Island Shrimp Rice

 We're only moments away...from summer! Chicago had a taste of it a few weeks ago (which is rare this time of year) and the amazing weather inspired to make something tropical.  A melange of sautéed zucchini, bell pepper and red onion are tossed with succulent shrimp seasoned with Jamaican jerk seasoning, rice and sweet mango to create this Island Shrimp Rice. It's a dish that's light, refreshing and has both sweet, savory and a little kick of heat perfect for the warm summer months...

Even though I don't travel as much as I would like (which is difficult with a toddler for me!), my escape usually comes out through food. This time, it's a visit to the Caribbean in this dish. The Jamaican jerk seasoning is the key ingredient here because it ties together the vegetables, shrimp and rice. Without, it really doesn't have that 'island' flavor. Chopped fresh mango is added with a hint of squeezed lime juice for a pop of brightness. This dish would make for a great summer meal for those outdoor parties!

Island Shrimp Rice
recipe adapted from Food Network

1 cup rice, regular or instant, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 pound shrimp, deveined (I used 21-30 size)
1/2 teaspoon Jamaican jerk seasoning
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons olive oil + 1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup diced fresh mango

Cook rice according to package directions and set aside.
In a cast iron skillet, add 2 teaspoons olive oil. When it begins to smoke, add the zucchini, bell pepper and onion, and cook until softened and slightly caramelized. Remove from pan and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the shrimp and Jamaican jerk seasoning to the now empty skillet and cook until pink, which takes only a few minutes. Transfer the cooked shrimp to the bowl.

Add the rice to the bowl, along with the lime juice, remaining teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and mango.

Toss to combine and serve.

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