Shrimp and mixed vegetables with coconut-basil sauce recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Shrimp and mixed vegetables with coconut-basil sauce recipe

shrimp and vegetable stir fry with coconut-basil sauce | pamela salzman

I was talking to some friends the other day about our college-aged daughters, some of whom already live in off-campus housing and are no longer on meal plans.  That is, they have divorced themselves from dining hall food and have embraced the world of kitchenettes and home cooking.  I remember my first semester off meal plan.  I had visions of cooking up all sorts of wondrous things like lasagne or chicken Marbella or homemade bread and flourless chocolate cakes, my specialities in 1989.  But alas, I actually had to study night and day so that one day I might be employable.  No time to fuss in the kitchen since there was no way I would be making a career in the food industry.  Good gracious, no.  The irony.

shrimp and vegetable stir fry with coconut-basil sauce | pamela salzman

Alas, when I do think back to that era, anytime I did cook up something, it had to be fast, reasonably nutritious and budget-friendly.  I made A LOT of stir-fries.  I made so many stir-fries, I owned a wok.  I was 20.  So as I was talking to these other mamas about our girls and my possibly do a little cooking class for them this summer, I thought I would definitely start with a stir-fry.

Stir-fries are meant to be quick and they are very flexible.  Use whatever vegetables you have on hand, add animal protein or some tofu, put it onto a bed of rice or don’t, and you’ve got a very solid meal.  Many of my original stir-fries were Asian-influenced with soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger because that’s all I knew.  But now I change it up a lot.

shrimp and vegetable stir fry with coconut-basil sauce | pamela salzman

shrimp and vegetable stir fry with coconut-basil sauce | pamela salzman

I would have loved this delicious recipe which has a base of shrimp and mixed vegetables, but with a Thai-inspired coconut milk sauce infused with lemongrass. lime and basil.  It’s so much lighter and cleaner than the soy-based sauces I used to favor thanks to the freshness of the lemongrass and lime.  I don’t want you to stress out about finding lemongrass.  It’s more widely available than you think.  I see it in every produce section in LA markets, usually in the fresh herb area.  But if you can’t find it, just add a little extra lime zest.

shrimp and vegetable stir fry with coconut-basil sauce | pamela salzman

Like all stir fries, this one moves quickly so you must have your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.  Feel free to clean out the crisper drawer and use what you’ve got.  To adapt this recipe for dietary intolerances, use GF tamari in place of shoyu for gluten-free; or coconut aminos for paleo.  If you want to sub either tofu or chicken for the shrimp, sear them in oil first, set aside and add after the dish is finished.  Delicious no matter how you make it!

shrimp and vegetable stir fry with coconut-basil sauce | pamela salzman

5.0 from 4 reviews
shrimp and mixed vegetables with coconut-basil sauce
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound (about 4 cups) vegetables such as fresh mushrooms, sliced; carrots, chopped; snow peas; cauliflower florets, celery, jicama or water chestnuts, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 stem lemongrass, minced, or ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
  • 12 ounces (about 1 ½ cups) unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk*
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bok choy, stems sliced and leaves whole
  • ⅓ cup chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound medium-large wild peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 Tablespoon shoyu or gluten-free tamari
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 10 large basil leaves, finely sliced
  • accompaniments: cooked, steamed rice
  1. Parboil any harder vegetables (e.g. carrots, cauliflower) one at a time in boiling water until crisp-tender, drain and set aside.
  2. In a small food processor, make a paste of the garlic, jalapeno, lemongrass and lime zest.
  3. Heat a wok or very large skillet over medium heat and add coconut oil. Add paste and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  4. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add all the vegetables, including the bok choy, and the stock. Season lightly with salt and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the shrimp, shoyu, lime juice, and basil and simmer, turning once or twice until the shrimp are just opaque in the center. This should only take a couple of minutes. Serve immediately.
  6. * or use part coconut milk and part stock


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  1. This looks amazing! I can’t eat shrimp – what protein can i use instead?

    • You can use halibut or salmon or a fish you like, cut into big chunks. Cook the same way. Or take chicken and slice it thinly and sear that first, remove from the pan and then start the rest of the recipe and add the chicken back in at the end to cook through. 🙂

  2. Made this tonight – excellent. Loved by my husband, our 13 year old, and a 3 year old! Doubled the recipe so cannot wait for leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

    • Yippee!!

  3. This looks amazing! Only thing is I don’t love the taste of coconut- any good tips for a substitution?

    • Maybe you can try unsweetened plain cashew milk…

  4. Hi Pamela!
    Happy New Year! I was wondering where you get your shrimp. So often I find the wild shrimp from whole foods to have a lot of iodine taste. Thanks!

    • Either Whole Foods or Santa Monica Seafood!

  5. Hi Pamela, love your recipes! I follow your Instagram and you are truly a super woman making so many delicious dishes everyday!! I made this yesterday and it was so so good. My boyfriend LOVED it. We are looking forward to leftovers today. Thank you!

    • Oh my goodness. What a huge compliment, thank you so much. Enjoy the leftovers!

  6. I just made this recipe last night for the second time in as many weeks. Everyone loves it. Thank you!
    The neighbor who came to dinner for this dish is a former assistant chef and he has me spend more time mashing the pepper, garlic, lemongrass paste and red pepper flakes against the side of the wok to really release the flavors.. It was definitely more flavorful this time.

    • Oh, I love that tip! Thank you!

  7. I have been waiting for this recipe ever since I saw it months ago on your instagram — and it exceeded my expectations!! I made it just with veggies and it was perfect! I used lemon peel instead of lemongrass. I prepped some cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms over the weekend, so this came together pretty quickly after work — less than 30 minutes! Thank you!!

    • Great adaptation and thanks for writing in!

  8. I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and wanted to let you know that I really enjoy all the healthy recipes that are available since I don’t have time to pull it all together. This recipe sounds right up our alley – easy, healthy and flavorful. Question – What type of wok/pan are you using for your stir frys?

    • Thank you! I appreciate that. I have a Le Creuset cast iron wok. I’ll be honest, I’ve had it for at least 10 years and I don’t know if they still make it. You can use a skillet for this recipe no problem.

  9. I followed your meal plan this week and loved it. Thank you for sharing your recipes. Have a nice weekend.

    • Thank you! I am so happy to hear that. I hope you have a lovely weekend as well. 🙂

  10. Your idea of having cooking classes for college students living off campus and fending for themselves is excellent. For that matter, there are so many working people who need ideas for quick but healthful meals who would really appreciate your guidance. BTW, your soups in Clean Eating magazine look wonderful! Brava, Pamela!

    • Thank you so much, Lois. I appreciate the kind words. I hope you give some of those soups a try!

  11. I love your blog, You post exactly the kind of items what I want my family to eat. So far I have tried your no sugar peanut butter and chocolate bars made with dates, and your Maple Turkey. I make a batch of those bars every week for my husband as he loves them. I am definitely making this shrimp & vegetables dish this weekend!

    • So glad you found me, Sadaf. I am always eager to hear when readers make the recipes posted here. Please stay in touch! 🙂

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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