The Power of Citrus, a Recipe for Leek & Lemon Linguini (with Shrimp), and Liz’s Obsession with Cara Cara Oranges (Podcast #180)

One of the best things about winter is all the citrus fruit available at the market. As long as there’s still a nip in the air, we’ll keep grabbing for oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines … and Liz’s hands-down new favorite fruit: Cara Cara oranges (more on Liz’s obsession later in the post). On this week’s Cooking with the Moms, we section, squeeze, zest, and slice into the season’s best citrus with the help of fellow registered dietitian, Karen Ansel. In the February issue of Eating Well magazine, Karen contributed to The Power of Citrus with the latest research on the health benefits of citrus and tips for using this super fruit in everyday home cooking. Tune in for Karen’s savvy citrus insights and for Eating Well’s Leek & Lemon Linguini recipe — which we topped with grilled shrimp.

Lemony linguini gets a flavor boost with succulent grilled shrimp. Janice had a bag of frozen, cooked shrimp on hand. We thawed out about 12 ounces of the shrimp, brushed them with evoo , sprinkled lemon pepper on both sides, and then we grilled them lightly on the George Foreman Grill.

So few ingredients … yet so much flavor. Thank you lemon zest!

Leek & Lemon Linguini (with Shrimp)

Makes 4 Servings

We adapted this recipe ever-so slightly from Eating Well magazine. They suggest serving it with fish, shrimp, or chicken and tossing in crumbled goat cheese, chopped rinsed capers, shelled edamame or thin strips of yellow bell pepper.

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat linguine or spaghetti
  • 2 large lemons, plus lemon wedges for garnish
  • 1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced and rinsed well
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives, divided
  • 12 ounces cooked shrimp, optional

1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until just tender or according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta in a colander.

2. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 tablespoon zest and squeeze 1/4 cup juice from the 2 lemons; set the juice aside. Pat leek slices dry. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leek, the lemon zest, 1/4 cup parsley, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the leek is lightly browned and softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute until fragrant and golden brown.

3. Add the pasta, 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid, the reserved lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 cup parsley to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Toss the pasta with 1/2 cup Parmesan and 2 tablespoons chives. Transfer to a serving bowl or bowls; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and 2 tablespoons chives and serve with lemon wedges, if desired, and the optional shrimp.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 cup):  315 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated), 390mg sodium, 48g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 15g protein, 26% vitamin A, 37% vitamin C, 22% calcium, 18% iron

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When it comes to nutrition, citrus earns an A-plus.

> While it won’t prevent the common cold, high doses of vitamin C (400 to 500 milligrams) may shorten the length and lessen the symptoms of a head cold. One medium orange has 70mg.

> Citrus is heart healthy. A plant chemical called hesperidin found in lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit helps to raise our good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL cholesterol.

> Looking for ways to lower the sodium in your recipes? Skip the salt and add a squeeze of lemon instead.

Cara Cara Navels are in season from December through April, and this winter, Liz and her family fell in love with these pinkish red beauties. Cara Caras are a type of navel orange grown in California. They are sweet, juicy, seedless, and low in acid. In other words, they’re ideal for kids … as the fruit of choice for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. If you visit the Sunkist website, you’ll find a Cara Cara video cooking class featuring “the power orange.” Something interesting about this navel variety … it contains the antioxidant, lycopene, also found in pink grapefruit, watermelon, and tomatoes.

For other citrus-inspired recipes, check out our Ruby Red Grapefruit Cake with a Hint of Mint, Fruity Yogurt Parfaits with Mandarin oranges, and Avocado and Mango Chicken Salad.

3 responses to “The Power of Citrus, a Recipe for Leek & Lemon Linguini (with Shrimp), and Liz’s Obsession with Cara Cara Oranges (Podcast #180)”

  1. RoseT says:

    picked up an UGLI fruit and some cara cara oranges at the grocery store this week because of your citrus podcast this week. the taste of the ugli fruit is a cross between a grapefruit and an orange. overall good and tart. the cara caras – delicious!

  2. Lisa says:

    When you mention that 400-500mg of Vitamin C will shorten cold symptoms, is there any benefit of more than that? I know it won’t harm me to go a little over but was wondering if there is a benefit to taking in say like 1.5g of Vitamin C a day during a cold?

    -Lisa H.

  3. Janice says:

    Hi Lisa, there can be risks from taking too high a dose of vitamin C. For example, ingesting 2 grams a day can lead to kidney stones, nausea, and diarrhea. We are comfortable recommending up to 500mg per day but there is no definitive research that more than that will be beneficial. Eating lots of natural sources of vitamin C via fruits and veggies is also a good strategy!

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