One-Pot Meal: Shrimp with Couscous and Asparagus

By Jessica Sanders

Sometimes you just need to do a pantry purge. That actually doesn't sound too appetizing - but you know what I mean. I opened my pantry door to see a huge canister of couscous staring back at me. I bought it a while ago, and I've used some of it, but it was just sitting there, mocking me, reminding me of all the great meals I intended to use it for. I came across this shrimp with couscous recipe from Martha Stewart and realized I had almost everything I needed for the dish in my fridge or pantry. Score! This recipe is so adaptable to what you have on hand - I added asparagus and hot red pepper, but broccoli would be good, snap peas, chicken, whatever. As I was cooking it I had a "Duh" moment - why didn't I ever think of this myself? It's quick, easy, and inexpensive - a great weeknight dinner. 

 I've made a few little changes here - I added asparagus and made it a little spicy. But like I said, go crazy and use whatever you have on hand in your pantry/fridge/freezer - this is a forgiving dish.

Shrimp with Couscous and Asparagus

adapted from Martha Stewart

serves 6


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails removed (I used 31-40 sized frozen shrimp, but any protein works here)
  • Kosher salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 leeks, sliced into 1/2 inch half-moons
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (or minced)
  • 1 cup dry uncooked couscous (whole wheat would be great)
  • 1 cup frozen (or fresh) peas, thawed
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed and sliced into 1 or 2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups boiling water (check the recipe so you'll know when to boil it) or low-sodium veggie or chicken broth
  1. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Toss the raw shrimp with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper, then toss them into the pan and cook them until they're opaque, about 3 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.
  2. Add 1 tsp oil to the pan, and saute the asparagus until they're just tender - bite one and you'll see what I mean. This shouldn't take more than a few minutes - but I like my asparagus crisp. Cook longer if you like it softer. When the asparagus is cooked to your liking, remove from pan and set aside with the shrimp.
  3. Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the saute pan and stir in the mustard seeds and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds - the seeds will start to pop. Add leeks, carrots, and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. On another burner, boil a few cups of water in a kettle.
  4. Stir in dry couscous, peas, and 2 cups boiling water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cover the pan with a well-fitting lid, and let sit for about 5 minutes, or until the couscous has soaked up all of the liquid. Add the shrimp and asparagus back to the pan and gently stir. 
I'm not sure what would go well alongside this dish - we kind of ate it as a one-pot meal. There's the protein, the veggies, the couscous - it's all in there! Leftovers are great for lunch, by the way. Hot or cold!