Last night I cooked a shrimp and arugula dish that was based on this recipe from jamieoliver.com. I used quinoa instead of the spaghetti that his recipe calls for, which led me to think about all the other possibilities for substitutions--varying the grains (brown rice or barley would be interesting), the protein (chicken, strips of flank steak, Parmesan or mozzarella cheese), or even the veggies (spinach, kale, or other types of greens). There are so many possibilities to change up this dish and keep it fresh and interesting, and this can be done with so many other recipes also. If you're feeling stuck in a rut because you cook the same thing all the time or if you're only comfortable making a few dishes, try changing up one or more of the ingredients while keeping the rest of the recipe the same--the dish will take on a whole new life and you'll suddenly have countless new dishes in your repertoire. This was a tasty and fast meal, and I'm looking forward to trying it with other ingredient combinations, particularly a vegetarian version with a little cheese instead of the shrimp (or a vegan version without the cheese, depending on my mood).
Shrimp with Quinoa and Arugula
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)
1/2 cup white wine
6 oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and puréed in a blender, or 2 tablespoons sun dried tomato purée
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 handfuls arugula, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the quinoa in a medium sauce pan with 1 cup of salted boiling water for 15 minutes or according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp, if using, and sauté for 1 minute. Add white wine and tomato purée and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and curled. Toss the cooked quinoa with the shrimp mixture, and add the lemon juice and half of the chopped arugula. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide between 2 plates and sprinkle with the grated lemon zest and the remainder of the arugula.
Makes 2 servings.