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Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

June 4, 2013

This Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Shrimp makes a heart-healthy lunch or dinner recipe full of flavor from smoky grilled corn, chili-lime dressing and zesty lemon-garlic shrimp! It’s also packed-full of whole-grain fibre, protein and vegetables!

Cilantro, love it or hate it? Personally, I hate it. Well hate is a strong word. I’ve trained myself to eat it when I either a) forgot to ask a restaurant to leave it out or b) have no choice in the matter. But if given the choice I will kindly ask for it to be left out. People with cilantro-aversion oftentimes dislike parsley as well. In fact cilantro is sometimes referred to as Chinese parsley. Fortunately I don’t seem to have a problem with parsley.

Cilantro is used in many cuisines but is a real staple in Mexican and Southwestern cooking. Now I looooove both of these types of food but could really do without the tradition of sprinkling of cilantro on everything! At the same time there are so many people who can’t get enough of this herb. They describe it as citrusy and refreshing whereas all I can taste is perfume…So it got me thinking, why is the taste of cilantro so polarizing?

This Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp makes a heart-healthy lunch or dinner recipe full of flavor from smoky grilled corn, chili-lime dressing and zesty lemon-garlic shrimp! It's also packed-full of whole-grain fibre, protein and vegetables!

Supposedly your preference or distaste for cilantro is partially dependent on your genes.  In a genetics study of 527 sets of twins, who were also asked their opinions on cilantro, researchers were able to identify 3 genes that influence our perception of cilantro. Two of these genes are involved in tasting bitter foods and one in detecting pungent foods. Apparently these genes are not necessarily strong enough to entirely account for your opinion on cilantro and that cilantro-aversion can actually be overcome based on your environment or culture.

But for the record, Julia Child hated cilantro and you don’t mess with the queen of cooking….just sayin’! If you’re a serious cilantrophobe you should probably join the anti-cilantro community on this site: http://www.ihatecilantro.com HILARIOUS!

This Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp makes a heart-healthy lunch or dinner recipe full of flavor from smoky grilled corn, chili-lime dressing and zesty lemon-garlic shrimp! It's also packed-full of whole-grain fibre, protein and vegetables!

All of this cilantro pondering occurred while making this delicious dinner recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Garlic Lemon Shrimp. I knew to keep it more traditional I probably should have used cilantro but clearly this just wasn’t a possibility. Fortunately parsley does the trick for me but if you’re a real cilantro-lover feel free to sub it in. Also don’t hesitate to substitute some or all of the corn with black-beans, or even use both. This salad is extremely customizable. I would even recommend making the shrimp on its own if you’re not feeling the rest of the salad. If you do make any changes leave a comment to let me know how it was!

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Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Lemon Garlic Shrimp

This Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Shrimp makes a heart-healthy lunch or dinner recipe full of flavor from smoky grilled corn, chili-lime dressing and zesty lemon-garlic shrimp! It’s also packed-full of whole-grain fibre, protein and vegetables!

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

For the shrimp:

  • 1 lb shrimp, raw and peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the corn:

  • 2 ears of corn on the cob
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, sprinkle of each

For the salad:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (cooked in 1 cup of water or vegetable stock)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional: 1 tbsp fresh cilantrp, chopped

Instructions

For the shrimp:

  1. Mix all ingredients with the shrimp in a large bowl and let marinate for at least 10 mins (even longer is better)
  2. Place shrimp on skewers and grill them on med-high heat for 2-3 mins per side, or until charred slightly. Remove from grill or grill-pan.*

For the corn:

  1. Shuck corn to expose kernels.
  2. Coat corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place corn in aluminum foil and roll up, pinching the ends.
  4. Grill on med-high heat for 30 mins (turning sides every 10 mins).
  5. Remove corn from grill and open aluminum foil.
  6. Let cool before cutting kernels off the cob.**

For the salad:

  1. Add shrimp and corn to a large bowl.
  2. Combine with tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and avocado.
  3. Mix well and then squeeze the juice of 1 lime over salad.
  4. Add chilli powder, cumin and salt and pepper and cilantro, if using.
  5. Store in fridge for up to 1 week.

*Alternatively you could use pre-cooked shrimp and let thaw and then marinate in mixture for 30 minutes rather than grilling.

**Or use 1 1/2 cups of canned corn and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 mins (watch carefully to make sure it does not burn).

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