 minutes). Once egg is cooked mix in well with pad thai ingredients.
  8. Next add the sauce and green onions to the pad thai and stir to combine.  Remove pan from heat.
  9. Serve with crushed peanuts sprinkled on top and lime wedges on the side.