30-Minute Meal // Light Shrimp Scampi with Kale Pesto // Gluten & Dairy Free

30-Minute Meal // Light Shrimp Scampi with Kale Pesto // Gluten & Dairy Free

I had one of those moments the other day – the kind of moment I imagine every blogger has at some point or another – I felt annoyed, frustrated, and overwhelmed with the workings and endless “to-do’s” of the blog and wanted to just throw in the towel and say goodbye to Nutritionist in the Kitch.

Yep. It wasn’t my best day. I was feeling pressure. Pressure to be online all the time (seriously, every waking hour of the day) to make sure I was engaging enough, scheduling enough, liking, commenting, following enough, interacting enough, posting enough… only to feel like I could barely keep up with everything and everyone else. I was truly feeling exhausted. 

30-Minute Meal // Light Shrimp Scampi with Kale Pesto // Gluten & Dairy Free

After some major pouting (props to my husband for putting up with my meltdowns) followed by thought, prayer, and reflection (thank you Jesus!) I was reminded of why I have this blog – the reasons deep down inside that keep me going with Nutritionist in the Kitch I love whole, healthy, nourishing foods and I love to encourage and teach others in their own health journeys through my knowledge and my own experiences. That is why after all, I chose to be a Nutritionist.

I don’t have this blog so I can gain the most followers, have the best photography, get the most likes, and pump up my own tires, post after post. Trying to do all of that is what exhausts me and when I get all caught up in trying keep up with the best, I lose sight of what really matters and end up having a moment like I did the other day.

30-Minute Meal // Light Shrimp Scampi with Kale Pesto // Gluten & Dairy Free

So, even though it isn’t the New Year just yet, I have a resolution:

That as I move forward with the blog, I keep focus on what truly matters to me, and let go of all the “should’s”, “have to’s”, and “must’s” of blogging. That I focus on quality over quantity and trust that what I put out into the world will help, and bring joy to others and myself.

I’m stepping off the performance treadmill and getting back to just doing what I love, and if you are a blogger and feel the same way as me, I encourage you to make a resolution too!

30-Minute Meal // Light Shrimp Scampi with Kale Pesto // Gluten & Dairy FreeAaaaaaahhhh… sigh of relief.

Ok, now that I’ve got that off my chest…on to this beautiful, simple, and nourishing recipe!

I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day, as it always brings me inspiration and I saw this delectable recipe by Pinch Of Yum. I was inspired by the colours, textures, and the use of pasta in the dish and realized it had been ages since I made a recipe using pasta.
30-Minute Meal // Light Shrimp Scampi with Kale Pesto // Gluten & Dairy Free

I had avoided pasta for years because wheat pasta used to upset my stomach so much, but now with so many other pasta options available I have discovered some that are easier on my digestive system and taste amazing too!

I chose to go with Gogo Quinoa spaghetti and while it was cooking I prepared a super easy pesto using kale and nutritional yeast, which lends a delicious cheesy flavour, sans cheese of course.

I thought the kale might be overpowering but when it is balanced out with basil, lemon, and olive oil it is wonderful and it brought a ton of green goodness to the dish.

30-Minute Meal // Light Shrimp Scampi with Kale Pesto // Gluten & Dairy Free

To bring in the protein I chose to go with extra large (sustainably produced) tiger shrimp that I picked up from Planet Organic. The shrimp were huge, like mini lobster tails, I was in heaven!

Shrimp is a great protein option to have on occasion when you’re in need of a quick meal as it cooks in minutes, literally! You could of course use any other lean and lighter tasting protein option with this dish such as chicken breast, white fish, or even scallops.

30-Minute Meal // Light Shrimp Scampi with Kale Pesto // Gluten & Dairy Free

This recipe definitely hit the spot. Full of rich garlicky flavour with bits of spice from the chili flakes and bite from the kale pesto. I was definitely pleased with the end result.

I was also happy with the nutritional balance; whole grain carbohydrates from the pasta, protein from the shrimp, and healthy fats and enzyme-rich greens from the pesto! For any of my clients reading this… you know how much I love that macronutrient balance… 😉

Can you relate to my resolution? I’d love to hear about your own experience as a blogger in the comments below. Or, if you aren’t a blogger, do you ever feel pressured to keep up with the ‘status quo’ in other areas of your life? How do you let go of that pressure? 

