Lentejas con Camarones y Calabacitas (Lentils With Shrimp and Squash), photo by Sonia Mendez GarciaPhoto by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Lentejas con Camarones y Calabacitas (Lentils With Shrimp and Squash)

Cuisine: Latin
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings
Hearty and delicious, Lentils with Shrimp and Squash is a great recipe for Lent or any other time of the year.

Whenever I cook with lentils, it reminds me that springtime is just around the corner. I enjoy lentils anytime of the year, but mostly I remember lentils being prepared during Lent. My mom would prepare them simply with onions, serrano pepper, tomatoes and carrots. She would serve them with tortitas de papa con camaron seco, potato cakes with dried shrimp. For this recipe, I prepared it more like a stew with calabacitas (squash) and added some pan-seared zesty shrimp towards the end of the cooking time. I enjoy the flavors of the shrimp much more when I sear it first before adding it to the lentils, but you could certainly add the seasoned uncooked shrimp into the simmering lentils during the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Either way, it’s a delicious dish for any season.


  • For the Vegetables
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper minced
  • 1 poblano pepper diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • 2 small carrots diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 3 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup uncooked lentils
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano crushed
  • 1/2 lemon juiced, reserve other half for garnish
  • 2 small calabacitas or zucchini, sliced (about 2 full cups)
  • cilantro chopped for garnish
  • For the Shrimp
  • 1 pound medium-large shrimp peeled and cleaned
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

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  1. In a large skillet, preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil at medium for 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, poblano, celery and carrots. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Taste for salt. Add the lentils, cumin, paprika, oregano and lemon juice. Cover and cook at a steady simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini and cook for another 15 minutes. If lentils are still firm, add an additional 5 minutes of cooking time.
  4. During the last 15 minutes, preheat a pan to medium/high heat for 3 minutes. In a bowl or on a plate, toss shrimp with salt, pepper, paprika, hot sauce and olive oil. When the pan with oil is hot, sear and cook the shrimp for 2 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer shrimp to skillet with lentils and push down slightly into warm broth. Cover skillet, turn heat to low and cook for just 5 more minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
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