Today’s recipe is for a tasty Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry that will let you put dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. I pared the original recipe down to just four ingredients for the main dish and six ingredients for the Lemon Vinaigrette, all of them pantry staples. My aim was to keep it simple, healthy, and delicious — and I think I succeeded!Jump to Recipe
One of my goals with this easy weeknight meal was to cook something using fresh local ingredients. The original recipe called for canned artichoke hearts — which I eliminated because they’re not local and are also high in sodium. Instead, I used locally grown asparagus and peppers and frozen shrimp from the Gulf of Maine, which isn’t far from where we live.
Fresh seafood is readily available to us, but I chose frozen shrimp this time to cut down on the prep. You can use fresh or frozen shrimp — whichever you have available or prefer. At some point, I’ll probably make this with fresh scallops we get right off the boat. Yummy!
Now let’s chat a bit about eating seasonally and locally, shall we?
The Benefits of Eating Seasonally + Locally
I’ve recently been encouraged by a friend to think more about eating seasonally. In simple terms, it means eating foods in season that are produced near where you live. [Stay tuned. I’m planning more posts and recipes on this in coming months.] This practice is good for us because:
- It’s healthier. Produce that sits on a truck or in a warehouse before traveling far distances to get to your supermarket loses some of its nutritional value.
- It’s tastier. The closer you can consume fresh food from the time it was harvested, the tastier it’s going to be. Anyone with a backyard fruit or vegetable garden knows this, of course.
- It’s environmentally friendly. You’re reducing the carbon footprint to get food to your table. Think not only about the miles your food traveled but about the energy of storing it and preserving it for freshness.
- It supports local growers. When we support local farmers, it allows for a more diverse food supply chain; our choices aren’t as dictated by large food conglomerates.
- It brings variety to your diet. When you buy locally, you’re letting the seasonal supply dictate your diet rather than in-store marketing. It’s kind of like joining a CSA (Consumer-Supported Agriculture) program, where the grower shares his/her harvest and you need to come up with some creative ways to use all those fruits and vegetables quickly.
A Few Changes from the Original Recipe
The inspiration for this meal came from a recipe for Grilled Asparagus and Shrimp Quinoa Salad on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website. The USDA offers a variety of recipes based on My Plate recommendations for a well-balanced diet — who knew you could find recipes on a government agency website, right?! Most of them are pretty basic, but they’re a good starting point.
Keeping with the original, you could certainly grill this dish and serve it with quinoa. I chose instead to cook it on the stovetop in my wok (any non-stick skillet will do) and I served it with leftover pasta.
Two simple ways I made this recipe healthier: I eliminated artichoke hearts and soy sauce, both of which are high in sodium. We didn’t miss either one!
You’ll probably disagree if you’re a shrimp lover — but for me, the star ingredient here is asparagus. I’ve come to L-O-V-E this spring vegetable in recent years and when serving it as a side dish, I like to roast it in the oven with a bit of olive oil and red pepper. Asparagus is an amazing source of Vitamin K and folate.
To be honest, I don’t consider this a “company-worthy” dish since there isn’t a wow factor here. But it’s a good, healthy weeknight meal that comes together quickly.
Now let’s get cooking!
Shrimp + Asparagus Stir-Fry with Lemon VinaigretteCourse: Main DishDifficulty: Easy
This simple stir-fry with lemon vinaigrette will put dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
2 cups fresh asparagus, large spears (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1/2 yellow or red bell pepper (cut into 1/2″ pieces)
1 clove garlic (minced)
12 oz fresh or frozen large raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- For the Lemon Vinaigrette:
1 tsp. grated lemon peel (optional)
3 TBSP. fresh or bottled lemon juice
3 TBSP. olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cut vegetables as directed.
- Place vegetables and shrimp in large bowl; add about 1/2 of the vinaigrette and toss to coat.
- Heat skillet or wok over medium high heat, adding a bit of olive oil cooking spray, if desired.
- Add shrimp-vegetable mix to skillet and cook until shrimp is an opaque color and vegetables are just fork tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- Remove from heat and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Serve hot over rice, coucous, orzo, quinoa or other grain or pasta of choice.
- Be sure to cut the vegetables small as directed so they will cook as quickly as the shrimp. Some sources say to cook the shrimp and vegetables separately to ensure desired doneness and then heat everything together in the vinaigrette at the end. I cooked everything at once and didn’t have any issues.
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