Food Light, Bright & Easy

Light, Bright & Easy



This lemon garlic shrimp with butternut squash noodles and baby spinach recipe will bring color back into your life. And it’s delicious.

I don’t know about you, but for me, March and April are Maine’s most challenging months. Many days arrive gray, damp and depressing as we wait for winter to make a graceful exit. She rarely does, but I guess that’s part of the deal we make for living in Maine. If it were easy, everyone would be here.

Making meals a little lighter, brighter and more colorful helps to cheer me up during these dreary months. This lemon garlic shrimp with butternut squash noodles and baby spinach recipe is one of my favorites. It’s so easy and so healthy—all the benefits of a wholesome, nutritious meal that tastes out-of-this-world delicious.

I used to make a version of this dish that was served over angel hair pasta. For the past few years my doctor has admonished me that pasta should be treated as a special occasion food. This dish lets me showcase one of my tasty culinary work-arounds for my favorite carb-heavy dish.

Have you discovered the joy of veggie noodles yet? If not, it’s time, friends. Many grocery stores now carry spiralized zucchini (zoodles), carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Each one has a distinct flavor and its own preparation idiosyncrasies. A quick online search will reveal hundreds of great veggie noodle recipes. A tasty choice when you’re watching your carb count.

If you’re new to the butternut squash noodle game, this is a perfect time to try it out. They hold up to cooking better than the zucchini version, which can’t take more than a minute or two in the sauté pan. And their mild flavor pairs perfectly with the lemony garlic goodness of the shrimp.

After dinner, try my no crust maple apple “pie” for a quick, practically guilt-free dessert. It’s made with fine Maine products like apples (from my trees), Maine maple syrup and Maine sea salt.

And before you know it…summer will be here!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp

If you’re new to the butternut squash noodle game, this recipe is a perfect opportunity to try it out. Photo by Candace Karu

3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (16–20 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add shrimp; cook, tossing occasionally, until pink and opaque, 5–7 minutes.

Toss with lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Butternut Squash Noodles with Baby Spinach

Butternut Squash Noodles with Baby Spinach. Photo by Candace Karu

12 ounces butternut squash noodles
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup water
10 ounces fresh baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese
Micro greens or chopped parsley for garnish

Melt butter and heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add shallots, garlic, and a bit of salt; stirring frequently. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until onions begin to soften.

Stir in butternut squash noodles and water. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until tender (6–8 minutes).

Stir in spinach and add salt and pepper. Cook for 1–2 more minutes, until spinach is just wilted but still bright green.

Remove from heat.

Sprinkle with cheese and top with Lemon Garlic Shrimp and garnish with micro greens or chopped parsley.

No Crust Maple Apple “Pie”

No Crust Maple Apple “Pie.” Photo by Candace Karu

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 Maine apples (I like Honey Crisp) peeled and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided 3 and 1
1/4 teaspoon coarse grind Maine Sea Salt
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Sauté apples for 2–3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and beginning to soften.

Add 3 tablespoons of the syrup and salt; reduce heat to low. Simmer until apples are soft, 4–5 minutes.

While apples are cooking, mix remaining syrup with Greek yogurt (add more if you like your topping sweeter).

Dollop warm apples with Maple Yogurt topping and serve immediately.

Candace Karu makes her living writing about food, fitness and travel. She lives near the ocean in an old farmhouse with two ill-behaved dogs and two hard-working barn cats. Follow her on Instagram: @candacekaru or at


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