Make this North African Shrimp with Summer Vegetable Couscous your next meal! Deliciously spice crusted shrimp sits on top of a garlicky roasted summer vegetable couscous. This recipe is perfect for meal prepping in advance. Enjoy it warm or chilled. Serves 4 to 6 in about 40 minutes.
The story of this recipe begins with a road trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan with one of my best friends Heidi.
We trekked west across the mitten to Grand Rapids, to go to a small venue concert. We stopped beforehand for dinner and drinks at Rockwell | Republic. It’s a cool and cozy restaurant that serves up delicious food using ingredients from local area farms.
which if you didn’t know, this is totally my kind of thing.
Heidi and I split a pitcher of the most delicious sangria and shared bunch of apps instead of ordering our own main courses. One of those apps was this smoky North African Shrimp on a vegetable Israeli couscous and yes, it was awesome. I haven’t been able to forget it. The spice crusted shrimp were so intoxicatingly aromatic and flavorful that I was a little sad it was just an appetizer and not an entree (and also that I had to share it 😉).
It was so good that I went home and devised a plan… aka a recipe.
To Make This North African Shrimp You Will Need:
- fresh ginger
- aleppo pepper
- olive oil
- fresh lemon juice
- Israeli couscous
- summer squash
- red onion
- cherry tomatoes
- black pepper
- fresh parsley
What I love most about this recipe is that so much of it is fresh ingredients!
Aleppo pepper may be a little tricky to locate at your regular grocery store. I order mine online from Penzey’s Spices, but you should be able to find it at most specialty spice shops. Back in the day, I would stop in the Penzey’s by my work while I was on my lunch break. But now ordering online is way easier.
Now let’s COOK!
For the shrimp marinade:
In a big-o-bowl, grate in 1 teaspoon of fresh, peeled ginger root or to save some time, use the pre-grated stuff. Remember, this is a judge free zone. Next measure and add in the 2 teaspoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1½ teaspoons of the aleppo pepper, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric. Just a little FYI, aleppo pepper is smoky and sweet with a subtle heat. It’s not out of control spicy-hot by any means so if you’re a little leery about it, don’t fret.
Think milder, smokier red pepper flakes.
Lastly measure and add in 2 tablespoons of extra light olive oil and whisk it all together to form a paste like consistency.
This right here, smells pretty darn amazing!
Now introduce a pound of shrimp (16/20) to the marinade and toss to coat. Let the shrimp marinade either on the counter for 15-20 minutes or pop into the fridge for a couple hours.
During this time, I like to make the couscous.
Roast the veggies.
Preheat your oven to 400° and place a pint of (washed) cherry tomatoes, 1 sliced (half moon style) yellow summer squash and zucchini and 1/2 a diced red onion. Drizzle the veggies with some olive oil and season with a few pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Use your impeccably clean hands to toss them well so the veggies are coated evenly in the oil. Pop them into your preheated oven and roast for 18 to 20 minutes. I rotate the pan halfway through but leave the veggies undisturbed so the edges can caramelize.
For the couscous:
In a large saucepan measure in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat on medium. Then add in 2 cloves of minced, grated or crushed fresh garlic. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add in the 2-1/2 cups of vegetable broth or stock, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in 1-3/4 cups of Israeli couscous and replace the lid. Follow the package directions for cooking times but usually it’s around 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Keep in mind, not all of the broth will be absorbed and it should give the couscous a sauce-like appearance..
Cook the Shrimp!
Now in a 10-inch heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high. Once hot, work in batches adding in the shrimp, try not to overcrowd. Allow the shrimp to cook for 2-3 minutes a side, then flip and repeat. Transfer the shrimp to a clean plate and repeat with the remaining shrimp. Adjust the heat under the pan so the spices don’t burn.
Once all of the shrimp are cooked, reduce the heat to low and drain off any excess oil. Squeeze in 1/2 a lemon and scrape those browned bits off of the bottom. Add the shrimp back in, toss and heat through and keep warm.
Around the same time, the couscous should be cooked, add it into a large mixing bowl along with the roasted veggies and any of their juices that accumulated in the pan.
That, my friends, is liquid gold.
Add in 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley and gently toss to combine. Season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste.
Spoon some of the summer vegetable couscous onto a plate and top with 5 or 6 of the North African shrimp and more minced parsley for garnish.
First thing, I really love this recipe. It’s not quite like Rockwell’s version but it was so good that I don’t even care. SO much flavor! And secondly, this is good warm or cold. I took chilled leftovers to the beach and they were delicious cold! This recipe is also great for meal prepping for the week – you’re welcome.
So so in food-love with this North African Shrimp recipe. Go on and give it a whirl and let me know what you think!
North African Shrimp with Roasted Summer Vegetable Israeli Couscous
FOR THE SHRIMP:
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1½ teaspoons Aleppo pepper, found online and in stores at Penzey's Spices
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking
- 1 pound shrimp, 16/20 shelled and de-veined with tails on or off, thawed if frozen
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
FOR THE COUSCOUS:
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced into half moons
- 1 medium summer squash, trimmed and sliced into half moons
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2½ cups vegetable broth
- 1¾ cups dry, uncooked Israeli couscous
- 1 handful parsley, chopped, plus more for serving
FOR THE SHRIMP:
- In a large bowl combine the fresh ginger, coriander, aleppo pepper, cumin, salt, turmeric and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Give that a stir, toss in the shrimp and let that marinate for 15 minutes on the counter or a couple hours in the fridge.
- Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Once hot, work in batches adding in the shrimp, adjusting the temperature as needed. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until a crust forms on each side before removing to a clean plate. Repeat with the remaining shrimp.
- Once the shrimp is cooked, reduce the heat to low and drain any remaining oil left in the pan before squeezing in a little lemon juice and scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the shrimp back into the pan to heat through.
FOR THE COUSCOUS:
- Place the tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash and onion onto a rimmed metal baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a couple pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Gently toss to coat and place in a 400° oven for about 18-20 minutes. Once roasted, add the veggies and their juices to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic, stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover and reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Follow the package directions for time - usually it's 8 to 10 minutes. Not all of the broth will be absorbed and it should give the couscous a sauce-like appearance.
- Once the couscous is cooked, add it to the bowl with the veggies and add 1/4 cup of chopped parsley. Gently toss to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Place a couple of spoonfuls of the roasted vegetable couscous in a bowl and top with a few of the North African shrimp and more minced parsley for garnish.
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