I've never been into the idea of a big post-holiday "detox," since it seems to imply a sense of guilt around enjoying hearty meals with family and friends (and makes January sound like a daunting and boring month). My personal belief is that it's all about moderation, which is why I try to balance bigger meals with lots of green juice, vegetables, and yoga to keep me feeling good.
That said, the holidays do throw balance out the window a bit, and I tend to find myself gravitating toward somewhat lighter meals. I personally love vegetables and think that eating healthfully should be something we do year-round. Most importantly, it can also be fun, flavorful, and delicious—no post-holiday blues here, my friends.
Quinoa is a great place to start. It's super grain that's considered a complete protein—in other words, it contains all eight essential amino acids—and makes a great base for any dish. Much like couscous, it doesn't have much flavor on its own; you can basically manipulate it to take on any qualities you want, making it incredibly versatile to use in soups and salads, or as an alternative to rice.
Enter harissa, a North African spice blend that's favored for its punchy combination of olive oil, cumin, coriander, hot chilies, and shallots. In this recipe, we'll heighten the harissa's flavor by toasting it in the pan with quinoa before adding in our vegetable broth.
I've mentioned before that my friend Chef Katie Carey taught me a perfect, foolproof quinoa cooking method, and it seriously works every time. After the quinoa has cooked for nine minutes, we return almost-cooked-through shrimp to the pan, stir in protein-packed chickpeas, and add some cooling cucumbers to help counteract the harissa's heat. Finished with some lemon and cilantro, it makes a quick and easy meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes, with minimal prep work to boot.
Who said eating healthy couldn't be fun?