This succulent recipe puts the chicken and veggies all in one pan for a complete, family-friendly meal.
Brown Rice Salad with Shrimp and Avocado
Dietary Compliance: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Almost-Paleo-friendly
I came upon this recipe by way of my dear friend Brooke, who tore the original out of an issue of Women’s Health on a plane ride to come see me and meet my then-brand-new baby boy, James. It had been years since Brooke and I had seen each other, but we instantly fell right back into doing what we do best: cooking and talking about the things we were going to cook.
When we sat down to this, it looked so good and light and satisfying all at the same time. And the best part was, it met my nutrition requirements. James, who was on a diet of 100% breastmilk at the time, was getting colicky every time I ate corn or dairy, so I had already omitted them from my diet, even though I hadn’t yet discovered what thyroid-healthy eating was.
James grew out of most of his food sensitivities, but now, years after my postpartum hypothyroidism diagnosis, followed by a Hashimoto’s diagnosis, I have a set of my own food sensitivities. Once again, this recipe satiates my needs and culinary desires (unless I’m on a strict Paleo or AIP regimen). It’s dairy, corn, and gluten-free, and it also happens to be thyroid-nourishing.
Here’s some info about the thyroid-friendly nutrients in this dish:
- Avocado is rich in healthy fats like oleic acid, which can help reduce cholesterol.
- Avocado is also one of the few foods that helps the body produce glutathione, a super-antioxidant that can boost immune function, detoxify the liver, and help combat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Gluten molecules are nearly identical to that of thyroid tissue, making it suspect numero uno for a body’s mistaken attack on thyroid tissue. Eliminating gluten is one of the most commonly agreed upon recommendations I see for a thyroid-friendly diet. Brown rice is a gluten-free grain. Also, whole grains like brown rice have a higher protein and fiber content than their refined counterparts, and are a better choice for maintaining a healthy weight.
- Soy sauce often contains wheat, so if you are avoiding gluten, it is important to purchase tamari (a wheat-free soy sauce) and double-check the label. If you are avoiding all soy, substitute coconut aminos.
Brown Rice Salad with Shrimp and Avocado
Crunchy cucumber, creamy avocado, chewy brown rice, and plump shrimp make for a light yet satisfying meal. Dietary Compliance: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Almost-Paleo-friendly** (see note).
- 5 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
- 1 lb raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp. rice wine, Mirin or sake
- 2 tsp. avocado oil
- 2 small ripe avocados
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup quartered and sliced English cucumber
- 1/4 cup sliced green onion
- 1 lemon, quartered, for garnish
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 2 tbsp. Tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice, (approx. 1/2 lemon)
- 1 1/2 tbsp. rice wine, (Mirin) or sake
- 1 1/2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
If you haven't already*, cook the brown rice according to package instructions. Spread the rice on a sheet pan to cool. This dish tastes best if the rice is room temp when mixed, rather than warm.
In a small bowl combine the shrimp, minced ginger, 2 tablespoons Mirin, and 2 tsp. avocado oil. Toss to coat and set aside.
In another small bowl combine dressing ingredients. Whisk until salt and sugar are completely dissolved and set aside.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and marinade, and saute until shrimp are cooked through and opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain off excess liquid and set aside to cool.
Slice avocado and squeeze with the juice of 1/2 lemon. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine rice, shrimp, cucumber, dressing and green onion. Toss lightly to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Divide salad among plates, top with avocado slices, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve.
*1 hr of cooking time was provided above for cooking the brown rice
** This recipe is compliant with the Almost-Paleo dietary level for Thyroid30, so long as you use coconut aminos instead of tamari.