Spicy California Shrimp Stack with Quinoa

Spicy California Shrimp Stack with Quinoa

The other day when I was checking out my Pinterest feed, I came across a pin by Skinnytaste for “Spicy California Shrimp Stack.” I decided to try it out for Sunday dinner, since I already had the all the ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry. As usual, I made some changes to the original recipe by using the whole grain, quinoa, instead of brown rice. I also substituted green onions for chives. I found out by cooking the quinoa a little bit longer with additional water, it made the quinoa “stickier.” Not only did the quinoa worked great, but it was a healthier choice. I liked using ramekins, instead of a measuring cup, because I could make several at one time, making it easier to plate.

My Spicy California Shrimp Stack with Quinoa was a big hit with my husband! He said that it is just as good as the one we order at the Yardhouse restaurant. So if you are looking for a dish that is pretty easy to make, fantastic to eat and has the “wow” factor, you need to prepare this!


Spicy California Shrimp Stack with Quinoa


  • ½ cup organic quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water, plus 2 tablespoons water for later
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 8 ounces cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed; cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped green onions
  • ½ cup mashed avocado (1 medium-large)
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons organic mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce


  1. Bring 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water to a boil. Add quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until water is gone. Add 2 tablespoons water and stir. Cook until all water is gone. Stir in rice vinegar. Spread quinoa on a plate to cool.
  2. Using a small bowl. mix together the cucumber and green onions.
  3. In another small bowl, thoroughly blend the mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce.
  4. Using a 3½-inch ramekin, layer ¼ cup cucumber, then 2 tablespoons avocado, ¼ of the shrimp and enough quinoa to full the remainder of the ramekin.
  5. Place a plate upside down on top of the ramekin. Lightly tap the bottom and sides of the ramekin. Carefully lift off the ramekin. This can be tricky and if you are having problems, insert a small knife along the edge to help “release” the stack.
  6. Put the Sriracha mayonnaise and soy sauce in separate small squeeze bottles and drizzle on top of the stack. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat 3 more times. 4 servings.

Spicy California Shrimp Stack with Quinoa


Black Bean and Quinoa Salad


Quinoa is not only nutrient-rich, but is so easy to make. It is considered to be a “complete protein,” because of the amounts of amino acids, lysine and isoleucine, it contains. This salad has a wonderful smokey flavor from the chipotle, which also gives the dish some “heat.” In addition, you can taste the green and red onions and the cilantro! The quinoa recipe was adapted from Ken Oringer in Food and Wine, From a Chef’s Incredible Winter Picnic, published December 2009. I substituted the sherry vinegar with rice vinegar and reduced the amount of olive oil.



  • 1 can (15 ounce) organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed thoroughly and drained
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, minced
  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced using only the white and light green parts
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Using a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups water, quinoa and pinch of salt . Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Set aside and “fluff,” until cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice and chipotle. Add olive oil in a thin stream, while whisking. Mix in beans, quinoa, green onions, red onion, yellow pepper and cilantro. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.


Organic Quinoa with Edamame and Shiitake Mushrooms


I never had quinoa until my daughter bought it over a year ago. Now, I am frequently cooking and searching for quinoa recipes. My inspiration for this delicious and healthy dish came from Cook’s Illustrated, “Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitakes, Edamame, and Ginger,” published January/February 2014. It has a wonderful nutty taste with a hint of ginger. I made several modifications to the original recipe.


  • 1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoon organic sunflower oil
  • 3 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin on the diagonal
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems remove and thinly sliced
  • 1½ freshly grated ginger
  • Sea salt
  • 1½ cup water or organic chicken broth
  • ½ cup cooked shelled organic edamame
  • 2 teaspoon rice vinegar


  1. Stirring frequently, toast the quinoa in a medium saucepan over medium heat, until quinoa is fragrant and makes popping noise, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in the now empty pan over medium heat. Add scallions whites, shiitakes and ginger. Stirring often, cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high, add liquid and quinoa. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 18 to 20 minutes, stirring once half-way, until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, add edamame and salt to taste. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in vinegar and scallion greens.

Blogger’s note: I had some leftover chicken stock that I didn’t want to waste, so I used a combination of stock and water.


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Organic Quinoa Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds


Cranberries add a sweetness to this gluten-free quinoa dish, which is good for vegans and vegetarians! I modified slightly this simple and healthy recipe from Whole Foods!


  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked organic quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup organic dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted


  1. In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and stir often until soft for 2 to 3 minutes. Stirring constantly, add the quinoa and “toast” for 1 minute. Pour in broth and add salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes with pot covered.
  3. Finally, add cranberries, cover and cook for another 10 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Toss in almonds and serve. Serves 6.


Black Bean Quinoa Salad


This quinoa salad has a wonderful Mexican flavor with the black beans, lime juice, cumin, cilantro, onion and red bell pepper! It can be used as a side dish or can even be a light meal all by itself, because it good source of protein. As a bonus, it’s quick and easy to make!


  • 3/4 cup organic quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Sea salt
  • 1 t cumin
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 5 T canola oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s Organic Black Beans (rinsed)
  • 1 small finely chopped organic red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 T finely chopped red onion


  1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Combine the quinoa, water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer at low heat until water is absorbed. Uncover and let the quinoa cool.
  2. Whisk cumin, lime juice and oil together in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a large bowl, add dressing to black beans, bell pepper, cilantro and onion. Add the quinoa. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serves 4.