I love me some shrimp and grits! Unfortunately, grits are simply ground corn meal and contain limited nutritional benefits. Most commercially available grits are enriched with various nutrients, but I prefer to get my nutrients from natural sources and in their natural form. So I played around with this Southern classic and replaced traditional grits with quinoa flakes!
Quinoa Flakes pack the nutritional benefits of quinoa, a seed related to the spinach family, with the texture of rolled oats or grits! Quinoa Flakes are produced by flattening out regular quinoa. I first heard about them from folks that eat quinoa flakes like oatmeal for breakfast and after one morning of replacing oats with them, I was struck by how versatile these wonderful flakes can be!
Quinoa Flakes are:
- Gluten free
- Quick and easy to cook
- Great in baking as well as on their own
- Neutral in flavor, making them great to add just about anything to
- High in fiber
- Cholesterol free
- Sodium free
- A complete protein, meaning quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that the body needs to build and maintain muscle
- High in magnesium
- High in manganese and copper, which are minerals that act as antioxidants in the body
I found mine in the bulk bins at my local food co-op, but they can also be found packaged in health food stores.
Shrimp boast a great nutritional profile as well, but can be a bit controversial because they are difficult to find in high-quality form and present some challenges to food system sustainability (read more here). The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a wealth of knowledge on the best seafood to eat, and if you have a local fish monger in your area, definitely talk to them! If you live in Portland, we have the amazing Flying Fish Company on SE 23rd and Hawthorne.
In their best form, shrimp contain:
- Unusual concentrations of astaxanthin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient
- High amounts of the antioxidant mineral selenium
- EPA and DHA omega-3s, which are important for cardiovascular and nervous system health
- A great ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats, which are associated with decreased risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
Healthy Shrimp and “Grits”
- 2/3 cup quinoa flakes
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shrimp (this depends on how many shrimps you want in each serving, adjust for calorie/nutrition needs. I didn’t really measure this, but I think I used about 2 cups.)
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- Seasoning (I used Big Kevin’s Bayou Blend that my grandma brought me home from New Orleans, but you can use any kind of spice that will add a spicy kick!)
- 3 cloves garlic
- Green onions
- 1 tablespoon oil (I used walnut oil)
- Boil 2 cups water in a medium sauce pan. Add quinoa flakes, reduce heat and cover for about 90 seconds. Remove from heat and let stand for a couple minutes.
- Add milk and cheese to quinoa flakes and stir to combine.
- In a frying pan, heat up oil over medium heat. Add garlic and green onions and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add shrimp and cook until no longer translucent. Add parsley and seasoning and stir well. Set aside in another dish.
- In the same pan, throw in some broccoli and kale and saute until cooked to your liking. I cooked mine until broccoli were bright green and kale was slightly wilted.
- Serve quinoa flakes with vegetables and shrimp on top. Enjoy 🙂