Paleo Shrimp Pesto Couscous

This is a great recipe if you miss having pesto like I do. For this recipe I use my cauliflower rice recipe to make the paleo “couscous” with one small adjustment. I like the consistency that comes when I roughly chop the raw cauliflower and then pulse it with a chopping blade in a food processor rather than using the grater attachment (which is what I like to use when making “rice”). This is a great entrée to serve when you have non-Paleo friends coming for dinner – they probably won’t even notice they are eating a vegetable instead of couscous!

Shrimp Pesto “Couscous”

For the pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (about 2 oz with stems)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese (optional)
  • Salt to taste

For the couscous:

  • One recipe pesto
  • One recipe Cauliflower Rice
  • 1 lb. sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil), drained
  • 1 lb. shrimp
  • Several tablespoons of oil of choice (I use avocado oil)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Additional fresh basil leaves for garnish


  • To make the pesto: Combine walnuts and basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade. Pulse several times to roughly chop the basil.
  • Add the minced garlic and pulse a few times more.
  • With the food processor turned on, add the olive oil at a slow to moderate pace until all is combined.
  • Add the parmesan cheese and pulse a few times.
  • Taste and add salt if necessary. Set aside.
  • Sautee the mushrooms by heating oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and stir until they are coated with oil. Allow them to cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until browned on the edges and cooked all the way through. Lightly salt, stir once more, and set aside.
  • Now, make the cauliflower couscous by following the recipe for Cauliflower Rice, only, finely chop the raw cauliflower instead grating it.
  • Once the couscous is al dente (mostly cooked but still slightly firm) add the pesto. Continue cooking over low heat and mix well.
  • Add the sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine.
  • Add the mushrooms and stir.
  • Taste and add salt if necessary. Cover and set aside.
  • To cook the shrimp: Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place shrimp in bottom of skillet in one layer (you may need to cook the shrimp in two batches depending on how large or small your skillet is). Lightly salt.
  • After about 2 minutes, flip the shrimp and add salt and pepper. Continue cooking until firm all the way through, about 1 minute more.
  • Place the pesto couscous in individual pasta bowls or plates. Distribute cooked shrimp over all of the servings and garnish with slivered basil leaves.


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