Sometimes you do something fun for a reason you never expected. Like turning leftovers from your daughter’s wedding into tasty grilled shrimp tacos!
A loving family watched and sent blessings via Zoom. (Puh-leeze Mom, promise me you won’t come. All I do is worry.) A summer post-pandemic celebration was planned as a garden party in our backyard! I’d do desserts and appetizers and dinner would be catered.
Well the Tuesday before the wedding we had a wild storm and the power went out. Since we’d never had power our more than minutes in this house, I wasn’t worried. By Friday, with the power still out, I was near panic.
But with friends and family loaning generators and use of their kitchen, then doing last minute emergency lawn care, we soldiered on. When the power returned late Friday afternoon, the event was a “go”
We ended up with a smaller dessert bar than planned and mostly cold appetizers, but the event went off without a hitch. And with raw shrimp left over, plus taco toppings, this post was practically fate!
Why this recipe is a winner
• Grilled Shrimp Tacos are special but they are also quick & easy. You have the option of going homemade on everything or using packaged toppings like salsa and guacamole for ease of preparation. Pre-chopped coleslaw mix is another time saver!
• You can grill inside or out. Hot? Grill outside (I recommend using a grill pan for this). No grill? Cook inside. Truly, making the shrimp in my cast iron grill pan was so easy I might never do outside again! You could even use a regular frying pan, or bake or broil.
• Lots of healthy ingredients. Shrimp is a nice low fat, low calorie protein. Then there are the healthy sides like beans (watch the fat in refried beans) and rice. And between the coleslaw and salsa I pile on, I figure I even get a couple vegetable servings!
• Make it your way means this recipe can work for anyone. Are you serving spice wimps (my husband) or cilantro tastes like soap people? They’ll be good with these Grilled Shrimp Tacos as is and everyone else can pile on the salsa, jalapenos and chopped cilantro when they serve themselves!
Step by Step Directions
To start, you combine your peeled shrimp with the spices, olive oil and lime juice. Toss and let marinade for the 10-15 minutes it will take you to do the rest.
Assemble the basic taco and let everyone add their own toppings. Alternatively, set everything out and let your guest assemble to taste. That will make it tasty and fun!
How to Select Shrimp
If you decide to use pre-cooked shrimp, reheat with the spice mix and take care not to overcook as this will result in tougher shrimp. Livestrong has some advise on reheating.
Frozen shrimp is fine to use and in fact “fresh” shrimp at most grocery stores is usually previously frozen then thawed. Today’s seafood is often “flash frozen” which means the quality may even surpass (true) fresh.
You can go with any size shrimp from medium to jumbo for this. Larger is easier to work with and means fewer shrimp to turn, smaller is more cost effective and equally tasty.
When you’re buying shrimp, you may also want take note of its origin. Some shrimp farming operations in Southeast Asia have a reputation for labor abuses, environmental degradation and quality issues like the use of antibiotics and preservatives that you may not want in your foods. See the NY Times for more information.
Consider trying to find American (my shrimp came fresh from the Gulf) if you can. Or check out products certified by organizations like Global Aquaculture Alliance.
Preparation is easy and I have a few tips to make things go even smoother.
• How to make sure you always have limes. Did you know that lemons and limes freeze beautifully? I toss them into an empty plastic ice cream tub and take them out any time needed. This means no extra trips to the store for citrus!
• How to peel raw shrimp. Many people peel raw shrimp starting from the legs like you do for cooked shrimp. I find it easier to cut down the back with a scissors and peel from there. This makes it easy to de-vein the shrimp if you chose to do so, since the vein will be exposed.
• How to finely slice cabbage. I (carefully) use a mandolin set at 1/8 inch which quickly delivers nice fine shreds for my cole slaw. Did you know that most mandolins now come with protective gloves—so smart! Of course slicing by hand or using a precut coleslaw mix is fine too.
Now the amount of cabbage in the recipe may sound like a lot, but when it’s combined with the dressing, it will release moisture and shrink up. And it’s such a good way to keep the health value high!
• Don’t omit the salt unless absolutely necessary. Since the shrimp are lightly spiced, it makes a difference.
What to serve with (and on) shrimp tacos
So many things go well with grilled shrimp tacos. Consider guacamole or avocado, salsa, jalapeno slices, chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes and grated cheese. Beans and rice are very tasty as side dishes. Or right in the taco!
- 8 corn tortillas (or flour)
- Toppings of your choice
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled
- 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 t Chili powder
- ½ t Onion powder
- ½ t Garlic powder
- ½ t salt
- 4-6 cups finely sliced raw cabbage
- 1 medium to large carrot, grated
- 2 T mayonaise
- 2 T plain yogurt (or sour cream)
- 2 T grated onion
- 2 T lime juice
- ½ t salt
- Combine the peeled shrimp with the spices, olive oil and lime juice. Toss and let marinade for the 10-15 minutes it will take you to do the rest.
- Combine the coleslaw dressing ingredients, then mix in the shredded cabbage and carrots.
- Grill the shrimp on one side for a few minutes, then turn to grill on the other. By the time I had all the shrimp laid out, they were ready to turn. Cook until done, another couple minutes.
- Assemble the basic taco and let everyone add their own toppings. Alternatively, set everything out and let your guest assemble to taste.
Feel free to substitute pre-cut coleslaw mix, pre-cooked shrimp etc to fit your scheduling needs!
Consider the following for toppings: guacamole or avocado, salsa, jalapeno slices, chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes and grated cheese.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 servings Serving Size: 2 tacos
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 486Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 243mgSodium: 1839mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 16gSugar: 17gProtein: 36g
Nutrition data accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
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