Roasted Brussel Sprouts Salad w/Toasted Pine Nuts & Pan-Seared Shrimp

posted on: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The onslaught of below freezing temperatures across the country isn't the only reason I'm gravitating towards the comforting aroma of roasting vegetables in my oven. If only that were the sole reason, then perhaps I'd be blogging about baking cookies and macarons rather than focusing on my health kick.

So, pardon my lack of food posts because it's taken me quite some time to get used to my third trimester gestational diabetes diagnosis, where I've managed to nearly eliminate all of my favorite dishes consisting of my beloved rice & noodles for the time being.  And after nearly a month of carb counting and weekly chats with my dietitian and nurses who continually remind me none of this is my fault and that this is merely a result of my body being unable to compensate for the massive dose of pregnancy hormones that's being produced, I have to remind myself that this news is merely one of the many sacrifices inherent on my path to motherhood. And best of all, it's entirely for the love of this little one.

Diabetic friendly roasted brussel sprouts salad  | Via Chandara Creative
Roasted brussel sprouts salad with toasted pine nuts & pan-seared shrimp | Via Chandara Creative

Diabetic friendly roasted brussel sprouts salad   brussel sprouts salad | Via Chandara Creative

Eating fresh and healthy has always been a priority of my daily food choices, but now more than ever, I'm finding myself paying greater attention to what I consume---something I never really thought twice about since I already loved the myriad of colorful fruits and vegetables that California has to offer.  And it's not really the sweets that has me weak in the knees, it's the fact that my blood sugar becomes elevated even by consuming too much of the yummy, healthy fruits I love so much. It pains me to not to be able to finish a single piece of fruit as my meals now partially comprise of eating a slice of an apple or a wedge of a tangerine because of its naturally high fructose content.

And for the first time in my life, I've found myself scouring the internet for all sorts of diabetic-friendly meals, and reading nutrition labels on all my food items. And the more research I did, the more I realized how much of our foods are chock full of processed or refined sugars--even the ones that claim to be for diabetics! Eek! And while my own diet never really hinged on foods overly-laced with sugars, I still had to make major changes to the amount and types of carbs I was eating which also meant that I started getting even more creative with my meals, especially my ethnic Lao cuisines.  So, for the remainder of my pregnancy, I'm dishing up carb-conscious, diabetic-friendly recipes for anyone to enjoy, but especially for my moms-to-be out there who are having to take extra care of their bodies so we can nourish this precious life growing inside of us.

And that, my friends, is definitely cause for celebration.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this warm  salad of garlicky roasted brussel sprouts with toasted pine nuts & pan-seared shrimp. It's so hearty and I promise you that the taste of roasted brussel sprouts is definitely nothing to turn your backs on.  And truth be told that brussel sprouts was never in my culinary repertoire growing up b/c we just didn't eat them in my family.  But after tasting them roasted for the first time at a restaurant some years ago, I was smitten! I'm a huge believer that your cooking technique will make or break your dish...and this is particularly true for brussel sprouts. Their flavors are enhanced when you roast them at a high temperature, and most importantly, when paired with pine nuts, it's just amazing how hearty and toasty this combo makes you feel.  So, cozy up and make yourself a bowl (or in my case, two)!

Diabetic friendly roasted brussel sprouts salad | Via Chandara Creative

Roasted Brussel Sprouts Salad w/Toasted Pine Nuts and Pan-Seared Shrimp
Serves 2

• 1-1/2 lbs brussel sprouts
• 1/2 lb shrimp, deveined
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
• 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
• 2-1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
• 2 wedges lemon or 1 tsp lemon juice
• 1 tbs unsalted butter
• 2 tbs pine nuts, toasted


Roasting the Brussel Sprouts:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F

2. Peel off outer leaves, trim ends, cut them in half, and wash your brussel sprouts. You may leave smaller sprouts in tact. (You basically want them relatively close in size so they can roast evenly).

3. In a baking pan, toss the sprouts & garlic cloves with 1 tbs olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on middle rack to roast for a total of 30 minutes or until they are nicely browned, making sure to stir them after 15 minutes or halfway through the cooking process.

Searing Shrimp:

1. Pat shrimp dry and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt & cracked black pepper. Set aside for at least 5 minutes to marinate.

2. While shrimp is marinating, heat up a pan and toast the pine nuts until they turn a nice light brown color, or for about 2 minutes. Set aside.

3. In the same pan, heat up 1 tbs olive oil & 1 tbs butter. Once it's sizzling, evenly place the shrimps in the pan, paying careful attention not to crowd them (or else they will steam instead of sear)

4. Cook shrimp for 2 minutes on each side before flipping or until you get a nicely brown sear on them.  Shrimp is cooked when they are no longer translucent and should be firm to the touch. Once shrimp is cooked and you've turned off the heat, hit it with a dash of fresh lemon juice.  Set aside.

Assembling Salad:

1. Toss warm brussel sprouts with the seared shrimp and top with toasted pine nuts. Drizzle a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar along with a squeeze of lemon on top. Enjoy!


  1. What a beautiful and nutritious meal, perfect when eating for two! There's something about that realization that you are responsible for nutrition in a whole other way that spurs you on to really consider how you fuel your body - I remember that quite well! Your little one is off to a good start, and lucky, too, to have such a good cook for a mama!

    1. Awe, you're always so sweet, Liren. Thank you. It's definitely been a learning curve, but beautiful journey about nourishing myself for the little one.


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