Try a little rosemary -- it's good for you

Dec 6 2011 - 10:42am

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TAMMY LJUNBLAD/Kansas City Star
These recipes for Rosemary Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables and Brown Rice Pilaf reduce the need for salt.
TAMMY LJUNBLAD/Kansas City Star
These recipes for Rosemary Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables and Brown Rice Pilaf reduce the need for salt.

Want to cut down on your salt intake?

Use more rosemary in your cooking.

Throughout the ages, rosemary's aromatic addition to food has improved the flavor of all kinds of dishes, including this Rosemary Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables with Brown Rice Pilaf.

Rosemary contains compounds that stimulate digestion, protect the immune system and improve circulation. It is a good source of iron and calcium, as well as fiber.

Storage tip: Before storing woody herbs like rosemary in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, wrap stems in a damp paper towel.

Cooking tip: When cutting rosemary, make sure your knife is sharp. A dull knife bruises the leaves and makes them taste bitter instead of helping to release potent oils.

Fun fact: Rosemary may be brain food: In ancient Greece, students placed sprigs in their hair while they were studying for exams.

Rosemary Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables

1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound jumbo fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined (about 16 to 20 per pound) or thawed, frozen, shelled, uncooked shrimp

1 medium sweet yellow onion, cut into wedges about 3/4-inch thick

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

1 small zucchini or yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced 3/4-inch thick

6 to 8 button mushrooms

Brown Rice Pilaf (see accompanying recipe)

Low-fat feta cheese crumbles (optional)

Fresh rosemary sprigs and lemon slices, for garnish

In a small bowl, whisk together juice, oil, rosemary, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika and red pepper flakes. Measure out and reserve 2 tablespoons juice mixture.

Place shrimp in a small bowl. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon lemon-juice mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Thread shrimp onto 2 (12-inch) metal skewers. Thread vegetables onto 3 (12-inch) metal skewers.

Lightly oil grill grate or spray with nonstick spray. Preheat grill to medium or allow coals to burn down to white ash. Grill vegetables in a covered grill, over direct heat, 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender, turning to brown evenly and brushing generously with lemon juice mixture while grilling.

Grill shrimp in a covered grill, over direct heat, 2 to 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, turning to cook evenly and brushing generously with lemon juice mixture.

Carefully remove vegetables and shrimp from skewers, and place in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with reserved 2 tablespoons lemon juice mixture and toss to coat evenly. Spoon shrimp and vegetables over Brown Rice Pilaf. Sprinkle with feta cheese, if desired, and garnish with rosemary springs and lemon slices. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 231 calories (41 percent from fat), 11 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 173 milligrams cholesterol, 10 grams carbohydrates, 25 grams protein, 305 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

Brown Rice Pilaf

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 1/4 cups water

1 cup brown rice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook 30 to 60 seconds, stirring frequently. Add broth and water, and heat to a boil. Stir in rice, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 40 minutes.

Stir in fresh herbs. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Spoon into a deep platter. Makes 4 (1-cup) servings.

Per serving: 207 calories (18 percent from fat), 5 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 38 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, 19 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

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