Curried Shrimp with Lentils, Quinoa and Apple

Curried Shrimp with Lentils, Quinoa and Apple

I worry that no one is ever going to make this because there are a thousand ingredients in it. But here we go anyway. Grilled Curried Shrimp with Lentils, Quinoa and Apple (I could keep going here, but I won’t).

I really should have broken this post into two parts because there’s so much to talk about. But I served these grilled curried shrimp with the aforementioned sweet curry salad (or rather on top of it). So in my mind it’s hard to disconnect them into individual recipes. Which isn’t to say you couldn’t make one without the other. In fact, leave the shrimp out and you have a vegan dish with very bold flavor. Or, serve the shrimp skewers with plain rice (or quinoa) and let the crustacean be the star, if you prefer.

However, I served them together– Curried Shrimp Skewers on top of a protein packed trio of lentils, chickpeas and quinoa.

But I think I already said that. So let me give you a few things to keep in mind when making this dish:

  • Curry is a spice blend. There are countless versions. The type you choose for this recipe is entirely up to you. If you have a brand you like, and it delivers the flavors you are looking for, I say go ahead and use it. However some recipes like to define the flavor profile, so they will specify what to look for in a curry powder. This recipe is one of those recipes. So look for a type known as sweet curry. It’s typically blended with coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, fenugreek and nutmeg. It doesn’t have a lot of heat, and works well with the nuttiness of lentils, chickpeas and quinoa. Penzeys makes a good version and it’s the brand I used.
  • The curry dressing for the salad makes about 2‑cups. That’s about twice as much as you need for both the curried shrimp and the lentils, chickpeas and quinoa combined. But it’s a very versatile sauce and I know you’ll find another use for the rest. Keep it covered in the refrigerator about a week. There’s another thing you might notice about this dressing– there are several ingredients that are atypical in traditional Indian-style curries. In fact I hesitate to call this a curry sauce. It’s closer to a Vadouvan, because there are French influences like shallots and garlic. It’s these additions that make this sauce versatile enough to slather onto curried shrimp skewers or to embolden almost any type of salad.
  • Speaking of versatile, quinoa is as versatile as rice. It’s quickly become a pantry staple in my house. I’ve come to find that it needs a good amount of salt to bring out it’s full nutty appeal. So treat the water (or stock) you boil it in as you would pasta water. Also, it’s easy to under cook or over cook quinoa because it tastes so darn good at every stage of cooking. It’s at its very best however when you can see the curlicue just starting to pop out of each grain. Lastly, even if all the liquid seems to be absorbed in cooking, drain it for a few moments in a sieve anyway. You’ll be surprised by the amount of water you can shake out and the grains will not clump together as they can in soggier preparations.


Grilled Curried Shrimp with Lentils, Quinoa and Apple

Sweet Curry Grilled Shrimp with Lentils, Quinoa and Apple 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6Source Inspired by The Lemonade CookbookPublished
Sweet Curry Grilled Shrimp with Lentils, Quinoa and Apple


  • 30 large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 2 tablespoon grainy brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoon sweet curry powder
  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 medium shallot (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup canola oil (or other mild flavored oil)
  • ½ cup black lentils
  • 1 small onion (peeled and halved through root end)
  • 1 carrot (quartered crosswise)
  • 1 stalk celery (quartered crosswise)
  • 2 cup vegetable stock (divided)
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes (halved, seeded and diced)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple (peeled, cored and diced)
  • 3–4 button mushrooms (diced)


Wash and dry the shrimp thoroughly. Soak six, 10-inch or longer, wooden skewers in cold water for 1 hour. Thread 5 shrimp onto each skewer so that they lie flat. Place the skewers onto a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold all of them in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Make the curry dressing: Place the mustard, curry, cumin, tumeric, cloves, nutmeg, salt, pepper, cilantro, basil, shallot, garlic, lemon juice, mirin, vinegar, and honey into a blender or mini-food processor. Pulse several times, then blend the mixture on medium speed until puréed. With the machine running, drizzle in as much of the oil as necessary to create an creamy, fully emulsified dressing. Set aside.

Make the lentils: In a medium saucepan combine the lentils, onion, carrots, and celery. Pour in 1‑cup stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender about 15 minutes. Let the lentils cool in the liquid then drain them well, discard vegetables and place the lentils into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Make the quinoa: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine quinoa and remaining 1‑cup broth. Season generously with a big pinch or two salt. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and lower the heat to very low. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Let cool somewhat then add them to the bowl with the lentils.

Assemble the salad: To the large mixing bowl containing the lentils and quinoa, add chickpeas, tomatoes, apples, and mushrooms. Pour about half of the curry dressing over the salad and toss gently. Taste for seasoning. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Just before serving heat the grill or grill pan. Brush both sides of all the shrimp with some of the remaining curry dressing; season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, remove the salad from the refrigerator and spoon it onto a large serving platter; set aside.

Grill shrimp 2 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. Lay the grilled shrimp skewers on top of the salad and brush with a bit of the remaining dressing. Serve immediately.