Garlic Shrimp with Avocado and Pesto Quinoa

Garlic Shrimp with Avocado and Pesto Quinoa

Chef Liz has been listening to a lot of summery surfer music in the Test Kitchen lately—might she have caught the wanderlust bug? "California is on the brain, and I'm letting it happen!" she says. Here, she tosses a peak-season salad of crunchy snap peas and cucumber in bright lemon and olive oil, then adds garlicky shrimp, pesto-laced quinoa, and creamy avocado slices. California, here we come...



30 mins

Total cook time


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Main Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/4 pounds shrimp
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 2 avocados
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper

Cooking Instructions

Step 1

In a medium pot, combine quinoa, 2 cups water, and .5 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low, cover pot, and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, still covered, to keep warm.

Step 2

While quinoa cooks, rinse all produce. Pat arugula dry with paper towel. Halve snap peas lengthwise. Halve cucumber lengthwise, then cut crosswise into .25-inch half-moons. Halve lemons. Mince garlic.

Step 3

Pat shrimp dry with paper towel and season with .75 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add shrimp and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp is opaque and just pink, 4-6 minutes total. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Step 4

In a medium bowl (big enough for the next step), whisk together juice of 1 lemon, 3 tablespoons olive oil, .25 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to make dressing for the next step. In a small bowl, stir together half of pesto and juice of remaining lemon to combine (the remaining pesto will be stirred into the quinoa in Step 6). Set lemon-pesto sauce aside until ready to serve.

Step 5

To bowl with salad dressing, add arugula, snap peas, and cucumber. Toss to coat, then set aside until ready to serve. Halve avocados and discard pits; carefully scoop out flesh, discarding skins, then thinly slice (see recipe tip).

Step 6

Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork, then stir in remaining pesto to coat. Divide salad among serving bowls. Spoon over pesto quinoa and, using a slotted spoon, top with garlic shrimp. Add avocado and drizzle over lemon-pesto sauce. Enjoy!

All recipe ingredients should be cooked to a safe internal temperature according to USDA guidelines. After preparing a recipe, please store any leftovers in the refrigerator.