Grilled Veggie and Shrimp Couscous primavera is a super quick, healthy meal easy to whip up on a busy weeknight.
These days a lot of people are relying on staple ingredients since we are all doing a lot more cooking at home. Getting creative with basic ingredients is key to making home cooking exciting and delicious.
Pasta dishes have been very popular these past few months and Israeli couscous is one of my favorite pastas to cook. Israeli couscous is a pantry staple at our house and shrimp is a freezer staple. Both quick and easy to cook and you can season in so many ways for many different dishes.
Since grilling season is here, we are grilling most of our dinners from pork chops, chicken, vegetables and seafood such as shrimp and salmon. We love being able to put everything on the same cooking surface for a fast meal and fast clean up.
First I prep the vegetables for grilling. A drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. We used zucchini, yellow summer squash or crookneck squash, thin asparagus and some mini bell peppers.
You can use any kind of vegetables that you like that are great for grilling. Thinly sliced eggplant, red onion, mushrooms etc. This is what we had on hand the first time we made this recipe and used again when we made for this post.
For the shrimp I use bigger sizes when grilling. This is the 16-20 per pound size. Wild shrimp is best and we usually get a 2 lb bag of frozen wild shrimp that still has the shells and tails on. I thaw in cool water then I slip a knife carefully under the top to take off the shell and devein at same time. Remove tails, rinse and place on a paper towel lined plate to dry off. I then season with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice.
We use a vegetable grilling tray for vegetables and smaller items like shrimp or more delicate foods like fish.
I like to start with a very hot grill before cooking vegetables and shrimp. I cook them all for just a few minutes a side. I get a quick char on the veggies but they still have some "bite" to them and the shrimp are cooked until just done. It's so easy to overcook shrimp and make them rubbery and chewy. Only grill 2-3 minutes a side until they turn pink and are opaque inside and just starting to curl. If they curl up too tightly they are overcooked.
Perfectly grilled veggies and shrimp. Let the veggies cool for a few min then cut up into one to two inch pieces.
Once the couscous is done, fluff with a fork, add in the butter and let in melt then stir again. Then add in the chopped grilled veggies and shrimp. You can make the couscous in a bigger pan like seen here and add in everything to that pan once the couscous is done.
If you don't have a bigger pan just cook the couscous in a smaller saucepan and mix it all up in a larger serving bowl like a salad bowl or mixing bowl. I often use a big stainless mixing bowl for dishes like this.
A few notes before the recipe:
- This dish comes together pretty quickly. Prep and season the vegetables while the couscous is cooking. Grill while it is steaming off the heat so you can put everything together once the grilled foods are done. The entire dish can take just under 30 min from start to finish.
- Israeli or pearl couscous can be found in any well stocked grocery store. I love the kind from Trader Joes and I used two boxes for this recipe. I haven't made this with gluten free couscous or whole wheat. If you do go that way follow directions on the package and continue the recipe as written.
- I get frozen wild shrimp that needs to be peeled and deveined. I will thaw in cold water earlier in the day which makes it quicker to prep. You can get shrimp already peeled to save time.
- Use any vegetables you like, you can lightly oven roast the vegetables if you don't have a grill as well as saute the shrimp in a pan. It won't have the same smoky flavor but will be just as good.
- This dish is great served hot or cold.
For the couscous:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ⅔ c Israeli couscous
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 ½ cups hot broth (chicken or vegetable),
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- For the Shrimp:
- 2 lbs wild shrimp 16-20 per pound, peeled, and deveined, tails removed
- olive oil ( I use Luigi Tega)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 1 medium lemon, cut in half
For the veggies:
- 2-3 medium zucchini, sliced in quarters lengthwise
- 2-3 medium yellow squash, sliced in quarters lengthwise
- 1 bunch asparagus ( about a pound), ends snapped off
- 8 mini bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 cup basil, chopped
- ½ cup shredded fresh parmesan cheese
- lemon juice ( optional)
This dish comes together pretty quickly. Prep and the vegetables and shrimp while the couscous is cooking. Grill while the couscous is steaming off the heat so you can put everything together once the grilled foods are done. The entire dish can take around 30 min from start to finish.
Preheat the grill to high heat, 450-500 Deg F. Prepare the couscous first.
Sauté the oil in a medium saucepan then add the couscous and stir until some are starting to turn golden, about a minute. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion and stir. Add in the broth, bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Place a lid on the pan and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let steam with the lid slightly ajar until ready to assemble the dish.
While the couscous is cooking prepare the shrimp and veggies. Wast and cut the zucchini and squash in lengthwise quarters, snap the tough ends off the asparagus, cut the stems and remove seeds from peppers, cut in half. See notes for preparing shrimp quickly.
Drizzle the shrimp with oil then season with salt, pepper, oregano, parsley and garlic and juice from half a lemon. Drizzle oil on the prepared vegetables and season with salt and pepper.
Grill the veggies on high heat for just a few minutes a side. You want some char marks but still have some bite to them. Use a vegetable grilling tray if you have one. Grill the vegetables first then the shrimp. When grilling the shrimp, grill on one side for 2-3 minutes, flip and squeeze the lemon juice from the other half of the lemon over them then finish grilling for another 2-3 minutes.
Once everything is grilled, cut the vegetables into 1-2” pieces. Fluff the couscous with a spoon and add in the butter, let it melt then stir then transfer to a big bowl. Add in the grilled vegetables and shrimp and toss well to mix. Add in the chopped basil and top with shredded parm
Serve with more parmesan cheese and more lemon. You can also drizzle a little more olive oil over the top if you like before serving. I love using the lemon olive oil from Luigi Tega for this.
This recipe is great with shrimp but would also be excellent with scallops, chicken ( breasts or thighs) or as a vegetarian salad/side dish.
If using frozen shrimp thaw in cold water earlier in the day. I quickly peel and devien all at once to make it go by a lot quicker. Slip a paring knife under the peel at the top of the tail into the tail and slice down the back of the tail. This removed the peel and vein all at once. Quickly pop off the tail, rinse the shrimp and place on a paper towel lined plate to quickly dry before seasoning.
You can serve this dish hot or cold.
I use Luigi Tega olive oil which is the best olive oil I have ever tasted.