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  • Heather Bainbridge EdM, MA, RDN

Here's the Next Best Thing if You Can't Go to Santorini for the Holiday

If you're looking to kick up the heat in the kitchen, this spicy baked shrimp and feta dish has your number. I adapted it from a recipe we found in The Essentials New York Times Cookbook. It's just as delicious, but is faster, a tad more nutritious and uses less dishes (yay for less cleanup). This dish feels light, yet it's very satisfying so if you've been eating heavy foods during the holidays, you'll welcome this with open arms.

This dish cooks in 30 minutes or no more than 40 minutes, if thawing frozen shrimp and removing the tails yourself. I highly recommend thawing in a water (as directed on the package) overnight to speed up the recipe, but I love frozen shrimp because even if you totally forget to take out of the freezer it still doesn't take long to thaw.

From a nutritional perspective, shrimp is a great choice to keep calories low and protein content high-12 large shrimp equals less than 100 calories and has 20 grams protein and feta cheese is naturally one of the lighter cheeses, 75-80 calories per ounce (hard cheese =110 calories). The beans add an excellent source of fiber and tomatoes are high in vitamin C-great to ward off winter colds.

Let's move on to what to pair with it. I really enjoy whole wheat linguini, but my husband prefers crusty Italian bread. Graig tends to groan when I make whole wheat pasta, but the Luigi Vitelli one is less "wheat like" and the other night conceding saying "I get it" (how great is that?!). My best advice is if it's a weeknight meal, add whatever pasta you have around. The spice from the red pepper flakes and tang from the feta and fish sauce are so good that the goal is to simply have something to sop up the juices of this dish.

Lastly 2 ingredients you may not have in your pantry, but are worth adding are the fish sauce and capers. They add the umami flavor to dishes. If you find you like capers Trader Joe's are excellent and well priced compared to the grocery store.

In good health,


Spicy Tomato, Shrimp and Feta Bake

Adapted from The Essential NYT Cookbook

Serves 4-6


3 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced or 2 tsp garlic powder

2 lbs large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, patted dry

28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes

15 oz can cannellini (white) beans

¼ cup fish sauce

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

½ tsp ground black pepper

¼ cup capers

6 oz feta cheese

¾ lb Whole wheat linguini or loaf of crusty Italian bread


Step 1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet until it shimmers. If using fresh garlic, add and cook for about 30 seconds and add shrimp in a single layer being careful not to overlap to ensure even cooking. If using garlic powder, add shrimp then sprinkle the garlic powder overtop. Cook until shrimp turns pink, about 1-3 minutes on each side.

Step 2 Next add tomatoes, beans, fish sauce, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper and capers. Stir to combine and let simmer for 5 minutes to let flavors meld.

Step 3 Transfer shrimp mixture to a large casserole dish. Sprinkle feta cheese overtop shrimp mixture. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes until feta is melted.

Step 4 Meanwhile prepare either linguini according to package directions or slice Italian bread. Toast if desired.

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