My kids always look forward to Taco Tuesday. After a few weeks of experimenting with ground beef and turkey, I started looking for something new.
I like to try to kick things up a notch in the kitchen, and wanted to find a fun alternative to the traditional taco filling. My family loves seafood, and I thought shrimp would lend itself nicely to this dish.
Did you know seafood is one of the highest protein, lowest calorie foods you can eat? Shrimp is a bit high in cholesterol, but as long as you keep your portion sizes in check, you should be fine.
Avocado salsa and cabbage slaw are great accompaniments to the seasoned seafood filling. This light and simple dish is easy to prepare, which makes it perfect for simple dinner parties and warm-weather barbecues.
You can assemble these before serving, or you can lay out the components separately so your guests can build their own tacos.
- 1 1/2 pounds medium to large fresh or frozen shrimp (peeled and deveined are convenient)
- 1/2 head red or green cabbage shredded
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice divided
- 1 jalapeno pepper minced
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 1 shallot diced
- 2 large ripe avocados, cubed
- 2 large tomatoes chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 12 small flour or corn tortillas
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- If frozen, place shrimp in a colander and thaw under cold running water.
- While shrimp are thawing, prepare the slaw. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, onion, carrots, sugar,and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Stir to combine.
- Add jalapeno, cilantro, and scallions. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, prepare the salsa. Add shallot, avocado, tomatoes, and the remaining lime juice. Toss gently to combine. Set aside.
- Cover both bowls and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the tacos.
- Place shrimp in a medium bowl and coat with oil.
- Add salt, pepper, and chili powder. Stir to coat.
- Arrange shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven. If you prefer, you can grill the shrimp over medium heat instead - but I advise using large shrimp if you plan to grill them.
- Bake until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, about 6-7 minutes.
- Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Assemble tacos and serve immediately.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step One – Preheat and Thaw
Preheat your oven to 375°F and place the shrimp in a colander to thaw.
The quickest way to thaw is to keep them under cold, running water. I know it might seem tempting to use warm, but you want them to thaw evenly. Plus, you don’t want to risk starting to cook them with water that is too warm.
Step Two – Slaw
While things are thawing, now is a good time to pull together the slaw.
Slice the cabbage into small shreds, followed by the onion and carrots. If you purchase already shredded cabbage and carrots, this dish will come together that much faster.
The food processor or a mandoline can also be a big help for this task.
Pour your sugar and half of the lime juice over the veggies, and stir things up.
Step Three – Spice
Now it’s time to give the slaw a little kick.
Dice the jalapeno, cilantro, and scallions into very small pieces. Toss these in with the other veggies, stir it all together, and set it in the fridge to rest, covered with plastic wrap or a lid.
Step Four – Salsa
Dice up your shallot and cut your avocados and tomatoes into small cubes.
In a clean bowl, mix together these ingredients along with the remaining lime juice.
Cover the salsa and store it in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
Step Five – Season
Place your thawed, peeled, and deveined shrimp in a clean, medium-sized bowl. Toss to coat with oil, then add the salt, pepper, and chili powder. Toss until evenly coated with the spices.
Wait! Don’t throw out those shells! Use them to make a flavorful seafood stock.
Step Six – Bake
Arrange the shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet. Make sure they do not overlap, or else they won’t cook evenly. Neither under- nor over-cooked seafood is very pleasant to eat!
Bake until the shrimp turn pink, a sign that they are cooked all the way through. This should take about 6 or 7 minutes.
A great way to check if they are truly finished cooking is to look at the backs, where they have been sliced for deveining. Gently pull the sliced section apart to see whether the inside is still white. If it is cooked all the way through, it will be light pink instead.
If you’d like, you could also grill the shrimp instead. If you choose to take this route, I advice cooking large ones – otherwise they will be likely to fall through the slots on the grill, and they may overcook more easily.
If you place them on skewers, they will be easier to handle on the grill. I recommend cooking on low heat for 7-8 minutes. Just as you would when baking in the oven, check the spine to see if it has cooked all the way through.
Step Seven – Warm
Wrap your tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven (or on the grill) for about five minutes. Not only are warm tortillas sinfully delightful, this process of warming them makes them more pliable and less likely to break when you start to assemble your meal.
Step Eight – Assemble and Serve
To assemble your tacos, lay out a bed of slaw, then top with avocado salsa. Next, add a handful of shrimp – voila!
If you want to add an extra touch of cooling, creamy flavor, drizzle with sour cream or Greek yogurt.
For even more taco-related inspiration, check out our other recipe for shrimp tacos with cilantro crema, or our recipe for marinated pork tacos with peach corn salsa. And you’ll love round-up of salsa recipes from some of our favorite bloggers.
If you’re a lover of shrimp, you might want to check out our sizzlin’ shrimp fajitas recipe, too.
Let me know how your Taco Tuesday turns out, and share your experiences in the comments!
Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Additional writing and editing by Kendall Vanderslice.
About Jennifer Swartvagher
Jennifer is an experienced journalist and author. Her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, The New York Times Blog, BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and scores of other parenting and cooking publications.
10 thoughts on “Spice Up Your Next Taco Tuesday with these Tasty Shrimp Tacos”
I am not really sure why I do not bake my shrimp more often, but it really does seem like a much cleaner and easier way to prepare them. Maybe if I keep this recipe in mind enough, and also make it enough, I will start to change that little assumption that I have about cooking them. This one sounds delicious too, and I do enjoy a good taco variation.
Great recipe and the food looks sooo scrumptious. I’ve only ever had a chicken wrap and I can’t wait to try this out with the shrimp. I also think that baking them in an oven is a much healthier and easier option than the way I’ve always prepared them.
Haha, I don’t eat tacos that often but I do love myself some prawns. The combination looks really good and it’s actually really healthy. I’ve only ate chicken tacos so I wonder what it would taste like with shrimp.
I had no idea that seafood was one of the highest protein, lowest calorie foods you could eat! When I think of healthy, protein rich foods, I always think of chicken. I’m definitely going to start to incorporate more seafood into my diet now – starting with this recipes. I’ve actually never tried shrimp tacos before but I always wanted to. These look AMAZING and they’re really different than any other variations I’ve seen online or on cooking shows.
I will admit, I do not eat any type of sea food, I never have. However, my fiance would eat sea food all day long and never complain. I will also admit, the entire 8 years we have been together, I have NEVER made him a seafood meal. It just so happens, that shrimp is his favorite, and he made a comment earlier that he could “go for some shrimp tacos”. I will give this recipe a shot and see if it makes his night!
I wish I could get shrimp that look like the ones in the photos! But I think that this recipe would really work with almost any kind of seafood. It’s hard to go wrong when you’re combining fresh, healthy ingredients.
I love seafood, but I’d never thought of making tacos with prawns. It’s normally spicy chicken around here. I might try this tonight, since it looks very healthy, and very tasty! Are the prawns you use pre-cooked or raw? We have both available around here, and second frying (for a stir-fry) never harmed a pre-cooked ones.
I like that you baked the shrimp. I’ve never tried it that way before, sautéing is usually how I do it. Definitely will give baking a try.
Shrimps have always been one of my favorite seafood ever and it really looks beautiful when mixed with the Mexican style. I’d really love to try this soon. I will copy this down so I can make some magic once I get the ingredients. Thank you for sharing this, it really looks great!
I love tacos! Fish and shrimp tacos are not an exception to this. I really like the sound of this and I think it would probably work with fish too. I will probably try this with shrimp and rockfish soon.