My favorite dish to prepare right now is…wait for it…Shrimp Pesto Rice Bowls. OMG yes. If you wanted to know what you should make for dinner tonight, I would say THIS. Make THIS! And my Zach would totally agree because he ate two servings (of the four) and that is very rare for him. He isn’t a very big eater (except for maybe donuts and take-out Chinese and cookies, but that’s another story) so I was a bit amazed. Add some homemade bread, like my Mom’s french bread, cracked wheat bread, whole wheat honey bread, or her dinner rolls to this dish, and you have a complete meal.
And the star of the show? Yup, it’s the pesto shrimp. I’m using the same pesto recipe I’ve been using for months now except I skipped the toasted pine nuts. I don’t really feel that they are necessary in this recipe and I don’t always have them on hand, so I left them out.
But let’s talk about how delicious this shrimp tastes! The pesto sauce gives it that unbelievable juicy bite and if you’ve never made it, I hope you try it with shrimp. I use my indoor grill pan and heat it to medium high before adding the shrimp. Make sure you grill it HOT for just a minute or two per side, depending on how big your shrimp are. As soon as you see them turning pink from that ugly gray color, flip it and then repeat on the other side. You will have to make several batches of the shrimp because you shouldn’t crowd them on the grill pan.
I also grilled up the onions and peppers on my indoor pan. I used a very high heat and cooked them up real fast. The stovetop was a huge mess when I was finished, but it was totally worth it.
This is a perfect meal for nights when you are running around and don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. HOWEVER, you DO need to do prep earlier in the day (or the night before). Here’s some tips:
- Cook the brown rice up in advance.
- Chop up the onion and peppers and store them in a bag.
- Prepare the pesto in advance. You can even freeze this.
- Defrost the shrimp if it’s frozen. I do this in cold water. And remove the shell and tail.
- Marinate the shrimp for at least two hours.
I made edamame for one of my rice bowl toppers this time. Roasted tomatoes or grilled zucchini are also a great alternative. You could even add grilled pineapple or other fruits.
Again, make THIS for dinner. Shrimp Pesto Rice Bowls. And please let me know how you like it!
- 3 pounds large shrimp deveined
- 1 large onion chopped in chunks
- 1 large red bell pepper chopped in chunks
- 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup pesto sauce see recipe below
- 1 cup Uncle Ben's long grain brown rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bag shelled edamame optional (can use other veg or fruits)
- 2 cups basil leaves fresh
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
If using frozen shrimp, defrost it (I use cold water method) and devein and remove tail.
Make pesto sauce. Using food processor, combine basil leaves, parmesan cheese, and garlic - and pulse. Add salt and pepper. Slowly add olive oil until well combined.
Marinate shrimp in pesto sauce for at least two hours and store in refrigerator.
Make brown rice by combining rice, water, butter, and salt. Bring to boil and then turn down heat and simmer until all liquid is absorbed.
Cut peppers and onions in chunks. Prepare any other vegetables you prefer.
Warm indoor grill pan to medium high heat. Add olive oil. Grill vegetables in batches and set aside. Grill shrimp in batches as well, making sure to not crowd the pan. When the shrimp changes from gray to pink, flip it and repeat on the other side. The shrimp will only take a few minutes and this will depend on how big your shrimp are.
Layer bowls with rice, vegetables and shrimp. Enjoy.