Quinoa Salad with Cashew Pesto Shrimp


I really try and make healthy dishes these days. You should see me in the store, I must look mad reading every label on everything! So when I decided to make this dish I tried to use low fat items. Cashews are yummy and have a lower fat content than pine nuts or most other nuts. I also like to add a little spinach to my pesto for color, flavor and gosh darn it because it’s healthy!


Quinoa of course has been on the foodie radar for some time time now and has proven to be a yummy addition to the modern dinner table. I try and use it whenever I can. I occasionally even trick my kids into eating it.

I have been trying to get all my produce from local farms near me. As I have mentioned before I belong to a CSA and it’s right near me so we get fresh veggies every week! All the veggies in this dish are local.

pesto shrimp2

For Quinoa

2 cups prepared quinoa (follow instructions on box)
1 (10 oz.) container of cherry tomatoes, each halved
1 cup Parsley, chopped or leaves with stems removed
1 Vidalia onion, finely diced
1 medium lemon, zest + juice
olive oil


While preparing the quinoa, assemble the cherry tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lemon zest in a large bowl.
Spread the hot quinoa over the tomato and cilantro mixture and let it set for about 3 minutes before mixing. This will warm up the tomatoes and slightly wilt the cilantro.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and drizzle olive oil over the top.

Toss the entire mixture together and add salt and pepper to taste.

For Pesto

  • 6 medium cloves garlic
  • Pinch coarse kosher salt
  • 4 cups basil leaves (about 5 ounces total)
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 generous tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup olive oil, plus more as needed


Combine the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle; mash to form a coarse paste. Or process in a food processor.

Rinse the basil leaves well, transferring them to a food processor without drying them; their extra moisture is needed for the mix. Add the cashews, lemon juice, cheese and the garlic paste. Puree to achieve the desired consistency.

With the motor running, gradually add the oil to form an emulsified pesto. Taste, and add water (for consistency) or salt as needed. Transfer to a container; if not using right away, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto before sealing and refrigerating for up to 3 days(this prevents discoloring/brown), or divide among ice cube trays and freeze until solid, then transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer-safe zip-top bag and freeze for up to 8 months.


16 jumbo or 24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
7 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
4 sprigs of thyme
olive oil
Salt & peppar


In a large cast iron skillet heat 1/4 cup of oil till very hot. Then add shrimp. stir until starting to get color then add garlic and thyme. When the shrimp has a nice orange tint add the wine and deglaze the pan. Saute a minute longer to burn off wine. Let shrimp cool a bit.

Once cooled slightly toss with pesto sauce and pour over Quinoa mixture. Garnish with chifonade  basil


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