Skip to content

Recipe: Citrus Glazed Shrimp on Barley Pilaf

This week, health and wellness author Cheryl Gordon shares her nutritious and festive shrimp and barley recipe
Stock Photo

With the weather turning increasingly wintry, it’s time to shift our habits. Focusing on cocooning and nurturing feels so good and natural as the temperatures dip and winds get frosty.

One of the most important ways to safeguard your health is to cook your own fresh, healthy food. Not only can you have greater control over the ingredients but there is increasing evidence that how food is prepared affects your digestion and absorption.

When winter comes, we crave dense, warm, oily and spicy foods as a balance to the drying cold in our environment. This recipe is still very easy to digest but provides that chewy, hearty texture that is so satisfying.

A word about ingredients: choose pot barley, not pearl barley. It has more fiber. Shrimp is one of those food items that can contribute to an exploitative food chain. As best as you can, search out organic or wild caught shrimp from a country that has enforceable human rights protections (like the USA or Canada). Check for the “MSC” logo on the package that indicates third-party oversight that the fishing practices are sustainable.


1 – 2 lb shrimp, raw and unpeeled (frozen recommended as they are often fresher)

1 large orange

1 lemon

1 T agave or maple syrup

½ tsp smoked paprika

Cayenne pepper to taste (this gets hotter as it cooks so a few grains is good to start – you can always add more)

¼ cup shrimp broth (recipe to follow)

¾ cup pot barley

1 finely chopped onion

3 cloves peeled and chopped garlic

2 T olive oil

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup chopped kale or other winter cooking greens

1 cup chopped carrot

½ cup chopped red pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh chopped parsley (for garnish)




Total time to serving: 30 minutes


  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat olive oil over medium/low heat. When just shiny, add barley, onions and garlic. Stir constantly until vegetables are aromatic and barley is well coated in oil, even browning a bit. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Stir and add remaining vegetables. Now you can do the shrimp while you’re waiting for the pilaf to finish.

  2. Rinse and peel shrimp. Save shells. Place in a small pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Then turn down and simmer 5 minutes. Strain. This is your shrimp broth.

  3. Zest the orange and lemon. Add to a ceramic or glass dish in which you can marinate the shrimp. Juice the citrus into the dish and stir in sweetener, spices and cooled broth. Pat shrimp with paper towels and add to marinade. Set aside.

  4. Preheat a solid fry pan over medium heat. Add very little oil, just enough to coat the pan lightly. Add shrimp. As they cook, they magically turn a festive pink colour. Turn just once to cook the other side. When they are almost done, add the marinade. Let simmer, uncovered for five minutes only. Extra shrimp broth, if you have it, can be added to thin the citrus sauce if necessary.

  5. Taste everything, adding salt and pepper if you like. Serve shrimp over the bed of pilaf garnished with the fresh parsley.

    As always, please feel free to contact me if you have questions about the new therapies or the old ones.