After a long weekend lounging in Florida and eating two desserts a day (hey – it was my birthday weekend, I was entitled!), I felt like I needed a break from the calorie-overload and made myself a healthy, flavorful, two-for-the-price-and-effort-of-one dinner: Spiced Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash.
This super-easy worknight meal that comes together in about 35 minutes was exactly what I needed to get my eating back on track without any feelings of deprivation. It was sweet, spicy, and incredibly flavorful. Plus, it contained a lot of healthy vegetables and protein-rich shrimp.
The most time-consuming part of the dish was caramelizing the onions, which were done using the technique I learned from this recipe for Caramelized Onion & Herb Dinner Rolls. But organization and planning save a lot of time, meaning you do most of the other work while the onions cook: prepare the spice rub for the shrimp, let it marinate, prepare and cook the spaghetti squash, and then finally saute the shrimp in the same pan the onions were cooked in.
Busy week? It’s the perfect opportunity to try this for yourself. Here’s the recipe:
Spiced Shrimp & Spaghetti Squash – serves 2
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vermouth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
Juice of 1 lemon, to taste
2 teaspoons minced cilantro
To make the caramelized onions: Pour the olive oil into a heavy pan set over medium-low heat. Add the onions, salt, vermouth, brown sugar and water and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the onions are soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Stir in the garlic during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
To make the spiced shrimp: While the onions are cooking, combine the cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper in a small bowl; mix well. Toss the shrimp with the spice rub and let sit for 10 minutes while the onions finish cooking.
To make the spaghetti squash: Prepare the spaghetti squash by cutting it in half and removing the seeds. Place the spaghetti squash halves cut side down in a microwave safe baking dish and use the tip of the knife to make a few shallow slits in the skins. Add 1 cup of water to the dish and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few small holes in the plastic wrap and microwave on high for 12 minutes or until the spaghetti squash is fork tender. Remove the hot dish from the microwave and carefully take off the plastic wrap, being careful to avoid the steam. Let the squash sit for 5 minutes or until it is just cool enough to handle.
Once the onions have been cooked and removed from the pot, and the spaghetti squash is cooling, add 1/2 tablespoon oil to the saute pan and heat to medium-high. Add the shrimp and saute until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Add the onions back to the pan to reheat and mix with the shrimp.
Use a fork to scrape the strands of squash from the shell and arrange on two plates. Top each with half the onions and shrimp, then garnish with fresh lemon juice to taste and a teaspoon fresh chopped cilantro.