30-Minute Meal // Light Shrimp Scampi with Kale Pesto // Gluten & Dairy Free
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • For the Shrimp Scampi:
  • 6-8 extra large shrimp, deveined and shelled
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 teaspoons of chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon earth balance spread (for dairy free) or organic butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 4oz dry quinoa spaghetti or other pasta of choice
  • For the Kale Pesto (makes a small batch of 6 servings - you will have leftovers!):
  • 2 cups kale
  • ½ cup raw pine nuts
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • juice from 1 whole lemon
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (add more if you prefer an oilier pesto)
  • salt to taste
  1. Add water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. While the water is heating up prepare the Kale Pesto by adding all the pesto ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. (You may need to use a spatula to scrape the sides as you process the pesto.)
  3. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Once the water reaches a boil, add in your pasta and cook according to instructions.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat and add in the earth balance/butter, garlic, salt, pepper, and chili flakes and heat to a simmer.
  6. Add in the shrimp and sauté for 5 minutes until pink.
  7. By this time your pasta should be done. Drain the past in a colander and add the cooked pasta to the pan with the shrimp scampi.
  8. Toss the pasta to coat lightly with the 'sauce' and divide evenly between two plates.
  9. Add a large dollop of the pesto to each plate.
  10. Save the rest of the pesto for other recipes by storing in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Nutritional Information
Serving size: ½ of the Scampi + ⅙ Kale Pesto Calories: 442 kcal Fat: 15g Carbohydrates: 51g Fiber: 4g Protein: 25g

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend and thank you for listening to me pour out my heart on this blog time and time again! You are awesome.


Nutritionist in the Kitch

Author: Christal Sczebel

Christal is the creator of Nutrition in the Kitch. She's a Certified Nutritional Consultant, twice published author, gluten and dairy free recipe developer, food photographer, speaker, wife, and mama. Christal loves good food, all things wellness, and loves to travel. Her wellness philosophy is centred around balance and sustainable health, life's way too short for boring diets and restriction!

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  • Thanks for sharing Christal! I too find I have to remind myself why I put myself out there on social media and my blog in the first place. For me it really helps me change my thoughts about it and also stop comparing to others that have way more followers. Like you said, that’s not the point! Love the recipe too, looks delicious!

    • Thanks Richelle! Totally – it’s hard not to get caught up in it but I know the reminder and stepping back to reassess is a good way to stay grounded!

  • Hi there. I love your blog… very inspirational for me, a busy mom of three. The whole sight screams vitality and freshness to me, and it is clear in your posts that you are passionate about wellness. I think your approach to dealing with the “status quo” is exactly what I do… reflect on the larger why of doing something, prayer and focused attention… identifying your values and making sure all your decisions and actions reflect those values. Thanks for doing what you do.

    • Hi Maria, thank you SO much for your kind words. I really appreciate the encouragement and I can imagine as a Mom the same pressures can be there too. So true that actions line up with values and I’m happy with the reminder and know that lining up the two always takes the pressure off!

  • holy wow can i ever relate to this post, having just had a similar meltdown oh…only yesterday bahaha I feel like these types of stresses and freakouts are a good reminder to do exactly what you did and step back, re assess and move forward following your passion! Keep on keepin’ on girlfriend because from where I sit- you’re killing it! XO

    • Thanks girly. Yes – I think all too often we fall into this trap and it’s so important to step back!! Although I’m not glad you had a meltdown.. haha, I am happy that there are others who share my pain!! I’m so glad we can at least all support and cheer each other on!

  • Great looking recipe, Christal! And great blog post! Thanks for being so open and honest about your struggles! It is hard to find balance sometimes. I’m so glad you have remembered the reason you are doing this blog in the first place and can just do it because you love it, not to perform to perfection! 🙂

  • Hi Christal,

    I have recently been told by my dr that I can no longer eat kale as it interacts with my medicine. I seriously LOVE pesto and am wondering if I can either substitute another green, or if this recipe is just as good sans kale. Thanks. Kelly