Jeff Benda
No Meat Meals

Quinoa with Pesto & Prawns

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

I created this dish out of necessity after refusing to go shopping on a Sunday – a hard and fast rule in our house. There wasn’t much left in our refrigerator, but there was a jar of basil pesto peering at me from behind the orange juice. I didn’t even have a full pound of frozen shrimp to work with. But while I may have an ideal set of circumstances in which to build a recipe, I need to learn to live and work in the reality that exists before me. Learning what we can accomplish without our usual “stuff” is a valuable lesson to take forward throughout the course of our Exodus venture.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” – Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta


  • 12 ounces large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon zest


  1. In a resealable plastic bag, add the shrimp, olive oil, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes while you cook the quinoa.
  2. In a saucepan, cook the quinoa according to package directions. 
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add the shrimp and sauté for 1 minute. Turn the shrimp, then add the butter, quinoa, pesto, and lemon juice. Stir well to combine and cook another 2 minutes. 
  4. Transfer to serving plates, garnish with Parmesan, parsley, and lemon zest. Serve immediately.