A Mediterranean Delight: Pesto Shrimp and Couscous Bowl

with Chef Robert Larios
Photography by Patricia M. Larios

Pesto lovers rejoice! This dish is for you. You can enjoy it either as an appetizer or dinner – I recommend trying it both ways. But make sure to toast the pearl couscous before adding in fresh kale leaves because those crunchy bits offer up plenty more flavor when mixed into everything else alongside briny artichoke hearts and sweet dates. And they don’t add sugar, which means everyone will be satisfied (even if they don’t usually care about nice visuals).

¡Buen provecho!



A Mediterranean Delight: Pesto Shrimp and Couscous Bowl



Yields2 Servings

 15 small shrimp; deveined, tail removed, and washed (about 10 ounces)
 ½ cup toasted pearl couscous
 3 oz kale
 1 cup artichoke hearts
 ¾ cup dates
 1 tsp Italian-style spices and dill
 ½ oz sunflower seeds
 ¼ cup basil and garlic pesto
 2 tbsp olive oil (may use avocado oil)
 Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper (to taste

1

Step 1
Cook couscous: Bring 1¼ cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil in a small pot. Once boiling, stir in toasted pearl couscous. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 11-14 minutes, or until couscous is al dente and water has absorbed.

Remove from heat. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir to coat. (You’ll finish the
couscous in Step 4.)

2

Step 2
Prep: Remove thick center stems from lacinato kale.* Roll leaves into a large “cigar” and slice across into ribbons, about ¼ inch wide. Roughly chop artichoke hearts.
Finely chop dates.

*To prep quickly, hold the stem end with one hand; pinch.

3

Step 3
Season and cook shrimp: Rinse shrimp. Pat dry with paper towels. Place in a medium bowl. Season with Italian-style spices and dill, salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Stir to coat.

Heat 1½ tablespoons cooking oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add
shrimp to hot pan. Cook 5-6 minutes, or until fully cooked, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

4

Step 4
Finish couscous: Add kale, artichokes, dates, and about half the sunflower seeds to pot with couscous.

5

Step 5
Plate your dish: Divide couscous between bowls. Top with shrimp. Drizzle with remaining basil and garlic pesto. Garnish with remaining sunflower seeds. Divide between plates and serve.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

 15 small shrimp; deveined, tail removed, and washed (about 10 ounces)
 ½ cup toasted pearl couscous
 3 oz kale
 1 cup artichoke hearts
 ¾ cup dates
 1 tsp Italian-style spices and dill
 ½ oz sunflower seeds
 ¼ cup basil and garlic pesto
 2 tbsp olive oil (may use avocado oil)
 Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper (to taste

Directions

1

Step 1
Cook couscous: Bring 1¼ cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil in a small pot. Once boiling, stir in toasted pearl couscous. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 11-14 minutes, or until couscous is al dente and water has absorbed.

Remove from heat. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir to coat. (You’ll finish the
couscous in Step 4.)

2

Step 2
Prep: Remove thick center stems from lacinato kale.* Roll leaves into a large “cigar” and slice across into ribbons, about ¼ inch wide. Roughly chop artichoke hearts.
Finely chop dates.

*To prep quickly, hold the stem end with one hand; pinch.

3

Step 3
Season and cook shrimp: Rinse shrimp. Pat dry with paper towels. Place in a medium bowl. Season with Italian-style spices and dill, salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Stir to coat.

Heat 1½ tablespoons cooking oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add
shrimp to hot pan. Cook 5-6 minutes, or until fully cooked, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

4

Step 4
Finish couscous: Add kale, artichokes, dates, and about half the sunflower seeds to pot with couscous.

5

Step 5
Plate your dish: Divide couscous between bowls. Top with shrimp. Drizzle with remaining basil and garlic pesto. Garnish with remaining sunflower seeds. Divide between plates and serve.

Enjoy!

A Mediterranean Delight: Pesto Shrimp and Couscous Bowl

Food Lover’s Dictionary

Pesto [PEH-stoh]: An uncooked sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan or pecorino cheese, and olive oil. This classic, fresh-tasting sauce originated in Genoa, Italy, and although used on a variety of dishes, it is a favorite with pasta.

Bibliography: Copyright Barron’s Educational Services, Inc. 2009, adapted from The New Food Lover’s Companion, 2007, by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Recipe found here. Accessed May 15, 2022.



Cooking Tidbit: Can’t find toasted pearl couscous? Any couscous from the market will do. Also, you may use extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil. For the kale, you may use a good pair of kitchen scissors to remove the leaves from the stems.



Utensils You Will Need

  • Small pot
  • Large sauté pan
  • Medium bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoon
  • Thermometer


Food Quote: “However amazing a dish looks, it is always the taste that lingers in your memory. Family and friends will appreciate a meal that tastes superb—even if you’ve brought the pan to the table.” – Gordon Ramsey

 

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