PA Eating: Crazy-Good Grill-Out

There are some foods that cause rifts between even the closest of hearts. Foods like mushrooms, olives, capers, and even celery can bring an otherwise lovely dinner to the brink of disaster.

For me, that thing is cilantro. But my reaction is more complicated than I hate cilantro! – and I don’t have that genetic ‘cilantro tastes like dishwater’ thing. My problem: I only like cilantro in Asian-inspired food. Just one leaf in something Mexican, and I’m scrubbing my tongue with a napkin. But cilantro chopped and blended with coconut milk or thrown into  a marinade with lime juice? Sign me up!

My parents? They like the stuff by the bushel-full… which is why my dad had to make three batches of guacamole: one with no cilantro (me), one with no jalapeno (my niece), and one fully-loaded (for Mom and Dad). People and their preferences are endlessly fascinating, aren’t they?!

Anyway. One night, we built a dinner around a green bean recipe that, yes, can include cilantro… but also coconut milk, almonds, and cumin. You will fall madly in love with Coconut-Almond Green Beans — and you don’t want to miss the Ginger-Lime Shrimp, either.

Ginger-Lime Grilled Shrimp

Makes enough for approximately 2 pounds of seafood

juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons freshly-grated ginger (about a 2-inch piece)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 pounds large shrimp

1. In a small bowl, squeeze to extract the juice, then add the red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, salt, black pepper, and cilantro. Mix well with a fork, then drizzle in the oil, stirring constantly.

2. With a small, sharp knife, pierce the shrimp at the head end and carefully cut along the back toward the tail, removing the dark vein. Rinse in running water. Pat dry, then place the shrimp in a medium bowl and mix with the marinade. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

3. Preheat the gas grill on high heat with the lid closed, about 10 minutes. Thread the shrimp on skewers, leaving a little room between them so they don’t steam. Grill 2-3 minutes per side with the lid closed.

Coconut-Almond Green Beans

The leftovers, should there be any, are delicious mixed with cooked protein and stir-fried ’til hot.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/2 medium  onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced (2 tablespoons) (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook until lightly browned. Keep an eye on them; they brown quickly! Transfer almonds to a plate for later. Resist the temptation to eat them!

2. In the same pan, sauté the onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, chili pepper flakes, and salt. Cook until the onion is soft and beginning to get brown bits, about 4-5 minutes.

3. Add the coconut milk to the pan and mix well, then add the green beans. Make sure everything is blended, then bring the pan to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook covered until the beans are tender. The cooking time is a judgment call. If you like them crisp, it’s about 6 minutes. If you like them softer, let them braise for about 8 minutes.

4. When the beans have reached the desired tenderness, remove the lid and let the sauce cook down until it thickens a bit. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the almonds, lime juice, and cilantro (if using).

Are you a cilantro hater? Leave the cilantro out of the last step… and  check out this ‘I hate cilantro’ haiku… and more cilantro-hating fun.

I’m excited to once again join the punk rock foodies on Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.

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26 Responses to “PA Eating: Crazy-Good Grill-Out”

  1. Jesse Richards says:

    Mel, you always have the coolest recipes and pictures, rock on!

  2. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Thanks, Jesse. I'm glad you think so! You should come to a restaurant with me sometime… I know how to pick the best thing on the menu! I guess I have a very in-tune food imagination 😉

  3. Jesse Richards says:

    Heh, I'd love to! I'll get right on that next time I'm in Texas (though sadly since I moved away from oklahoma that might be a while).


  4. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Ooooo! You're in Nashville. Maybe I'll come to YOU!

  5. Jesse Richards says:

    That would be kick ass awesome! Just give me a heads up, I know some wicked tasty joints around here you can finagle into proper dino-chow eatings. And a sweet park that's Monumentally perfect for metcons, should there be interest.

