{Healthy Weeknight Dinner: 5 Spice Pepita Crusted Shrimp w/ Asian Black Barley Salad}

I usually get home from the gym at about 8-9pm on weeknights which means when I walk through that front door, it’s a free for all when it comes to dinner.

One of my goals this month was to get better about preparing quick and easy weeknight dinners. The key to my success:

1. On the weekend, go to the market and pick items that look fresh and enticing to me

2. Plan out a menu with my ingredients and utilizing staples in my pantry

3. Prep the individual ingredients and store them in airtight containers to save time (eg. roasting veggies, washing and pre-cut vegetables, cooking quinoa/ other grains ahead of time, defrosting)

On tonight’s menu..

Over the weekend, I prepared an asian spice rub in my food processor. Made with raw pumpkin seeds, toasted white sesame seeds and a couple spoonfuls of chinese 5 spice powder. Simply dredge the shrimp in the rub and cook them in a med hot pan with a touch of oil for a couple of minutes till they are nice and rosy.

Next I threw together my salad: chopped green beans, potatoes, roasted yams and onions and a small handful of sweet grape tomatoes. The vinaigrette was inspired by one of my readers, Tatiana, who suggested a delicious combination of asian pantry staples that went perfectly with the spiced shrimp.

Finish it off with a quarter of a chopped avocado and dinner is served.

Chinese Five Spice Pepita Crusted Shrimp w/ Asian Black Barley Salad

Spice rub

  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds (lightly toasted in a pan)
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 heaping tbsp chinese 5 spice powder

Blend all of these in a food processor (or grind in a mortar and pestle if you’re old school) till a uniform consistency.


  • 1 cup of  cooked black barley (or your favourite grain)
  • Cooked/roasted vegetables of your choice, my mix: green beans, new potato, grape tomatoes, roasted yams, roasted yellow onions, orange cherry tomatoes, avocado

Vinaigrette (sorry, I just splashed all of these into a jar to taste)

  • Tamari
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • sriracha hot sauce
  • drizzle of honey
  • fresh lemon juice
  • sprinkle of korean bonito rice seasoning (you can use crushed nori/seaweed)
7 Responses to “{Healthy Weeknight Dinner: 5 Spice Pepita Crusted Shrimp w/ Asian Black Barley Salad}”
  1. That is surely one of the worst times of day for me, especially after working all day. I love your planning ahead and this recipe would make it all worthwhile!

  2. Alison says:

    That looks so light and refreshing. I love shrimp!

  3. coldprairie says:

    Oh my gosh, I am so trying that spice blend – that sounds awesome! So does the whole salad in fact. And my biggest weeknight failing is also having easy solutions to quick meals. I definitely shop on weekends, but often without a plan and still end up looking glumly in the fridge for inspiration. I think 90% of the battle is planning what to eat, shopping for it, prepping it. Then suddenly it’s easy to eat well and healthy. I’m trying to cultivate a similar habit.

  4. coldprairie says:

    Wow, I’m so trying that spice blend, sounds awesome with the shrimp. In fact the whole salad sounds great. And I agree that 90% of the battle is planning, shopping and prepping. Then I don’t find myself glumly staring in the fridge wonderng what would be quick to make. I wish I was a bit more consistent about it. Hey, where can you buy bonito rice seasoning? Sound like a great umami boost.

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