When starting a new healthy lifestyle it can quickly become mundane and boring.
Steamed veggies and boiled chicken, or steamed salmon and brown rice over and over again. Slowly you will go back to those bad habits you are trying to stay away from.
Changing your food habits is hard! I get it, I am right there with you!
Typically you can get stuck in the “I’m eating healthy but I already had that 5 times this week, I need more” cycle.
I typically find myself in this same pattern. When I start a new diet, I get really into it for a couple weeks or a month. I see that the healthy meals are working for me but my taste buds want more.
Then I have a cheat meal, totally innocent. I think its only one right? I can start clean again tomorrow, NOPE!
That’s it I have fallen off the wagon and it takes a much longer time for me to start again.
So how do we break this cycle?
Focusing on a really good protein for starters. Build your meals around the protein and then add flavor and spice to bring it to life. This is so much easier than you think!
Let’s break that cycle right now!
The secret is FLAVOR. We are missing flavor, practically craving it!
Don’t give up on the healthy lifestyle just tweak a few things and you got hearty, full-flavored meals.
When I created this meal it was actually for a vegan private dinner party I was cooking for. By adding salmon for myself I was able to satisfy my taste buds and my waistline. Now I’m here to show you!
Prepare all the vegetables by cutting them and placing into separate containers or bowls until ready to use. This helps speed up the process while cooking.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Prep the baking tray with foil or well oiled baking dish for the salmon. Season the fish with olive oil, salt and pepper. Use your hands it into the fish on both sides.
Place into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the center is flaky. This is a good medium rare temperature for the salmon fillets. It may take longer depending on the thickness of the fillets.
Next, while the salmon is cooking we start the sauce. This is where we bring in a ton of flavor!
In a medium pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and large shrimp. Salt and pepper the shrimp continue to cook for 1-2 minutes per side or until the shrimp is a light pink color. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
Add more oil and start sautéing the shallots and jalapenos.
I love spice so I left the seeds in. It is a really good balance of spice to the sweetness of the coconut milk we are adding later.
Continue to cook down for 5 minutes, and then add the grated ginger and garlic. After a minute add the coconut milk and spices, stir or whisk together to blend well.
Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to cook and reduce on a low boil for 10 minutes. Continue to stir occasionally so the milk doesn’t separate and the sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom.
Here is where we are developing a lot of the flavor for this dish.
Before serving the sauce add the shrimp back in at the end to warm them through.
In the meantime, in a medium pot on medium heat add the quinoa and water with a little salt, stir well. Bring to a boil together. Then cover and drop the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes before the water is absorbed into the quinoa and it becomes light and fluffy.
Then in another pan quickly sauté the sliced Bok Choy with a little oil, garlic and salt. The Bok Choy is super tasty and a wonderful vegetable that changes up the leafy greens in diets.
Once the salmon has been removed from the oven, check the center and sprinkle fresh lemon juice on top to brighten up the fish and add more acid to the sauce on top.
After the quinoa has been fluffed up and Bok Choy has been cooked. Put it all together.
I placed the quinoa and Bok Choy down on the plate first then placed the piece of fish on top. Next, I poured the spicy shrimp coconut curry on top of the fish.
You can add cilantro and a lemon wedge for garnish and that’s it!
Now you have completed meal full of hearty proteins and lots of bright beautiful flavor. It a perfect balance of spicy and sweet which both help cut through the fattiness of the salmon.
By making healthy meals full flavored the cycle of mundane boring dishes is a thing of the past. Cooking is a huge part of my healthy journey and I refuse to get trapped into that endless cycle.
This recipe is just one example of taking a healthy meal that fits a new lifestyle and keeps things exciting to continue on your journey! I know your waistline and taste buds will thank you later too!
Cheers to your healthy journey!
Salmon with Spicy Coconut Curry, Quinoa and Bok Choy
- 36 ounces Salmon Fillets, cleaned (4 oz. portions)
- 1 1/2 cup quinoa, white or tri-color
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling on fish
- 24 pieces large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails off (4 per person)
- 1 large shallot, peeled and finely diced or substitute - white onions
- 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly chopped remove seeds if you don't like a lot of heat
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger or 2 teaspoons of ground ginger powder
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 (16 ounce) can light coconut milk, organic
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tesaspoons Thai red curry powder
- 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
- 1 large Bok Choy stalk
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh cilantro, rough chop for garnish
- fresh lemon wedges for drizzle and garnish
Prep and Salmon
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking tray with foil. Prepare the salmon with salt, pepper and light drizzle of olive oil on both sides. Use your hands to rub in the oil.
Prep all the vegetables and spices a head of time. Make sure everything is sliced, chopped or open ready to use before cooking. This makes preparing this meal a lot easier and faster.
Place salmon into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes for a medium rare middle or until its flaky in the center of the fillet.
For the Sauce
In a medium sauce pan. Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil and raw shrimp with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the shrimp on each side for approximately 1-2 minutes. The shrimp will become a light pink when done. When shrimp is a light pink color and fully cooked then set into a bowl of to the side.
In the same pan add another tablespoon of olive oil and add the chopped shallots and jalapenos. Cook till the shallots are translucent, approximately 4 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the ginger and 1 clove of minced garlic cook for one minute. Pour in the coconut milk, all the dried spices and salt and pepper to taste, stir or whisk to blend together. Bring to a low boil.
Add tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Stir occasionally. If the mixture becomes too hot the coconut milk fat will split, so watch the heat and keep an eye on it. The longer the curry sauce cooks the tastier it is.
For the Quinoa
In the meantime, start the quinoa. In a medium pot place the quinoa, water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir the mixture together, do not cover yet. Place the pot on medium high heat and bring to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer.
Continue to cook quinoa on low for 10-15 minutes or until the water has been absorb into the quinoa. Once the water has been absorbed fluff up the quinoa with a fork to break up any big pieces.
Before serving add the cooked shrimp to the sauce to warm through.
For the Bok Choy
For the Bok Choy, heat up a medium pan with oil, add chopped Bok Choy and 1 clove of garlic minced, add salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for 5-7 minutes. The green and white parts will become soft and translucent. Then serve.
For serving add the quinoa and Bok Choy to the plate. Place the salmon on top and pour the sauce with the shrimp right on top of the fish.
Notes: to make this meal vegan. Do not add the shrimp to the sauce and remove the fish from the steps above. It is a delicious vegetarian meal and very filling.
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