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This Protein-Packed Shrimp Recipe Can Help Lower Cholesterol

Image by Luke Albert / Luke Albert
May 24, 2022
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Shrimp (prawns) are a good source of marine protein, and walnuts are rich in plant protein and plant oil. This combination serves as a healthy protein dish that pairs well with light-tasting vegetables and carbohydrates.

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You may be aware that shrimp is high in cholesterol, but there is "bad" cholesterol (LDL, low-density lipoprotein), which can cause damage to the body, and "good" cholesterol (HDL, high-density lipoprotein), which helps the body remove the bad cholesterol. Shrimp in moderate amounts was found to actually raise the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) more than the bad cholesterol (LDL).

Look for shrimp with translucent and firm flesh, which indicates freshness. It is easy to overcook shrimp, which will make them hard and dry. Shrimp that are fresh and properly cooked should feel almost crunchy when you eat them.

In the dish, I prefer the healthier homemade aioli over mayonnaise because it uses olive oil. The milk powder adds creaminess to the dressing, but you can omit it if you don't have it.

Aioli Shrimp With Walnuts

Serves 4

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Ingredients

  • 16 shrimp (prawns), peeled and deveined
  • ½ teaspoon kosher (flaked) salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (cornflour)
  • Pinch of freshly ground white pepper or black pepper
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) olive oil
  • 1 cup (150 g) walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 scallions (spring onions), cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) lengths
  • 2 tablespoons aioli (from Red Cabbage Coleslaw, page 94) or mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon milk powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp (prawns), salt, cornstarch (cornflour), and pepper. Mix well to coat each shrimp.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the walnuts and fry until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to a bowl, add the honey, and toss to coat the walnuts.
  3. Increase the heat under the frying pan to medium. Add the shrimp and scallion (spring onion) segments to the oil remaining in the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove to a serving bowl.
  4. Add the aioli to the bowl and sprinkle with the milk powder (if using). Toss to mix well. Add the walnuts and toss again.
  5. Sprinkle with the parsley.
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Excerpted from The Wellness Principles: Cooking for a Healthy Life by Gary Deng, M.D., Ph.D. © 2022 Phaidon Press Limited. Photography: Luke Albert. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon. All rights reserved.

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Gary Deng, M.D., Ph.D.
Gary Deng, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical Director of Integrative Medicine

Gary Deng, M.D., Ph.D is the Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at the prestigious Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he has pioneered a program to focus on a holistic approach to health. He integrates an evidence-based medical and scientific approach with both Eastern and Western philosophies of self-care, and at the core of his mission is nutrition and understanding what we should eat and why. His research has been funded by the National institutes of Health and he led the development of guidelines for integrating complementary therapy in clinical practice which have been adopted by the Society of Integrative Oncology, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.