First I should start off by saying green rice is not some esoteric rice that you’ve never heard of, or maybe it is, but that isn’t the case here. We call it shrimp over green rice here because we pack it full of green healthy bits and flavor: parsley, basil, and baby spinach. The shrimp, well that’s a delicious matter onto itself, that gets together with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, capers, and scallions – what’s not to love? A simple shrimp and rice recipe, this is going to be fun!
Life has plenty of occasions to celebrate–birthdays, promotions, date night, surviving the in-laws’ visit–and that frequently calls for a special dinner. I’m not one with the desire to get all dressed up and fight my way into a crowded restaurant where it will be too loud to hear my significant other. I wanted to find a dish that was easy to make and appealing to the eye, and I wanted it to include seafood. A seafood recipe automatically bumps up the “specialness” of any meal. (Full disclosure: I even eat seafood on ordinary days.)
Celebratory food has the connotation of being difficult and time-consuming to prepare, but this recipe is anything but. In fact, most of the ingredients are things you likely have on hand, at least if you stockpile frozen shrimp when they’re on sale the way I do.
For this shrimp recipe, I went with shrimp, but scallops would work equally well. Just adjust the cooking time to fit whatever size scallops you purchase. Large sea scallops are most impressive-looking, but you should choose what is freshest and within your budget.
I purchased deveined frozen shrimp, although fresh would have been easier if I forgot to plan ahead and defrost them. My preferred method of defrosting is to measure or count out how many shrimp I need and to place them in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight. Another method is to run cold water over the frozen shrimp for 3-5 minutes until thawed. Don’t leave your frozen shrimp soaking on cold water, for they will become mushy and unappetizing.
The other meal that spells special (read: indulgent) night out is Italian. However, I didn’t want a heavy, pasta-filled meal for a stay-in date night. First, no one wants their partner going into a food coma before dessert is even served. Second, Italian food while delicious is notorious for an abundance of garlic, and no one wants their partner to be exuding garlic for the remainder of a romantic evening. This recipe does use a small amount of scallions, but you’ll notice that there is no garlic or onions. That is to say, you’ll notice as you read through the recipe, but I promise you and your dinner date won’t even notice they are missing as you eat this Shrimp over Green Rice.
The timing of the cooking of this dish is important. Be sure that everything is prepared before you start. I started the rice, and cleaned and chopped everything else during the first part of the rice’s cooking time. The most time-consuming part is the cooking of the rice, but you can have this on the table in 50 minutes from start to finish.
The fresh flavor: I did not use any salt in this recipe, but you will find that the capers, olives, and artichokes provide adequate salt. Besides. You don’t want to give your loved one heart disease! I also did not use any pepper because I wanted to let the herbs come through, but you can add a bit if desired.
Fresh herbs are ideal, either from the produce section or your own garden, but there are options. My local grocery store now carries the more popular seasonings, like ginger, garlic, basil, parsley, and dill, in a convenient refrigerated tube, so you don’t have the extra herbs going to waste because you didn’t use them immediately. The negative with these is that there are added ingredients for preservation.
Dried herbs are easy to come by, easy to store, and have a longer shelf life, but don’t pack the same flavor of fresh. So what is the discerning home chef to do? I do dry a lot of the herbs I grow, but I also make my own paste in the food processor, with just a touch of olive oil to help the blending process. I freeze the paste in ice cube trays, and then transfer the herb cubes into labeled plastic containers. These cubes are especially great for soup–just drop in a frozen cube. With this recipe, be sure to add the cubes to the rice early enough to let them thaw and be stirred in completely. No one wants a big bite of basil if they were expecting a delicately flavored spinach in their rice.
One or two final notes: the recipe as written makes 2 servings, perfect for an intimate dinner for two. You can easily double it if you have a large skillet for the shrimp. I have not yet tried to freeze the finished product; the shrimp and tomatoes may not retain their pleasant texture if frozen and thawed.
However, if you can keep any extra from being consumed the evening you make this, I found that it was even better–something I didn’t think was possible–for lunch the next day. Served cold, Shrimp over Green Rice could be gently stirred together for an excellent summer luncheon, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving it out for a prolonged time in an outdoor picnic setting.
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Shrimp over Green Rice
This shrimp with green rice combo packs a powerful punch. The green rice is a fully developed dish onto itself with rich flavors coming through of basil and parsley, packed with powerful baby spinach and brown rice. The shrimp is cooked with flavorful grape (or cherry) tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, capers, and scallions – this dish has it all!
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Fish & Seafood
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base Reduced Sodium
- 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, torn into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped fine
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 pound 16/20 count raw shrimp, thawed, shells and tails removed
- 2 scallions, chopped (white and green parts separated)
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 8.5 ounce can quartered artichokes, large pieces halved
- 1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
- 2 teaspoons capers
- Cook the rice according to the package instructions, adding Better Than Bouillon to the water and dissolving completely.
- When the rice is cooked stir in spinach, parsley, and basil. Set aside.
- When the rice has approximately 10 minutes left, begin preparing. In a large frying pan coat with olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add white parts of scallions and shrimp. Cook for 3 minutes or until they need to be flipped.
- Once flipped add in tomatoes, artichokes, olives, and capers. Cook an additional 3 minutes or until shrimp is opaque and tomatoes are just cooked. Remove from heat.
- Serve over warm rice, top with chopped scallion greens.
Keywords: shrimp, kalamata olives, brown rice, lunch, dinner