  6. Joanna says:

    I usually don't comment on blogs, especially when I'm a big-time lurker…. but I made these beans tonight and they are frickin AMAZING. Much love from a Philly paleo-ish fellow crossfit chick. :)

  7. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hi, Joanna! I'm so glad you broke your lurker status to say hi… and even more glad that you like that recipe. They really are super yummy and so easy. They're my go-to when I feel like I need comfort food and they're good for dinner guests/potlucks, too.

    I'm heading to PA to see my family for the 4th. Too bad we can't do a WOD together at the airport 😉

  8. Joanna says:

    You are welcome at Crossfit South Philly anytime!! I know I'm not the only one at my box who loves your blog. :) Have fun in PA – it's gonna get hot again.

  9. Brittany says:

    Another killer recipe! Made these last night and ate them with marinated grilled beef pinwheels. Delish! It was the perfect summer dinner.

    I can’t wait for your cookbook! Thanks again for the fun, tasty meal ideas!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for posting, Brittany — and for the cookbook enthusiasm. I’m re-testing and re-writing the recipes on my blog, so they’re even better. Can’t wait for y’all to try them!

  10. Sonya says:

    Okay, I made these tonight to go with my version of your Thai Beef… supposed to be lunches for the rest of the week…. I can’t stop “tasting” these! They are amazing… especially with the cilantro!

  11. Sonya says:

    The green beans, that is… the shrimp is on my list of recipes to try. 😀

  12. Bim says:

    Made these tonight and they were deelish!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  13. Angela says:

    This dish was amazing!!! I sauteed the shrimps and scallops instead and it was so so so good. omg those green beans are a winner. Thanks…. can’t wait for your cookbook!!

  14. Ashley says:

    When you use coconut milk in your recipes, what brand/type do you use? My husband likes to drink the brand So Delicious, can I use that to cook with or would you recommend buying it in a can? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I usually use either Thai Kitchen or Polar — whichever I grab at the grocery. The biggest thing is to read the label. I think that So Delicious has added ingredients that are less than ideal. You basically want just coconut milk and guar gum — and even better if you can find it without the guar gum.

  15. « wendywray says:

    […] it up in plastic and it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days before you need to grill it. Coconut almond green beans. In the description of the recipe she says, “Trust me. Make a double batch.” I […]

  16. Kelly says:

    What do you do to defrost the shrimp if it was frozen? Leave in the fridge overnight, rinse with cold water, or something else entirely? Thanks!

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  19. […] meatballsand spaghetti squash Thursday: slow cooked chicken and sweet potatoes; salad Friday: ginger lime grilled shrimp; grilled veggies Saturday: roasted chicken thighs with roasted root vegetables Sunday: […]

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  27. […] of ginger so I went for this one straight away. The original recipe is with shrimp and is from the Well Fed cookbook by The clothes make the girl (which is my whole30 bible) but I adapted it to what I had and what I could realistically make on a Monday night after work. […]

  28. gina says:

    Was craving shrimp and decided I’d give this recipe a try. I don’t have a grill, but used my grill pan and it worked great. DE-LISH!

  29. Stephanie says:


    Bless you and your God-given talent. The lemon lime shrimp was delicious!!! The right mix of flavor with just a little but of spice. I paired the shrimp with your oven roasted cauliflower. Winner!!! Revolving recipe. Thank you!!

  30. Stephanie says:


    Bless you and your God-given talent. The lemon lime shrimp was delicious!!! The right mix of flavor with just a little bit of spice. I paired the shrimp with your oven roasted cauliflower. Winner!!! Revolving recipe. Thank you!!

  31. Jeni says:

    Fell in love with the shrimp last summer over the course of multiple grilling parties and just made the green beans (sans the for-me-vile cilantro) for a foodie dinner – they were a HUGE hit!! Thanks for the recipes and these awesome flavour combinations :)

    • Hooray! Glad you like those green beans. I make them without cilantro, too, because my husband Dave has that thing where cilantro tastes like soap. It’s funny because my parents DOUBLE the cilantro (ew.).

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