Well, I am happy to report that I am slowly recovering from surgery. Yes, I had major surgery 12 days ago! The week before surgery I spent most of my time preparing meals for the freezer and prepping the house for an extended ‘down’ time. I believe that I have finally made it through the worst of it and will start to reap the ‘rebound’ rewards from my well-planned recovery diet. Yes, that is right, I have been very careful to maximize every morsel entering my body to provide me with all that I need to heal quickly. I can fill you in on the details in another post if you are so interested, but that is not what this post is about. Today I am excited to tell you about my first home cooked meal in almost two weeks!
So my ‘first meal’ criteria was pretty simple and probably fairly obvious considering my introduction with this post. Here were the requirements:
1. lots of color
2. super simple
3. flavor explosion
4. dense with micronutrients
So, I armed Andy with a short grocery list and got ready for a fun evening in the kitchen! I whipped up a beautiful Shrimp Couscous Salad in no time flat and without stressing my body with labor intensive prep work. I must say, it was fantastic! About half way through the meal Andy suggested we put this dish on HEAVY rotation at 488. Man, was I happy to be back in the kitchen and back on my game! I promise this simple and healthful dish will be a crowd pleaser at your house too! As you enjoy this dish think about how good it feels to treat your body with the love and respect it deserves!
Colorful and flavorful shrimp and couscous salad
2 c plain couscous or 1 c quinoa
3 c water (reserve about 2 cups of the shrimp stock from your shrimp boil for the couscous or quinoa)
1-1 1/2# uncooked colossal shrimp (16-20 shrimp)–frozen is just fine and you do not need to thaw them
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 c EVOO (depending upon your taste)
1 T minced garlic
2 t ground cumin
2 t chipotle pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
1 t dijon or brown mustard
2 t + kosher salt
3/4 c diced cucumber
1 c diced red bell pepper
1 c chopped cilantro
3/4 c diced tomato (about 2 medium tomatoes)
1 avocado, chopped
zest from 1 lemon or lime
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
In a medium size pot add the 3 c water, kosher salt and a t of chipotle pepper flakes and cook over high heat until it boils. Add the shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes, until done. Remove the shrimp set to the side to cool–peel the shrimp once it is cool and set aside. Bring the water back to a boil and add the couscous. If you prefer, leave the crustaceans OUT and heat 2 cups of seasoned water for the couscous! To avoid sticky pasta, add a dash of EVOO to the pot! Turn off the heat and put a lid on the pot and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, mix the red wine vinegar, EVOO, hot pepper, garlic, cumin, sea salt, ground black pepper, and dijon mustard together and set aside.
Put the couscous in a large serving bowl. Add the chopped veggies and shrimp and either stir or put the lid on your bowl and shake well! Taste the dish and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish each bowl with a generous bit of lemon zest or just mix it in with the veggies. Serve the beautiful salad on its own or with a big chunk of gluten free bread!