Tropical Quinoa Salad Bowl with Shrimp is bursting with fresh, bright flavors. This light lunch or dinner is super satisfying, healthy and pretty!
A perfect summer dinner for a relaxing weekend or busy weeknight. This is a hearty dish that’s somehow also light, and is all in one bowl!
What is quinoa?
- Quinoa is a grain, but not a grass like wheat and rice.
- Considered a “superfood,” botanically, quinoa is closely related to spinach.
- It’s a very healthy food and is a whole protein, which means that it contains all nine essential amino acids.
- Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free, high in dietary fiber, B vitamins, and dietary minerals.
What are the differences in quinoa varieties?
- There are over one hundred types of quinoa! I know, who knew?
- The most common quinoa colors that we see in stores are white/yellow, red, and black.
- The varieties vary slightly in taste and texture. I used a mix of red and white/yellow in this recipe, but you can use any one you’d like to.
- I find that the darker colors tend to have a slightly firmer texture and nuttier, earthier flavor, while the lighter colors are a bit more bitter.
When to Serve it
- This is a fantastic “one bowl” meal that works really well for lunch or dinner.
- It’s lovely for a dinner party, and quick and easy enough for a busy weeknight.
- For guests, arranging the salad on a large serving platter, or in individual bowls, is a beautiful presentation, and shows off its more elegant side.
Can you make it ahead?
Yes! Here’s how:
- Cook the Tropical Quinoa a day ahead of time, let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.
- A few hours ahead of time, cook the shrimp, and chop the greens and onion.
- Mix it all together — or — arrange it all in bowls or a serving platter, about thirty minutes before you’re ready to serve.
How to Change up the Tropical Quinoa Salad . . . .
If shrimp isn’t your thing, you can switch it out for a protein you prefer. I think either chicken or tofu would be a good alternative. Or you can keep it vegan and skip the protein all together, in which case you should use more pineapple and lettuce.
I use a mixture of fresh mint and basil — you can also use one or the other, or use cilantro, parsley, or any combination thereof.
Not into coconut? Use all pineapple juice to cook the quinoa. You get the idea.
(And yes, if you want to, you can use fresh pineapple and pineapple juice from a can. I use the pineapple chunks in pineapple juice from the 20-ounce can because it works perfectly for this recipe, as you’ll see in the instructions.)
More unique and delicious quinoa recipes:
- Quinoa Crisps
- Crispy Red Quinoa Burgers
- Smoky Lemon-Paprika Quinoa
- Smoky Lemon Vegetable Quinoa
- Gluten-Free Quinoa Crusted Fried Chicken
- Lemon-Black Quinoa Plum and Avocado Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Citrus Salad with Quinoa Crisps
- Roasted Kale Chip-Quinoa Salad with Pancetta & Tomato Vinaigrette
I hope you enjoy this Tropical Quinoa Salad Bowl with Shrimp, and any of the other quinoa recipes you try.
Tropical Quinoa Salad Bowl with Shrimp
- grapeseed oil for the pan
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (click here for how to peel & devein)
- 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 teaspoon low sodium, gluten-free soy sauce (see notes)
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ¾ cup red onion, very thinly sliced
- 2 cups loosely packed lettuce (baby greens, romaine, your choice)
- ¼ cup fresh mint, washed and dried, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil, washed and dried, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Add enough grapeseed oil to coat the bottom of a large sauté pan. Heat the pan with the oil over high heat. Season both sides of the shrimp with salt and pepper, and once the pan is hot, add them to the pan. You should hear a sizzling sound -- if you don't, your pan's not hot enough. Wait until the pan is very hot and listen for the sizzle! Sauté the shrimp just until cooked through, about 1 to 1½ minutes per side. Set aside to cool.
- Drain the pineapple chunks over a medium-sized saucepan. Make sure to get all of the juice from the can -- it should measure exactly 1 cup. Set the pineapple chunks aside for later.
- Add the coconut water and the soy sauce to the saucepan, along with the quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Place the quinoa in a large serving or mixing bowl and let it cool completely. Add the lime zest and juice, onions, greens, pineapple chunks, raspberries, shrimp, and herbs. Mix it gently to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
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